My iPhone Won’t Charge! Here’s The Real Fix.

When an iPhone won’t charge, it’s a big deal. I’m a former Apple employee, and during my time in the Apple Store, fixing iPhone charging problems was a big part of my daily work. The good news is that the majority of iPhone charging problems can be fixed at home. In this article, I’ll show you how to fix an iPhone that won’t charge, step-by-step.

Know This Before You Begin

One of the most common questions Apple techs receive when an iPhone won’t charge is this: “If my iPhone won’t charge, do I need a new battery?”

In spite of what you’ll read on many websites, the answer to this question is no! There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to write this article.

As a former Apple tech with experience working with hundreds of iPhones that wouldn’t charge, I can tell you that replacing a battery is the absolute wrong thing to do.

The truth is that most of the time, it’s your iPhone’s software — not hardware — that’s preventing your iPhone from charging. If your iPhone won’t charge, 99% of the time, replacing the battery will have zero effect!

iPhone software decides when to charge your iPhone

And, if there is a hardware problem, it’s much more likely that the issue is with the charging port itself — but we’re not there yet.

If you’d rather watch than read, our YouTube video will walk you through the fixes.

Wireless Charging: A Temporary Fix

While you work on fixing your iPhone, you may still be able to charge it wirelessly. Every iPhone since the iPhone 8 supports wireless charging with Qi-certified chargers. Place your iPhone on the center of a Qi wireless charger and see if starts charging.

If it does — that’s great! However, we still need to address the problem preventing your iPhone from charging with a wired connection.

If your iPhone won’t charge wirelessly either, follow the step-by-step guide below, or check out our other article on how to fix wireless charging problems.

How To Fix An iPhone That Won’t Charge

1. Hard Reset Your iPhone

Sometimes the solution is as simple as hard resetting your iPhone. That’s the first thing an Apple tech would do in the Apple Store, and it’s easy to do at home. Here’s how:

How To Hard Reset Your iPhone

Phone How To Hard Reset
iPhone 6S, SE, and older models Press and hold the power button and the Home button together until the Apple logo appears on the screen, and then let go.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Press and hold the power button and the volume down button together until the Apple logo appears on the screen, and then let go.
iPhone 8, X, SE 2, and newer models There are three steps: 1. Quickly press and release the volume up button. 2. Quickly press and release the volume down button. 3. Press and hold the power button (called the “side button” on iPhone X) until the Apple logo appears on the display, and then let go.

Apple tech tip: The #1 mistake people make while trying to hard reset their iPhone is that they don’t hold the buttons down for long enough. On iPhone 8 or newer, however, make sure you are pressing the first two buttons very quickly and holding the power button down for a long time. Sometimes the process can take 20 seconds or more!

Hard Reset iPhone

If that doesn’t work, don’t worry! We’ll dive into the hardware fixes in the next step.

2. Check Your Lightning Cable For Damage

Take a very close look at both ends of the USB cable you use to charge your iPhone. Apple’s lightning cables are prone to fraying, especially at the end that connects to your iPhone. If you see visible signs of wear, it might be time for a new cable.Lightning cable damage

How can I tell whether my lightning cable is the reason why my iPhone won’t charge?

If there is no visible damage to the outside of the cable, try plugging your iPhone into a USB port on your computer to charge instead of using the wall adapter that came with your iPhone. If you already charge your iPhone using your computer, try using the wall adapter. If it works in one place and not the other, your cable isn’t the issue.

This might seem obvious, but sometimes the best way to determine whether you have a “bad cable” is to try charging your iPhone using a friend’s cable. If your iPhone suddenly springs back to life after you plug it in, you’ve identified the reason why your iPhone won’t charge — a faulty cable.

Don’t forget about your iPhone’s warranty!

If your iPhone is still under warranty, the USB cable (and everything else in the iPhone box) is covered! Apple will replace your lightning cable for free, as long as it’s in decent shape.

You can set up a return on Apple’s support website or call your local Apple Store to make an appointment with the Genius Bar. If you decide to go to the Apple Store, it’s always a good idea to have an appointment at the Genius Bar before you go in. That way, you won’t have to wait in line — at least not for long.

