There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning, reaching over to grab your phone, and discovering that your iPhone won’t charge anymore – and that the battery has less power in it than when you plugged it in the night before!
The odds are pretty good that you fiddle around with the charging cable, looking to see if the contacts are dirty, plugging it in and unplugging it over and over again hoping to see the little charging battery icon pop-up at the top of your screen.
If this approach doesn’t work (and you certainly wouldn’t be alone if it didn’t) don’t worry. There are a couple of other things you can do to figure out why your iPhone was plugged in but was not charging, and a couple of things you can do before you visit the Genius Bar at an Apple Store or contemplate returning your device to fix the charging issues all on your own.
Let’s dig right in!
Five Ways You Can Fix Charging Problems with Your iPhone
Below we break down five of the most common approaches to fixing iPhone plugged in but not charging issues, solutions that have helped millions of people fix their iPhone almost immediately when nothing else seemed to work.
It’s important that you try each of these methods before you call up Apple, head to the Genius Bar, or start processing a return on your device. These tactics will help you save time and money while avoiding the headache and hassle of having to start from scratch with a brand-new iPhone just because your old one decided to stop charging.
1) Hard, Physical iPhone Reset
This is the easiest fix for an iPhone that will not charge but it also happens to be one of the most common solutions for well over 50% of the charging issues these phones might deal with time to time.
For one reason or another (usually related to the fact that we can all download different applications to our phone directly from the App Store) different software can interfere with your phone’s ability to charge.
By performing a hard, physical reset on your device rather than just “soft rebooting” the phone you essentially reset the software on your device back to a stable state – and then you’ll know if you’re charging issues are software related or hardware related.
Those with iPhones newer than the iPhone 8 will want to do a hard reset by following these steps:
- 1. Press the VOLUME UP button quickly
- 2. Press of the VOLUME DOWN button quickly
- 3. Press and then hold down on the POWER button until you see the Apple logo pop up on your screen
Your phone will then move through the hard reset process on its own and you want to check if the charging issues have been cleared up.
Those with iPhones older than the iPhone 8 will want to either press down and hold both the POWER button and the VOLUME DOWN button until the Apple logo shows up or they’ll want to press down on both the POWER button and the HOME button until the Apple logo shows up – depending on which iPhone you have.
2) Inspect Your Lightning Charging Cable For Obvious Signs of Damage
If you aren’t dealing with a software issue that’s causing your phone to have difficulty charging the other reason could be that you’re dealing with a hardware issue – and then you have to figure out whether or not it’s your phone hardware or the charging hardware that’s causing the problem.
A lot of people figure out pretty quickly that the reason their iPhone is plugged in but isn’t charging is because of their charging cable – the lightning cable that comes with these devices – or the USB adapter/wall adapter that connects the cable to a power source is damaged or faulty.
If there are no obvious signs of damage, wear, or tear that could be leading to these issues it may be something happening beneath the sleek surface of these cables or adapters.
You’ll want to try:
- Connecting your phone to a power source with a different lightning cable to see if it starts to charge
- Connecting your phone with a different USB/wall adapter to see if it starts to charge
- Connecting your phone to your car’s charging system to see if it starts to charge
These hardware tests are going to let you know whether or not the cable itself is faulty, the power adapters are faulty, or the power source itself is the issue holding back your iPhone from taking a charge.
Try as many different combinations as possible, with different cables and with different power sources/adapters/charging units. If the phone still will not take a charge, the other problem that you’re probably dealing with is a phone hardware problem that needs to be addressed.
3) Clean Out the Charging Connections
Those asking “why isn’t my iPhone charging” after they have discovered that there lightning cable/charging units are rock solid and ready to go are going to want to grab a flashlight and have a look at the actual charging port and connection area on their iPhone device.
This open port is on the bottom of the phone where the lightning cable docks into the device, and for obvious reasons, it can often pick up dirt, dust, and debris that can jam or otherwise obstruct the connections for the charging/data cable.
Nine individual connectors are going to be found inside of this docking station and if even just some of them are dirty or obstructed the odds are pretty good that your iPhone isn’t going to charge. This also happens to be one of the most sensitive areas on the iPhone, so it really doesn’t take much for it to become less than reliable.
All you need to do to fix this problem, however, is a good stiff toothbrush – ideally one that you don’t plan on using on your smile anytime soon!
Grab this dry toothbrush and gently start to scrub inside of the connection area, blowing out the connection port with a can of compressed air every now and again to free dirt, debris, and other obstructions that might have built up inside port.
Keep checking with a flashlight to verify that each of these nine connection points is clean and bright (they should look like shiny gold inside of your iPhone). Once they are back to better them brand-new condition, it’s time to reconnect your lightning cable and see if your phone starts to fire up.
How do I know my iPhone is charging after I do this “deep clean”?
You’ll know instantly if the charging icon pops up in the top of your device, letting you know that you are good to go!
Has Your iPhone Suffered Water Damage?
If you have an iPhone that is older than the iPhone 7 (the first generation of iPhone devices that shipped from Apple waterproof) and your phone has taken a dip in some water – even for just a few seconds – the other pretty good that’s the reason your device no longer charges.
As we mentioned above, the charging connections for the iPhone are incredibly sensitive and even just a little bit of contact with water is enough to short-circuit them and destroy their ability to take a charge in the future.
The old “stick your iPhone in a bag of rice” approach will not work if the connections have been spoiled, either. That works to dry out and remove moisture from sensitive areas of your phone – like the battery, the logic board, and the internal components – but it isn’t going to do you any good if the contacts themselves have been compromised.
If this is the reason, your iPhone will not charge and you’re going to need to head down to the Genius Bar and hope that they’re willing to swap your device out for a new one without you having to pay out-of-pocket for the opportunity to do so.
4) The Option of Last Resort – A DFU Restore
Think of this as the “nuclear option”, the option you’re going to want to move forward with ONLY if no other solution has worked for recharging your iPhone at all parent
A DFU Restore is going to completely and totally reset your phone back to brand-new condition, wiping away EVERYTHING that has been stored on the device completely. There will be NOTHING left at all – no data, no phone contacts, no messages, nothing.
This restore can only be possible if you are able to connect your phone with a lightning cable to a Mac or PC, and you’ll need to be able to bring up iTunes as well.
After you have connected to iTunes (and ideally backed up any of the data you want to save from here on out) you will need to:
- Press and then hold down the POWER button and the HOME button for eight seconds while the phone is plugged into the computer
- After the eight seconds have passed, release just the POWER button while continuing to hold down the HOME button until you see an alert from iTunes that your phone is detected and is now in the recovery mode
- Release the HOME button and watch as the screen goes completely blank. This means you are officially in DFU Mode
All that’s left to do now with your iPhone to make sure it charges is to go through the restoration process in iTunes. Follow the on-screen prompts and double check that you backed up your data before you clear anything out to reset your phone and check if the charging problem has been solved.
5) Visit the Genius Bar
If you’ve tried all of the solutions above to figure out why your iPhone will charge it’s time to bring the device to the experts at Apple.
Find a local retail outlet, Apple Store, or Apple Authorized Service Provider and have them go through your device with a fine-toothed comb to solve the problem or replace your outright.
Issues that cannot be resolved with the tips and tricks we’ve included in this quick guide means your iPhone will not charge for very specific and technical issues that are beyond the scope of most people outside the Apple company.