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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Bob Kowal
5 years ago

2nd, post, same as the first….
Anyone have any theories about what’s wrong with my iPhone 6 based on my previous message? PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME

Fabunmi Olusola
5 years ago

Thanks the tooth brush works for me,after after i have purchased Cable and charger more than 10times. I really appreciate your article.

Patricia White
5 years ago

After a couple hours my IPhone did not charge. Showed the battery plug in and lightening bolt. The little white button you press on your outlets might be up. Push that button in. Power will resume to the outlet. IPhone now charging normally.

Bob Kowal
5 years ago

I love your post. I bought an iPhone 6 in the first month or so after it came on the market. It worked great and I took extreamly good care of it. 6 months later it stopped charging went dead and the black screen is all I see… I did all the things U recommend in regards to the charger. My wife now has a iPhone 6 that works perfect and charges perfect. My iPhone will not charge with her charger. The battery lost charge long ago. After reading your article I plugged it in and tried the hard restart… Read more »

Wendy Willow
5 years ago

Thank you so much!!! All I did was follow your directions for holding down both buttons and the phone came back on! So relieved I didn’t have to march up to the Apple store today. I have a house full of guests arriving shortly and was beginning to panic!

Sarah Adams
5 years ago

Very helpful, thank you! My husband was stressing and thought his phone was broken but now I’m in his good books

RM Galaxies
5 years ago

i connected my phone but it doesnt show the lightning bolt and it just continues to die and then when it does shut off it charges but then it wakes up to 5% and i stay stuck in the samecycle over and over again

Devon Hill Sinkovic
5 years ago

Thank you for the information on how to do a hard reset. You saved me a trip to the Apple store for them to do the same thing.

Tiny Colleer
5 years ago

The hard reset solved my problem. Many thanks!

Ng Shilen
5 years ago

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Why Bother
5 years ago

Wow … hard reset did the trick! Amazing. Thanks so much!!!

Jo Hicks
5 years ago

Thank you!!!!! Just did the hard reset and I’m back in business! You’re a lifesaver. Well a phone saver at least

Thomas Buchmann
5 years ago

I removed the dust from my iPhone 6 port with a bobby pin. There was enough dust in there that the cable was loose and sometimes fell out on its own. It wasn’t making contact and therefore not charging.

Lup Lew
5 years ago

Thanks David. Cleaning out the connector port with a toothbrush worked like a charm. Now my iphone 6 charges just as soon as I connect the cable. I’ve been struggling with wiggling the cable to charge my phone since september and it just got progressively worse. Last night, I tried for an hour but could not get the phne to charge .. I was ready to finally bite the bullet and bring it in to an Apple store for repair. Good thing I found this article onn the internet first.

Gina Carmack-McBroom
5 years ago

Thank you so Much! Fixed within a minute.

Thomas Sorce
5 years ago

Software re-boot worked. Thanks for the clear and concise approach. Well Done!

Jared Jillson
5 years ago

sooooo much lint in the bottom of my port, great advice thank you!

Michelle McGinnis Antinello
5 years ago

Thank you!! Hard reset fixed it 🙂

Ruby Anupama Ravoori
5 years ago

Reboot it with holding lock button and home button hard for about a minute . It worked

Mira Kawer Duncan
5 years ago

My iPhone 6 will charge but it won’t hold a charge. It’s at 75% 10 minutes after I take it off the charger. Or, mid-day, It drops to 38%, I plug it in and it shows 52% after 30 seconds then back down all within one minute. Argh. New phone?

Lynn Morrison
5 years ago

Cheers for the down to earth information phone has kicked back into life thanks

Pauline O'Shea
5 years ago

Thanks. Just saved me a lot of hassle

Julie Nutting
5 years ago

Thanks for comprehensive instructions will try these – fingers crossed

Madison Barber
5 years ago

my iphone was dropped in water and everythings working except it onky charges to 2 %

Aaron Jeremy
5 years ago

my phone is charging for 12 hours but my phone won’t start…

Jilly Bean
5 years ago

Hard reset fixed the problem, thanks

Mary Bratych
5 years ago

Thank you ,phone was charging all night and nothing , held the two buttons down and its a goer again , 🙂

Paulina Tavera
5 years ago

Thank you for “Paying It Forward” with your post! I tried changing different lightning charge cords including Apple cords, yet it stayed at a 1% charge. After a hard reset per you reccommendation the phone would not come back on, but I left it on a original iPhone cord to charge. Within about an hour, the iPhone turned back on its own and had charged to about 79%. It is now charging fine on all of the lightning cords that we have in the house. Your reccommendations were “on point” and very helpful. Again, thank you!

Linda Carmichael
5 years ago

Thanks for all the helpful info It looks as if it’s my new cord Hopefully I’m on the way to recharging

Michael Brothers
5 years ago

Thank you so much! I was having charging problems and read your recommendations. I tried your suggestions and nothing worked until I tried the toothbrush. Eureka!! All is well again. Thank you!

Patrick Lynch
5 years ago

Hard reset worked a treat. Many thanks.

Bre
5 years ago
Reply to  Patrick Lynch

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.

Rick Piotrowski
5 years ago

worked like a charm. you rock, thank you

Rickistone Vu
5 years ago

that will work!! brushing it off my port on iphone! thanx a lot!! i have dust, depris, or tissue paper lol from blowing my nose..lol

Sarthak Rimal
5 years ago

My iphone was not charging but the battery was stuck in 11% only for 2 hours. Thank you so much the hard reset worked.

Sharon Bennett
5 years ago

Your info was a life saver. I was about the turn my phone in for an upgrade. You saved me lots of $$$!

Thoufey Ubaid
5 years ago

My iPhone 5s does not charging while phone is on . But when I switched off my phone and charges there will increase the battery percentage

Mich 张 Tio
5 years ago

have try all the mention matter above but still cant on.
wondering is a common issues or what

Manyam John
5 years ago

Thanks David!

Mohan Chowdary Bellam
5 years ago

good one. can u please tell me how much they charge for software problem. ? or is it free ?

Wayne Murphy
5 years ago

its not the charger becuase i kinda have to push the cable and wiggle it to get the light to say its charging, its so frustrating

John Ridge
5 years ago

Thanks David. It was gunk in my charging port and the toothbrush trick did the trick.

Frank Hobbs
5 years ago

Thanks for the info, Fixed my iphone 6

Ian McKay
5 years ago

I appreciate the info but nothing works. Its a mint iphone 6 my daughter uses (in bed with us). Its never taken about or leaves our plush room. For two years there has been no issue and then right before xmas it just died and that was it. There has been times Ive seen the battery logo but it turns black and then again nothing happens. Verizon only suggest I upgrade, horse sh1t, Genius Bar literally said today, “it happens, maybe unplugging it shorted it and now its in a state of such low batter it wont charge, but I… Read more »

Zac Delmenico
5 years ago

Extremely helpful and easy to digest

Kelle Kingsley
5 years ago

Thank you – telly useful, got my iPhone going again.

Becky Roberts
5 years ago

Hi this has been very helpful thank you. I’m still struggling with the phone charging properly.
I have an Iphone5 and with the last update, it will only charge when phone is shut down and on charger.
Any thoughts?

Malcolm Crawford
5 years ago

Perfect! Fixed the problem.

Mandara Naomi Sum-Ting Wong
5 years ago

Hi
Will I lose all my data just from having the charging port changed/fixed ?
Sorry it’s probably a stupid question

Kim Aversa Spencer
5 years ago

Thank you Dave! I turned phone off which is all it took. Your a genius! Thank you!!!!

Deanna Blaquiere
5 years ago

Thank you!!

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