3rd-party cables can charge iPhone charging problems

One of the most common reasons why an iPhone won’t charge comes from low-quality 3rd-party iPhone charger cables that people buy in gas stations. Yes, Apple cables are expensive, but in my experience, those $5 knockoffs never hold up like the real thing. There are good ones out there — you just have to know which ones to choose.

High quality, less-expensive cables do exist!

If you’re looking for a high-quality replacement iPhone charging cable that’s more durable than Apple’s, check out our favorites on Amazon. These aren’t cheap gas station cables that are going to break in a week. I love the 6-foot Lightning cable because it’s long enough for me to be able to use my iPhone in bed.

3. Try A Different iPhone Charger

Do you charge your iPhone by plugging it into the wall, using a car charger, in a speaker dock, in your laptop, or some other way? There are a lot of different ways to charge an iPhone.

Remember that it’s your iPhone software that says ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to charging when your iPhone connects to an accessory. If the software detects power fluctuations, it will prevent your iPhone from charging as a protective measure.Try plugging iPhone into a different outlet

How can I tell whether my charger is the reason why my iPhone won’t charge?

We’ll do the same thing we did when we inspected your Lightning cable. The simplest way to find out whether your charger is bad is to try another one. Make sure you try more than one because chargers can be very finicky.

If your iPhone won’t charge with the wall adapter, try plugging it into a USB port on your computer. If it won’t charge in the computer, try plugging it into the wall — or try a different USB port on the computer. If your iPhone charges with one adapter and not the other, then your charger is the problem.

There are high-quality fast chargers out there, but you have to be careful

If you need a new charger, check out the chargers we recommend using the same link as above (for the cable). The maximum Apple-approved amperage for iPhone chargers is 2.1 amps. Unlike many third-party chargers that can damage your iPhone, these ones will charge your iPhone quickly and safely.

(The iPad charger is 2.1A and Apple says it’s OK for iPhones.)

Hint: If you’re trying to charge using an Apple keyboard or USB hub, try plugging your iPhone directly into one of your computer’s USB ports. All the devices plugged into USB hubs (and keyboards) share a limited supply of power. I have personally seen iPhone charging problems occur because there wasn’t enough power to go around.

4. Brush The Gunk Out Of Your iPhone’s Charging Port

Use a flashlight and take a close look at the charging port in the bottom of your iPhone. If you see any debris or gunk in there, it might be preventing the lightning cable from making a solid connection to your iPhone. There are lots of connectors down there (the lightning cable has 9), and if the wrong one is blocked off, your iPhone won’t charge at all.

If you find lint, gunk, or other debris in the charging port of your iPhone, it’s time to brush it out. You need something that won’t conduct an electric charge or damage the electronics in the bottom of your iPhone. Here’s the trick:Use toothbrush to brush out iPhone lightning port

Grab a toothbrush (one you’ve never used before) and gently brush out your iPhone’s charging port. When I was at Apple, we used fancy anti-static brushes to do this (which you can get on Amazon for next to nothing), but toothbrushes work just as well.

Dealing with liquid damage

One of the most common reasons why an iPhone won’t charge is liquid damage. Liquid damage can short out the connections in the charging port of your iPhone cause all sorts of problems with your iPhone. Even if you’ve dried out the port and brushed out the gunk, sometimes the damage has already been done.

5. Put Your iPhone Into DFU Mode And Restore

Even if your iPhone won’t charge, a DFU restore may still work! You’ve eliminated the possibility of a simple software problem and taken a look at your USB cable, charger, and the iPhone itself, so it’s time for a last-ditch effort — the DFU restore. A DFU restore is a special kind of restore (when you restore your iPhone, you erase everything on it and restore it to factory settings) that can solve severe software issues — if they exist.DFU restore your iPhone

Check out my article about how to DFU restore an iPhone to learn how to put your iPhone into DFU mode, and cross your fingers before you try. When I worked for Apple, this is the first thing I’d try, even when the phone appeared to be damaged. There’s a small chance that a DFU restore will bring a non-functional iPhone back to life.

