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.
Table Of Contents
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!
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 & Newer||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 iPhones with Face ID) 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!
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.
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 make 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, third-party iPhone charging 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.
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.
The important thing to look for is a Made For iPhone (MFi) label on the box. MFi is essentially Apple’s seal of approval — it’s an accessory that meets Apple’s software and hardware requirements.
If you plug a non-MFi charging cable into your iPhone, you may see a message that says, “This accessory may not be supported.”
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.
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.)
Tip: 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:
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.
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 fixing a hardware problem.
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.
Hello there, my iPad ‘s port and charger works fine but it’s not charging….could it be the software or a need to change charger type cause I’m not using an Apple charger
Hi, I have got the same problem and tried to do hard reset but still nothing has came out(No apple logo) still remains dead and blank.
Please help me..
I just bought my iphone 6plus. I did this last night after it kept shutting off. I reset it all and then today the phone completely shut off. Now if it isn’t connected to a charger then it is a black screen and wont turn on. If I connect to a charger it shows a flashing/blinking on and off apple logo but after it being on the charger all day. It will not turn on. Someone please help me. I just bought this. I have called to a few places and seems no one cares and just want me to… Read more »
Hi, first many thanks for the advice. I did as advised, brushed the charging port, then pressed the power button and home button together for the most 30 seconds, it worked, the charging sign appeared on the screen, the problem is that it stayed only for 2-3 seconds, it disappeared again, I repeated this process for a few times, it still won’t charge. Would anyone let me know what is the problem?
Good day. Im having problem with my iphone 5s. It wont turn on. I drained my battery and now it wont turn on even im charging it. My cable and adaptor is well functioned and im using it on my ipad but when i use it my iphone my iphone wont charge. What i’m gonna do pls help me.
I have an iphone 6s, one night i p[lugged it in and it wouldn’t charge by morning my phone was on 3% and anytime I plug it in it turns on shows the apple symbol then dies.I can’t test the software because its fully dead. I plugged my phone into my computer and its still not charging, though it shows it is.It also looks like its turning on (shows the apple sign)stays like that fr a few moments, then just goes back to dead.I tried cleaning the charging port nothing was in there.Someone please help I am going to a… Read more »
thanks for the advice on the charging port! toothbrush worked really well!!
my phone is out of battery and wont charge too do the rest thing. any help would be good now y phonne is dead and wont charge or do a thing..
Your advice worked perfectly! My wife’s iPhone 5 wasn’t charging. We did try it in my charger, but still didn’t work. So we turned it off and on, and now it’s charging again!
My fiance IPhone won’t charge and when it does it won’t hold a charge for long he’s scared to reboot it because he’s afraid he may lose the contents in his phone what should he do
I have the iPhone 6. It charges but it only lasts 15min and then it shuts off. When I plug it in it comes right on with anywhere from 89%to 94% battery power. I called sprint and they sent me to a sprint store that would only replace my phone for over $200. I’m a single father and I can’t afford to drop this kind of money especially on a phone that is just a little over a year old. I pay the sprints insurance for my phone. By them replacing it with an upgrade it is not covered by… Read more »
Thank you! My iPhone 6 wasn’t charging at all. Was about to go get a CLNR sent to me, read this article first, did the hard reset and BOOM – charge city. Thanks again, David.
My iPhone has just stopped charging. I have tried branded and aftermarket cables with no joy at all. I currently have the iPhone connected to the apple macbook and still nothing. I have tried cleaning the port with a toothbrush however still nothing ??????????? need help guys badly
Did you read the article? Hold down the power button and home button at the same time until the phone reboots. That will be your first step in figuring out if it’s just a software reboot or if hardware needs to be replaced.
HI , my daugther’s IPhone 5s was working fine yesterday, however she ordered online a mini fan that was to attach to the usb port on the bottom of the phone. She plugged it in and it worked fine, but later on she noticed that when she tried to charge her phone it wont charge. The phone is fully discharged with the empty battery sign and a plug icon, telling me to charge it , but when we plug it into the computer or adapter it wont start charging, please help. Also since it is fully out of battery I… Read more »
I had a very weird problem with my iPhone 4, it wouldn’t take the charger at all, I tried different cords and different bricks and it just kept depleting, I even tried normal power offs and hard reboots, eventually it just died (note, it was otherwise fully functional) and once it died, it suddenly recognized that there was power to it and accepted the charger! Is there anything I can do if this happens again?
