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 fix.

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

PhoneHow To Hard Reset
iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE, and older modelsPress 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 PlusPress 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, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, and XRThere 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 and X, 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. Fortunately, there are other options:

Another Repair Option

If you need to fix your iPhone today, Puls is a great, affordable, in-person repair service. They’ll meet you at home or a location of your choice in as little as 60 minutes.

Puls offers a lifetime warranty on parts and labor, and you only pay after they complete the repair. They also offer the option to repair your iPhone’s charging port and other smaller components that Apple won’t touch. There’s a chance you’ll be able to recover your data and save money too!

Full transparency: We receive a referral fee if you choose to repair your iPhone with Puls. That said, I truly believe they are best and easiest option for many people.

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.

All the best,
David P.

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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nicole
4 years ago

My ipad is not charger and is dead. the charger works fine and i have tried other chargers but is still wont turn on. Ive search a few things up and they had said to connect you ipad to a laptop or computer and i have and it is still not
working. what do i do now?

nicole
4 years ago
Reply to  nicole

can somebody please reply and help me out. my ipad has been like this for weeks and i would really like to know how to get it working again.

Sparticus Shakur
4 years ago

Hello strangers! Recently I noticed that ever since I switched to a stronger material cable made from Sharper Image, my iPhone6 has not been recharging its battery normally as opposed to an Apple cable. My father claims he has read an article somewhere stating that using any other products not made from Apple can damage the internal operating mechanics of your Apple devices. I fear this may be indeed true as I went back to my Apple cable and found out it now has the same symptoms: whenever I’m recharging it the battery seems to increase and decrease substantially while… Read more »

Aenzi
4 years ago

I checked and cleaned the charging port with my only toothbrush ( have to buy another one) and lo and behold! A lint ball the size of Texas fell out. I plugged the charger back in and it started charging.

Manfred Do
4 years ago

SOS MY PHONE ONLY WORKS WHEN I MY PHONE IS POWER OFF THEN I CHARGE IT ONCE IT REACH THE HOME SCREEN IT DOES’NT WORK!

Sharmane Johnson
4 years ago

THANKS! My husband always gets my hand-me-down iPhones and ALWAYS ends up with the problem of them not taking charge anymore, he rarely backs up so he is always losing stuff. Your 1st trick worked on this phone. We’re broke til next week so he was staring at having no phone for a week. Appreciate you.

Lydia Waters
4 years ago

David P you’re a hero.

Deborah Steinig
4 years ago

My iPhone 5 will currently charge, but only from a computer or wall charger — it has stopped charging from either the docking station or the car charger. Thoughts?

Richo Barrera
4 years ago

I think it’s the metal bars inside the phone that get in contact with the metal flat bars in the charger, that got flat by usage

Sean
4 years ago

thank you so much u saved me a lot of money

Kate Burhouse
4 years ago

Thanks for this article. My son was complaining that his iPhone wasn’t charging. I checked the port as described above, used an anti-static brush and out popped several lumps of fluff. It’s now charging perfectly! Not only has this saved us a trip into town to the Apple Store, but it’s also persuaded my son that it would be worth him cleaning his bedroom tomorrow 🙂

Rodrigo Bernabeu
4 years ago

So I fall asleep and wake up at 5AM to find my phone on the ground, so i pick it up and it was on 1%, well I got up and checked the wall and it wasn’t that. before I could get to my phone to call for a new charger, it died now the charger has to be held at one exact spot with pressure. but I’m not sure its the charger. its 5:40 AM and i’m so mad because i had no warning. And I’m CLUELESS on what to do.

Elīna Vikštrēma
4 years ago

Omg, the same exact thing happened to me today! I hope that it is not the charging port that is broken. 🙁 I’m so frustrated!

julianne
4 years ago

Elina What i did after i left it in the rice for 3 days i put it upwards fully covered it in rice i did not touch it at all for the 3 days when i turned it on it wouldnt hold charge when i rang off it BUT my mistake was i didn’t wait for it to completely charge to 100% once i did my phone is going great now hope that helped you.

julianne
4 years ago

hi i have a iphone4 i wet it. It turned off put in rice for 3 days now it’s going BUT it chargers as soon as i ring someone the phone loses charge can anyone help please Thanks.