If it doesn’t work, come back here to learn about some great repair options you may not be aware of.

6. Repair Your iPhone

If you go to an Apple Store to repair your iPhone and there has been liquid or physical damage to phone, the only option they can offer is to replace your entire iPhone. If you don’t have AppleCare+, this can get expensive, fast.

If you had pictures, videos, or other personal information on your iPhone and your iPhone won’t charge, Apple will say they’re gone forever. Get in touch with an Apple representative and see what they can do. If all they can do is replace your iPhone, you may want to consider visiting a local mom and pop repair shop.

iPhone Charging Again!

I hope your iPhone has sprung back to life and you’re on your way back to a full charge. I’d love to hear from you about your experiences fixing the iPhone charging problem, and I’m here to help along the way.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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tilak magar
6 years ago

hii have6s plus and when i plug in its says,the cable or accessory is not certified, and its not charge the phone,could you someone give me a s0me answer,pls,

6 years ago

about 2 hours ago my phone let me charge it but when I got home about 30 minutes ago, it wouldn’t charge at all. help anyone?

Brandy Rae
6 years ago

This may seem like an odd question but apple told me I would need to take my phone to a genius and since I live in west texas(a.k.a middle of no where) you’re the closest I can find. is there a way to tell if an iPhone battery is the one that originally came with my iPhone. long story short, went to 3rd party (against my better judgement) to have screen replaced and they say my battery is bad, but it was perfectly fine before. I had a great battery! Well after realizing I wasn’t going to buy their new… Read more »

David Payette
6 years ago
Reply to  Brandy Rae

Hey Brandy, That stinks! It sounds like your question is whether there’s a way to find out whether the battery they gave you back after your phone was repaired was the one inside your iPhone when you dropped it off, and the answer is no. iPhones are serialized, but batteries are not. Whether it is or isn’t, it sounds like you have a legitimate case against them. Often times, the battery needs to be disconnected as part of an iPhone repair, and there’s a chance they damaged it in the process. I’m thinking that’s what may have happened – something… Read more »

Deepanshu Kataria
6 years ago

Hello.. i am having iphone 5 and the problem is that it never charges whenever i plug it nomally.For charging it i have to aply some water on the end of cable and then i plug it in my iphone and it chages fine.But every time i have to try this same thing to charge my phone. i have used 3 difrent cables but it doesnt work until i apply some water.

6 years ago

I tried doing the hard reset, but after I did that, my iPhone 5c still didn’t charge. I tried using three different charging heads as well as my laptops USB port. It only shows that my iPhone is completely dead, and needs to be plugged in. It also can’t be the charger, because I bought this charger ten minutes ago.

Bruce Steinhardt
6 years ago

It is dirty contacts. If blowing out a dustball does not do the trick, then roll up a small piece of a Post It so it is about the size and thickness of a match stick and use it to clean the contacts. You will be surprised how much dirt was in there.

6 years ago

I’ve tried everything with the article for my phone and nothing has seemed to work. I’ve tried the hard reset multiple times, at least five different chargers, and cleaning the port and still nothing. I don’t think it’s liquid damage because I haven’t gotten my phone wet especially in the charging port area, and when I have, I’ve had a case protecting that area. any clues? Ohh my problem is that it won’t charge at all and when it turns on(it only did this once), it wouldn’t charge past 1% when When I take it off of the charger, the… Read more »

6 years ago

I have a non-Apple cable that has worked fine for months, and even worked fine this morning. I had to unplug to attend a meeting, then came back and plugged in again. I’m getting an error message now on my phone: This cable or accessory is not certified and my not work reliably with this iPhone. And even though I touch “Dismiss”, it won’t charge! What the heck?!?! For giggles I did try rebooting my iPhone, but continue to get the same message. Any suggestions?

matt londa
6 years ago

Your Hard Reset tip was awesome! Thought I was screwed there for a sec. Thanks man

6 years ago

I have done everything you said but nothing worked. But i’m happy that my phone is charging finally. Here are the steps I did,

Go to settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings
Wait for phone to shut down. Then connect your charger.