I must thank you as this resolved my issues….the tooth brush trick…thank you. Otherwise I was going to have to use my phone upgrade before the iphone 7 came out…thanks
My iPhone 6 obviously needs a charge port or something because it suddenly quit taking a charge, wont reset and does not react or reset when connected to PC. Any help with replacing the charge port or where to find parts or should I just take the $100 for it ive been offered and get a new one?
Hi, so my iphone has been weird lately, it suddenly turn off even i un-plug it from charger and the battery still 100%, even while i charge my iphone, it sometimes turn off and the screen display as if my battery is dead and just start charging. Sometimes if i un-plug and plug in the charger again, the phone is back online. My iphone just always goes on this sudden dead mode, either when i charge it or not. It’s always like this if i’m not using it. Please fix if you can.
Hello, I am afraid none of the tricks worked. I had a perfectly working, brand new (bought a new piece from the store directly) iPhone 5S and it would chargé with no problems with different cables. Today afternoon, for no reason at all it ceased to react to any charging – now the trick is that it shows AS IF it charges, but it doesn’t chargé or at least doesn’t turn on showing that the cable should plug in. Reacts identically with all cables (branded or not), what should I do? I go for a week holidays in 2 days… Read more »
hi so last night i slept with my iphone like 1% a d it switched off and today it took me over an hour just to turn on and what i noticed was the flashlight was on while it was turned off strange and when it switched on the flash was still on and i pressed the torch button on the control centre and every time i press it it turns off by itself just to add last year the letter p stopped working on my iphone 4s suddenly then this year the whole right hand side stopped working so… Read more »
I have an iPhone 6 and I recently did the new update and since then my phone doesn’t charge probably more than 63% what should I do or can I do?
Thank you! I remembered my phone had dropped in a fruit smoothie one time (lol). I noticed little specs inside and used a vibrating toothbrush to free them out. It’s charging now!
It’s father’s day and wife freaks out because iPhone quit, won’t start and screen stays black after 20 minutes of charging. No appointments available at nearby Genius bars until late tomorrow. Two minutes on your site leads to reboot one minute after that! Thanks very much.
hi i have an iphone 5c i conected the cable to charg and the signal of charging was coming on and off , untill the battery died, my wifes 5C charges normally but mine died i conected all the cables i have and in everi energy source, wall power outlet, tv, laptop, printer etc and wont work, it shows the battery and the cable when i press turn on/off button what could it be, I cleaned the power source of the iphone also.
Thanks, restarting my iPhone solved the problem for me. Interesting that the software determines when/how to charge, but I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t realize this myself. I am a software developer by trade.
I just wanted to put in my two cents here for David.
Man i have been trying to figure this out for weeks now like every night I was just trying to get my phone to charge and I would just sit there for like an hour sometimes and I rarely got lucky.
So I decided to Google it even though I didn’t expect any results and this was the first link I clicked on and I didn’t expect a professional response like this.
Thanks David for caring about the Apple fam.
Excellent! After a long struggle, thank to ALLAH for this insightful solution comes from you. I had bought so many new charging cable but won’t work. Finally my phone is now okay, after cleaning so many dust stay inside from my charging port. I was so worried about my phone. Now I am feeling happy!!! 🙂
Hi, I am having problem in charging my iPhone 5s. The phone is n’t charging if I am using a certified USB cable, but it is charging properly with an Android phone cable. I have also check the certified cable with other iPhones and it is working properly but not with my phone. Plz help me out.
Thanks, David! This morning, after being plugged in all night, my iPhone 5S was down to 3%. I swapped cables, tried a different outlet, no joy. Oddly, when I plugged it into my PC (where I’ve been using the phone as a battery-draining hotspot lately), it charged fine. I did a hard reset as you suggested, and now it is happily charging from the wall outlet again.
My iPhone 6 does not recognize any cable. Now when plug you ca see the drained battery on screen but that is about it. Reset it a couple of times and it worked but now not even that. Help!!!!!!!
After cleaning out my iphone port with a toothpick (carefully!), phone is now charging great :).
It’s 4 am. I just woke up to nurse my newborn, and my phone is at 1% after “charging” for hours. I run around the house trying different chargers, and cleaning every bit of lint out of my phones charge port. In tears, and thinking I lost my photos since my last back up forever, I desperately search the internet and happen upon your article. I turn off my phone and it gloriously lights up again as I plug it in!!! I would have never thought it was a software crash! Thank you so much for writing this article!