Austin Thorn
4 years ago

my iphone 5c will say thats its completely charged but it crashes and dies after if rapidly depletes to 80 percent battery life and when i try to turn it back on it says that the battery is completely dead and as soon as i plug the charger into the phone it somes on again as if it was never dead

Despina
4 years ago

Oh the horror of waking up and finding out that the iPhone charger was not working. And on a diabolical coincidence my Internet was down as well. I felt like I was stranded on a deserted island! After pushing around a couple of buttons managed to get my Internet connection running and thought of googling it up just for the sake of trying. I came across your article and bam! Order in the universe is restored. It’s sorcery indeed. 🙂 Thank you for helping out this damsel in distress.

Rosalie LoPinto
4 years ago

Hi David, Thanks for the help you offer on this website. I have what I think is the 30 pin type charger. It looks fine to me, but today my phone wouldn’t charge. I rebooted as you suggested, but it didn’t seem to work. then, I just started basically playing with the charger near the 30 pin end and finally bent it in such a way that the phone started charging. I have it bent with the phone sitting on it to keep it stationary. In about 10 minutes it’s gone from 12% to 28%, and it’s still charging. I’m… Read more »

Nikos Papadopoulos
4 years ago

Great article!! Thank you! it works!

kelly
4 years ago

ive tried holding it for 30 seconds, but it isnt working ?

Xadguy
4 years ago

Cleaning the charging port with a toothbrush fixed my wonky iPhone 6—thanks!

Alastair Stephen
4 years ago

i only read all this after I changed both the battery and the charging port of a 2nd hand 5c that I had been given,After reading yr site, I did manage to get an apple logo, and the screen said that a snooze function had been running for 4000 odd hrs. ( last time phone was used I guess.
Now its just black, even after being on charge for 6 hrs. the charger and the both cable work with another apple device ( touch screen ipod)

Do you have any other suggestions please?

Cathey
4 years ago

The reboot worked. Thanks so much!

Mister Monday
4 years ago

Holy crap the toothbrush thing worked! Thanks so much, I’ve been without a phone for about 3 weeks when all it needed was a quick floss!

Tony
4 years ago

So my son’s IP6 will not charge. It starts and gets to about 3% and then shuts down. When he tries to turn it on, it is at 0% and he tries to charge again and the same thing happens. We have used different cords, plugs, and outlets. The same thing happens. I tried the reboot as you suggested, but nothing happens. Is his phone totally finished?

hailonga philipus
4 years ago

i have an iphone 4s. yesterday it froze for some hours until i drained the battery and charged it is when it started working again. today i decided to charge it but when i connect it to the my computer, itunes unpinned itself from the taskbar, the phone showed up on the screen but later stopped responding. i have external speakers that i use connected to the usb ports but when i connect to charge, they stop working too but phone cant charge. what is the real problem?

Lewie Hutchings
4 years ago

its an iphone 5c

Lewie Hutchings
4 years ago

Could anybody help my phone wont charge and ive took the dust out the charging port and still wont work its now on 13%

hunter11
4 years ago

I NEED HELP!!!!!! at first my phone died and I plugged it in all night long and now it dosent show the dead battery it just goes to the white apple logo and after about 30 minutes the screen turns blue for about 1 second and then goes back to the logo.

Alennn
4 years ago

Hi, i am having problem with recognising cable. My iphone 5s just can’t recognise charger, only original one – which is broken. I have bought 2 cables , first cable worked about 1 mouth , now it’s not recognised anymore.

Drew
4 years ago

My iphone 5 hasn’t been turning on, taking a charge, or connecting to itunes for almost 2 weeks now. I did the hard reset and that didn’t work, replaced the battery, replaced the charging port, did the hard restart again, and still nothing. Also before it stopped turning on I would like to note that it was on about 30% of battery then just died for no reason. I’m trying to check my options before sending it in so if anyone has any idea what happened and how to fix this please tell me.

Shawn B
4 years ago

my iPhone 5s was charged last I checked then it just died the battery sign wont show up I tried plugging it in and let it rest and still don’t work PLEASE HELP

leah
4 years ago

hi, recently i smashed my iphone 6 and stupidly enough got a friend of a friend to fix it. of course this new screen wasnt the best but it definatley done the job, until recently. recently my iphone had a small crack in it but has never been dropped since the new screen was put on. i also noticed that the sound has stopped playing completely and the phone will not charge what so ever. i dont know if its something i`ve done to the phone or something this friend of a friend has done. any advise on how to… Read more »

UPSguy77
4 years ago

Thank you Mr. Payette for the amazing suggestions. I used a new toothbrush to brush out the lint from my lightning port. It worked like a charm. I was afraid I was going to need to visit a genius at the Apple Store, but to my luck I found that genius here!

SumRandomGuy
4 years ago

Alright, So i got a Iphone 4 and i died. So i plug in the charger and i let it sit. 30 mins later and its still on the dead screen but it says its still charging. ideas?