Hope this helps someone.

Message In A Bottle
6 years ago

WOW, I’ve had this issue for quite some time and always bought a new charger or two – I had no idea it could’ve been a software crash. I’ve been figuring this out for hours now and came across this. Resetting the battery worked. Thank you so much for these tips! bookmarking this site for future reference. Thank you again!!!

6 years ago

my computer or any computer was not able to detect my iphone 4s and it won’t charge. It is charging if I will turn on first my iphone, second connect a cable and turn off and you will not determine if charging because it is black screen but it really charge. How to fix like this?

Brandon McCall
6 years ago

problems with my 6s plus when i charge my phone in the outlet charger it takes 5-10 minutes for it to charge each percent. and recently when i use my car charger it just keeps the percent i was perviously at or it drops one percent. I took it to the apple store and they told me nothing was wrong with it

bob crow
6 years ago

Thank you very much the hard reset sorted my little girls phone

Semi Maldonado
6 years ago

It worked!!! Hold the power and home button for 30 seconds and it will revive! Wow! Thank you!!! I love you!!

Tracy Ann
6 years ago

I have a really odd issue. I have an iPhone 4 that stopped charging with a cable / to my PC. Now here’s the odd thing. The phone WILL charge on a dock. But if I try to plug the phone into my desktop or my laptop or even my car charger, it doesn’t charge. I’ve even tried 3 cables. No difference. So … I can charge it using the dock, but I’m no longer able to connect the phone to my computer to transfer music, etc. (I recently upgraded my phone but I at least still wanted to use… Read more »

Roger Tillmon
6 years ago

Ran into this situation today and was afraid that I’d have to go to the Apple Store tomorrow for help. You saved me a trip! Many, Many Thanks!!!

Art Vandalay
6 years ago

thank you so much, brushing the charging port on my iphone with toothbrush worked!

Ghada Chahrour
6 years ago

Thank you sooo much!!! You saved my day. I did the hard reboot, and it did solve the problem. I have given my husband my new IPhone 5c, and took his iPhone 4 (that doesn’t work with his new phone provider) and I was frustrated from my husband that he gave me a phone that stopped charging shortly after it became mine. If you were beside him, my husband would have hugged you! lol

Jackie Manus
6 years ago

I read this article months ago to try and fix my iPhone. Turns out it was a hardware issue that was gonna cost me $400 to fix. So I downgraded, all that jazz.

But just now I found my iPad, tucked away on my bookcase because it didn’t work. Tried your trick mentioned here to do the software reset – boom. The thing’s been broken for over a year, and you fixed it right up! Thank you very much!

Pat Watts
6 years ago

Tried cleaning and tried diffrent chargers still won’t charge

Harry Antonsen
6 years ago

Thank you for the Info Hard reboot fixed the charging problem First time Thank you Mr David Payette

Natvarlal Dubal
6 years ago

Lot of thanks to you Mr.David payett.My iphone 4s remianed on programme overnight. I tried to switch on in the morning.It did’nt.So connected to charger.But did not start charging and screen remained black.I thought battry may be bad or problem with charger so took out new charging cord.But no result.So as usual start googling.and got your website and followed your instruction to reboot.
I got the iphone ON and start charging.
Thanks one again .God bless you.
Good bye.

Brooklyn James
6 years ago

Hard reset worked perfect the first time! Thank you sooo much!

Carly Chetlain
6 years ago

Ok so I dropped my phone in water. It still worked fine. I stuck it in rice for a while and then i tried to plug it in after work but there was some rice stuck in the charging port. I got it out plus a couple pieces of lint as well. Tried to charge phone. Nothing. Turned it off and plugged it in. It would start up the second it was plugged in but not have the lightning bolt and charge. Did the normal turn off and it would not charge when i plugged it in and it turned… Read more »

Brittanie Fisher
6 years ago

I have had my iPhone 5c for only a few months. However I bought it from my sister who had it for a little over a year. It was charging just fine a few hours ago but now the battery is at 40% and I can’t get it to charge AT ALL. I’ve tried the reset like 3 times and still nothing happens. The charger I have for it is brand new and I tried cleaning it out with a toothbrush. Still nothing. Please help!