My iphone 6plus is charged at 68% or less & will not charge further, even though it shows that it’s charging. Then a message pops up every now & then telling me the device may not be compatible with my phone. I have only used the charger that came with the phone. I tried to reboot by holding down the side & front buttons. The screen goes black & then the apple shows up & my screen is on.
My Iphone 6 seems to be “killing” chargers. I have had 3 cords stop working In the past week. Not the cheap cords either, but not iphone cords. They switch from charging to not charging off and on until they don’t charge any more. I have hard reset my phone several times. I have changed the adapter, tried charging it in my car, but no luck. It is currently working on my iphone cord hooked to the computer (haven’t tried this cord with adapter because its kept at work) Any ideas?
I started getting errors that said that the cable is not certified an may not work with this iphone although all my chargers are Apple chargers for my iphone 6 plus. I didn’t realize at the time that the battery wasn’t charging and now the phone is dead. I plug it in and I get the drained battery symbol but if I leave it long enough (about 30 minutes) it will achieve a 1-2% charge then it goes dead. I tried resetting the software when there was power but I’m not sure if it actually went through the reset process… Read more »
As I was reading this I turned my phone off and back on and it worked. Crazy. Thanks for sharing!!! This works!
hi,i had d same problem.i solved it by blowi air from my mouth exactly wr the mobile charge pin connects thr……try it
Hi! I have a 6s and it will only charge when it’s off. I’ve checked everything and as far as I can tell, it’s fine. How do I get it to charge normally?
My iPhone 6 was not charging. I took it to apple and Verizon both tried to sell me a new phone. Turned the phone off by using the side and center button, and now it is charging on the wall. 🙂 thank you for the great tips.
Thanks for explaining the software thing. Reboot totally solved the problem and I learned something.
So my iPhone 6 still wont charge, I bought a brand new charger and also tried the home button method, It won’t work. My mother recently lost her job, so if she finds out my phone is broken, I’m dead. What do I do?
wow! i just had the same issue last night. i plugged my phone in but it charged until 30%. i reboot my phone by holding the lock button and the home button and now my phone started to charge. i was afraid i had to buy a new cable. thank you!!
Reboot worked for me too. Thanks so much!
Great article. I was sure that my iPhone 6 charging socket was damaged, but after reading this I decided to gently dig around in the socket with a needle, and out came a huge wad of compressed pocket fluff. Now it’s working perfectly again! Thank you.
I have a 6 and for about 8 months only one charger would charge my phone, i finally took it to the apple store and they checked it out said it was fine bought a new cord (tried it at the store) and it did not work.We tired a different cord and that one worked so I bought that one. Tonight I plugged my phone into my computer to upload pictures and now it will not charge with any of my cords. Can someone please help!!!
I have an iPhone 6 and its been dead for 4 days now. I’ve tried changing usb wires and adapters on my computer, wall socket and even car and it still won’t charge. I tried restarting it by holding the home button and power button simultaneously (for about 1 min) and the apple logo hasn’t popped up and its still a black screen? Someone pls help!!
My iPhone 5s quit charging and died last night. Have been having issues with the charging port having a bad connection. Tried new cable and different charging ports and no luck. Replaced the charging port assembly and reconnected it all and put back together. Connected the new charging cable and tried a hard reboot. My phone is still down for the count. Would I be looking at a faulty battery?
My iPhone 5c became more and more difficult to charge. The problem seemed to be in the port on the phone. The phone is only about 18 months old and I was not due for the 2 year replacement from verizon for another 6 months. I went to the Verizon store thinking I would have to buy a new phone. The tech at the store said he might be able to fix it. He took the phone and came back in a few minutes and the phone was charging. He said the problem was the build up of pocket lint… Read more »
Thanks to your advice about cleaning the phone port with a toothbrush. That simple fix worked. I never really thought about the lint that was in there as I keep my phone in my pocket.
Hi – and thanks for the hard reboot tip. My Iphone 6 wasn’t accepting a charge, I did the basis checks on power cables, cleaned out the socket on the Iphone and then tried the hard reboot. For some reason the phone didn’t reboot straight away and after a few minutes I was looking online for the nearest Apple Store. However, the phone then displayed the white apple logo and *boom* it was back, accepting a charge 🙂 So… tip for other users is that the hard reboot may take a few minutes to take effect. Could not have succeeded… Read more »