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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Clare Mc Dermott-Smyth
5 years ago

Worked like a charm! Thanks

Clifton Steinberg
5 years ago

the toothbrush trick worked for me first time. Thank you for the detailed info!

Marta Daniels Webb
5 years ago

Awesome! Problem solved! Thank you!

Shay Ward Hamlin
5 years ago

YEA!!! TY!! Its charging now 😀

Karen Kitterman Callis
5 years ago

Just fixed my husband’s really old phone with the hard reset! Thanks for the info!

Lynne Trezise
5 years ago

Thank you !! Fixed my problem

Paula Jr Frye
5 years ago

Thanks she’s up and charging

Josie Woods
5 years ago

thanks it worked great (the hard reset)

Jordan Richard
5 years ago

how much does it cost to get a new battery? i have a 6s

Catherine Henry
5 years ago

Thanks!! holding home and power worked like a charm!

Lauri Juvela
5 years ago

Thanks! Took me reading this article to pick up the air-duster can on my desk and clean the lightning port. Now it charges again!

Edrina Elliott
5 years ago

Read all your advice. Did the hard reset and also cleaned the port. Phone is now back.on and charging. Yay.

Simon Pike
5 years ago

Hi David
I don’t want to chance dfu reset and I’m frustrated now! I’ve bought a new iPhone charger , still nothing, cleaned it out, nothing?, the only way it will charge is to insert an iPhone 5 to 30 pin converter and it charges on my docking station??

Brandy Rounds
5 years ago

i call bulls***. how can you do a reset on a dead phone?

Josh Stovall
5 years ago

iphone is an overpriced piece of s***.

Marjorie Kutner
5 years ago

Thanks great info

Tara Kilinc
5 years ago

It worked! Thanks!!!!

Ray Boulé
5 years ago

fixed my intermittent charging issue by brushing out the charge port with a soft bristled tooth brush. thank you.

Eddie Orlando Rivera
5 years ago

it worked thanks

Andrew Morten
5 years ago

1 worked great for me. Top post. Thanks.

Gooly Bug
5 years ago

my problem is since the button to turn of the phone dosen work whenever my iphone dies i cant turn it one because you need to hold the home button and the button to turn of the phone, so whenever my phoen dies it only comes on in like 3 days if i havent charged in a while, otherwise maybe a few hours, sometims ight away in 5 min, once took like 5 days, what is this ):

Julie Langhorne
5 years ago

Thank for writing this! Toothbrush trick worked!

Thea Bradford
5 years ago

My iPhone suddenly stopped charging 3 days ago, it would only charge if I did a hard reset except the hard resets started taking longer and today this method of instigating the charge has stopped. I am travelling and stuck in Romania so not exactly a proper apple shop around! Apple forum was completely useless and I’m getting rather annoyed as I’m sure it’s a software problem.

Renan Costa Sousa
5 years ago
Reply to  Thea Bradford

Solved my problem too. But I have to reboot with the phone plugged in. iPhone 4S here. Problem started after the latest iOS update.

Silvana Garcia
5 years ago

This is the second iphone this has happened to in the last 4 weeks. I am really getting frustrated and apple has been no help. They use to be so knowledgable and helpful. But lately they are useless. What do you reommnd I do next? I am without a phone and I have a 6plus and a 6s Plus that don’t work.

Katie Addo
5 years ago
Reply to  Silvana Garcia

did the reset delete your apps and photos or anything?

Anna Ang Italiano
5 years ago

Thanks. Worked great

Fausto Paiva
5 years ago

Thanks man! After DFU my iPhone 6 came back to life again.

Joanne Curzio Weisbeck
5 years ago

Thankyou for your information! My problem is my lphone 6 plus won’t charge on anything but a photive port! Can you give me any reasons why? Even my Apple cable and wall charger doesn’t work.

Ruben Becker
5 years ago

Thanks a bunch — awesome and useful post.

Eric Wippman
5 years ago

Solved my problem, thanks!

Lyddia Morris
5 years ago

Not sure if I missed something but I didn’t see a solution to the software problem , I want to see if that is what has stopped my phone from charging. Can anyone help .?

Rob Henderson
5 years ago

I found lint in the phones connection port. All good and under way again thanks for the tooth brush tip. Cheers. Rob

Joyce Wright
5 years ago

Brilliant, just done the hard reset and my phone seems to be charging, wish everyone explained it as well as you have, thank you, very helpfull much appreciatted 🙂

Mateusz Dolaś
5 years ago

Jesus f***ing christ please improve Your style or leave this is mind boggling

Nancy Dranitsaris
5 years ago

Thank you so much! This is extremely useful information, David. I did the hard reset because the battery indicator was showing the same level (less than a quarter charged) as when I’d plugged it in hours earlier, and when I turned the phone back on, it was indicating fully charged! Much appreciated!

Marilyn Eversole
5 years ago

This was very helpful! The problem was solved with a hard restart. Thank you so much!

Karen Badurski
5 years ago

Thank you for your help! Plugging it into my USB port on my computer did the trick!

William Birden
5 years ago

Worked like a charm. Thanks

Robin Clinton
5 years ago

Thank you for your very detailed and helpful post! Great job!!

Arlene Roberts
5 years ago

WoW!!! Thank you so Much 🙂 all your information was SOOO HELPFUL!!! Cell is back on 😀
God Bless You

Anuratha KC
5 years ago

Many thanks…it worked!

Max Einstein
5 years ago

Thank you very much. Your tips are amazing. Iphone 6 was not charging this evening. Did a hard re-book and HEY PRESTO…It worked.

Brendan McGoldrick
5 years ago

This was all very helpful information,Thank you.

Paul Mathew
5 years ago

Very helpful. I did a forced reset and the phone came back to life. Would like to know if this will be a repeated problem as i bought the phone yesterday only

Jay Guyette
5 years ago

Thanx, amazing!

Onur Uysen
5 years ago

Thank you very much!

Susan Diel Lee
5 years ago

I can’t seem to get mine to charge after trying all of the things listed.

Klai Klai
5 years ago

I just had the same problem with my iphone 6 .. It stopped charging when it reached 79%. So I tried to follow these tips, like brushing off the dust at the charging port but nothing happened. Tried connecting it to the wall still nothing happened. Tried it in the car with a different cord, it worked! I went back to my room and try that cord, it didnt work this time! So my friend told me to just use a completely different charger with the cord he gave me.. And voila! Its working fine till now! I just used… Read more »

Irit H. Horn
5 years ago

I wish I saw your article earlier it would have saved me pain and hours of frustration!
Fixed!!! Thank you very much!!!!

Annette Bening
5 years ago

Good share.

Shohreh Raeisi
5 years ago

Thank you for helpful information! the problem was dusty iphone charging port.

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