Ah Tom
4 years ago

Just came to no how to charge my iPhone in the way of this lightning cable there two sides face u and back. Just now using the back to charge it came two sound and say it can’t charge than turn back to the front it now charging???? There many things u have to check how charge u iphon

Lisa Swain
4 years ago

This was immensely helpful. I’m up and running again. Thanks so much!

thepink wither
4 years ago

My iPhone only charged when i plugged in and plugged off MY iPhone about…..I dont know,100 times?

Seyma
4 years ago

The problem with my phone is i cannot charge it at home or at work, when i take it to the apple store and they plug it in their computers it starts charging (with their own cable). Does anyone have any idea why this would be? I just bought a new cable from a store so i would not expect it to be broken but i will replace it anyways to see if it works. still, other than the cable, would there be any reasons why i cannot charge it?

Dan Beltran
4 years ago

did everything you said plus no go….. But I did notice it looked as if the pin wasn’t going all the way in so I took a needle an gently poked around and it was lint packed in it wasn’t allowing the pins to make contact I got quite a lot of lint I also gently did the sides w/ needle and that was the proble I had used a toothbrush but it didn’t work it was so impacted so you may try this and see if that’s the issue it would be nice if Apple had a closure for… Read more »

tawny
4 years ago

my IPhone 4s died earlier today, so of course I plugged it in when I got home, its been “charging” now for 4 hours, the dead battery sign will show up, & the little charger on the screen. but it clearly isn’t charging! any ideas?? HELP 🙁

patty
4 years ago

I feel there is absolutely no real support ! Other customers with same problems are helpful but why should they have to go through so much ?

patty
4 years ago

I truly hate the iphone I will never purchase another…I can’t believe its this complicated to do a update on a phone

Shwetank Sharma
4 years ago

That was an awesome thing. Just used a tooth brush and it started charging.

Dwightstreeter
4 years ago

After doing the reboot and the Reset per suggestions below, I used another person’s cable and charger and my phone re-charged. A quick trip to the Apple Store for a new wire did the job.. $21 is a tad expensive, but it’s my only phone.
So people are right to do all options first before getting a new battery.

RalphF
4 years ago

My iPhone 5s charging had become intermittent. Then one day it would not charge at all. I tried several different cables that were charging my wife’s phone with no problem, but my phone still would not charge. Then I looked into the iPhone charging port: there was a lot of pocket crud in it. I tried to clean it with a pressurized air duster but that alone did not work. Next I tried an interdental brush and that worked like a charm. The brush is basically a small wire about one-half inch long with tiny bristles attached. I had to… Read more »

Roger Carlson
4 years ago

Thank you!!! It was indeed a software crash. The reboot you suggested fixed my problem. You saved me a lot of aggravation!

John in Brum
4 years ago

Hi folks, I have an iphone 4 that the screen went weird, so I bought a new one and the weekend I changed it.Everything seemed to go well until I tried to charge the phone. The first night after about 12 hours charge it had got up to about 10%, and when it is plugged in to a device eg laptop it is not recognised. I have fixed the charging problem by turning the phone off and then it seems to charge normally, but I still can’t get anything to recognise it through the USB cable. Any ideas?

竹林
4 years ago

thank you for the teaching, i tried it step by step, after the brush of the charge port, it can charge again. Thank you so much!

R Daneel Olivaw
4 years ago

My phone charges perfectly when connected to my computer. It will NOT charge when connected to a wall outlet with the apple charger. Things I have eliminated.
1. the USB because it’s the same one that works perfectly when connected to the computer.
2. The wall outlet. Plenty of power.
2. The apple charger. It works fine with my daughters iphone. I have even tried her charger.

Kalacs
4 years ago

The connector on my phone was pretty dirty so i tought i clean it up with a toothpick (i turned it off during that). I did it. A lot of mess came out. Than i plugged it in an it didnt charge and i didnt see it in itunes either. I got worried. Looked in it again, if i left some derbies in it, or i damagen the pins but they seemd right. Turned the phone off and on. Nothing. Than i tried hard reset. Luckily it solved it, however i dont really understand why was this all than….

Martin Soneby
4 years ago

What do you when the power button isn’t working anymore? My power button stopped working a while back, so I can’t perform that reboot command with the home button. Now it’s connected to the charger, but nothing happens.

emlonfabulon
4 years ago

This was really helpful information! This got my iPhone 5 to charge today, after it wouldn’t charge properly after a power outage yesterday. Thank you!