Peter James
6 years ago

My iPhone does not charge unless I fiddle about with the lead at the point where it plugs into the phone. I find that gentle upward lift on the point where the cable connects at the base of the iPhone seems to supply contact. I then have to gently lay it down. I usually test to see if it’s charging by saying “Hey Siri!” If Siri responds, then I know it is charging. However last night I had to rest a pencil under the cable at the point of connection, otherwise it kept buzzing intermittently as if it was charging,… Read more »

Jason O'Dell
6 years ago

I normally don’t sign up or comment on forums, but this one saved my phone. Thanks!

I used the new toothbrush trick to clean the port & a small bit of “funk” popped out. Took it to the charger & BAM! Back in action.

Chloe Clayton
6 years ago

hello, i have an iPhone 5 and what it is doing is it is on thirty percent, so i need it to be charging, but every time i plug it into my wall computer, it wont do anything. the screen doesn’t light up showing that it is charging. i have cleaned my port out which had dust in it, and it still isn’t charging. do you know the problem to my phone? can it be fixed? i need help asap.

Anna Simmons
6 years ago

I have tried buying a new charger and its still not working I can see it when the black screen come up and it shows the white power bar with red in it but not charging and if i hold it a certain way it show the the plug thingy and the charge bolt what is the problem?

Kïshäñ Sïñgh
6 years ago

sir i have iphone 5s yesterday its battery gets discharged and when i plugged charger in my phone firstly it shows charging then when i put it on the table it disconnected .and get swiched off and after then it never start charging it is still switched off what should i do is it a battery problem or my charger problem plz help

My iPhone Won't Turn On. What's Happening & How To Fix!
6 years ago

[…] To learn more about how to fix iPhone charging problems that can be related to this issue, I recommend you check out my article called My iPhone Won’t Charge. […]

Beth Carmichael
6 years ago

Thanks for the informative article, Mr. Payette. You helped me avoid panic and a trip to the Apple Store. All the old girl needed was a toothbrush to the charging port, and she is as good as new. Many thanks!

Heather Jordan
6 years ago

Thank goodness I found this article, because I thought my phone just stopped working on me forever. I looked down at my phone and saw 1% battery, so I rushed to charge it. After trying multiple cables and changing the wall USB charger, I then tried cleaning out the port for any lint. That didn’t work either. I found this article and did a software reset holding down the power and the home button and when it finished resetting the battery started charging again! The weird part is that it no longer showed 1% charged, it had jumped to 12%… Read more »

Bhavika Ahuja
6 years ago

I think the problem you mentioned is correct with my situation but.. my power button is broken and I don’t think that would work! Help?

Beyondmythoughts Huh
6 years ago

Here’s my problem: Whenever I plug my charge in the wall and into my ipod (My ipod is dead) it turns on my ipod but it doesn’t charge it. Can somebody please explain why it is turning the device on, but not charging it…

Jim Lea
6 years ago

I am having the same issue as REGORVLRIO. My phone battery seemed to already not last very long. Then I upgraded to ios 9. Now, my phone will drop from 100% to 1% in about 10 minutes. If it is at 100% and I turn it off, it will report a dead battery and not turn back on. Something very strange is going on. The only solution I have found is this (and it DOES work): 1) I have a 2.1 amp Belkin charger. 2) Left the phone plugged in for about 5 hours during which time it showed ZERO… Read more »

Raul Bustamante III
6 years ago

but I don’t understand how my charger could go from charging my phone to no doing so after a minute

Ali Ghuman
6 years ago

Dear I m facing this prob too.. plz if u got any solution help me

6 years ago

hi could you help me with my iphone problem? i updated my iphone 5 to ios9.1 then several days later, i forgot to bring my charger and my iphone was on 3%(while on Lowpower/Low Battery mode) then when it hits 1% ofcourse a few seconds it died, and when i got home i tried to charge it. it wasnt expecting anything like it has some problem or anything, but when i woke up at 4am itried to open my iphone and then the problem starts. i was using a cheap charger and now my iphone won’t turn on. i tried… Read more »

Jeffrey Frankel
6 years ago

Thanks *so much* for this article, David. Like other readers, I was surprised to realize that my iPhone 6 wasn’t recharging and was all but dead with only 3% battery life. My anxiety heightened when switching cables and power sources didn’t bring my ‘Phone back to life, and I really started to panic when a hard reset didn’t help. Your advice to hold down the power and home buttons for a l-o-n-g period of time ultimately did the trick. Twice I held the buttons down for about 30 seconds, which didn’t do anything. Finally, I held the buttons down for… Read more »

Jannah Ryn Repetillo
6 years ago

Hello. Good afternoon Mr. David, my iphone sometimes charges, and sometimes it doesn’t. sometimes it displays, “The accessory may not be supported”. there are times as well when its been plugged for like 5hrs already and it’s not even fully charged yet or its not even moving at all. 🙁 please help

Adam Utesch
6 years ago

This is a very helpful article, though I am still stuck. I charged my iPhone with a third-party charger and that seems to have screwed up the phone and now it won’t charge through my legitimate apple chargers. I have gone through all of the procedures, checked for lint, done a reset by pushing the home button and power button together. Still when i plug the phone in with its apple charger, it does not charge… and sometimes I get the message that ” this cable or accessory is not certified” That makes me think that the firmware/software (i’m not… Read more »

Faris Rahman
6 years ago

Jesus Christ, i had the toughest 2 hours of my life tonight when my iphone suddenly decided to not turn on even whilst charged! i read this post and tried everything leaving the easiest attempt (to push the home button and power button together) doing the hard reset which immediately turned the phone back on. never have i ever been so relieved in my life. heart skipped more than just a beat! thankk you so much !! definitely backing up my phone now!

Esteban Lafere
6 years ago

Hi, on monday I’ve purchased an iphone 6s, on thursday I’ve updated to ios 9.0.2, since then, I can’t charge my iphone till battery drained at all. Ex: If I have 50% of battery and try to charge it, just nothing happened, I can see the ray logo beside the battery logo on taskbar, but the battery don’t charge and continue draining normally. When the battery have 1% or 2%, even if it turned off, then I can really charge at 100%, I don’t know way have to drain all battery before charge. I contact apple support, try restore as… Read more »

Jessica Andre
6 years ago

This is currently happening to my iPhone 5. It only charges off and turns back on at 4% and if u try to reset it dies. In order for me to get it to charge, I have to hurry and turn it off without it being plugged into an outlet. Then wait for a few minutes to ensure its completely off. Next I plug it back in and don’t touch it for 15-30 minutes, then I reset it by holding the home and power button down, the apple logo will appear and it will charge, but if I unplug it… Read more »

Vita Victoria
6 years ago

Ok I think my problem is quite unique compared to everyone else’s. My iPhone 5S was able to charge everywhere before, but recently it does not charge on my laptop. I tried then many other laptops in my workplace and still have the same problem. The weird thing is it still charges absolutely fine using the adapter on the wall socket. Is it possible that the iPhone cable now refuses to charge from USB ports but still able to charge from wall socket? Cheers

Laurie Gress
6 years ago

if your phone isnt turning on or charging but you see the red battery when you plug it in, try warming up the battery. this is the ONLY thing that finally worked for me! you can use a hairdryer or keep your phone in a warm spot. i’ve been able to get it to turn on using my body heat putting my phone between my hands (like you are praying) for a minute or so. DO NOT use a microwave or anything like that. The only problem is my it hasnt fixed the problem completely for me, i still need… Read more »

6 years ago

I read somewhere online that before you do anything you should clean the power port of dust and other possible things that prevent a good contact. I did that and yes there was a small lint in it, not really noticeable but using a toothpick I got it out. Tadaaaa phone is charging now!
Hope this comment saves someone lots of frustration and time

Angelo Pliatsikas
6 years ago

My iPhone 5 won’t charge. Last night it worked fine but I tried to plug it in my power bank and it wouldn’t charge also my iPhone is jailbroken