The first thing you need to know is that it is very common for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch not to charge properly.
In fact, according to Apple Store employees, these are among the most common issues they see.
The Apple Store is packed with people whose iPhones lose their battery life really fast, or won’t change at all – so you are not alone.
And because it is such a common problem there are some tried and tested techniques that can resolve most people’s charging problems quickly and easily.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Double-check your device isn’t charging
Connect your device to the lightning or 30-pin cable and plug it into the power.
If your device has completely run out of battery then it will have powered off. It will take 10-15 minutes on charge before you will be able to switch it on.
If the device doesn’t switch on after this length of time you have a charging issue.
If you still have some power left and your device is still on look at the status bar at the top of the screen. Over on the right-hand side, you should see a lightning bolt next to the battery symbol if it is charging.
If you don’t see the lightning bolt then your device is not charging and you should read on to find out what to do.
Step 2: Don’t jump to conclusions – it may not be a battery issue
There are lots of poorly written ill-informed articles online that explain how to deal with an iPhone that won’t charge.
One of the worst misconceptions is that the problem is with the battery and it should be replaced. This is complete nonsense and let me explain why.
When you connect your device to the power cable it connects via the charging port. This, in turn, is connected to the internal logic board that connects to the battery within the device itself. In other words, there are many components between the power cable and the battery that all have a part to play in the charging process.
If you replace the battery you are ignoring all of the other components in the chain and are unlikely to fix the problem.
Remember the iPhone, iPod, and iPad are really complex devices that require both the hardware and software to be working perfectly in unison with each other to allow them to charge. However, when it comes down to it the software is what allows it to charge or not. Replacing your battery will not make a difference to a software error.
Even if it is a hardware fault it is most likely the charging port or internal logic board that has a problem – not the battery.
So don’t replace your battery unless you have tried all the fixes listed in this article first.
Step 3: Four things to check
Before you can resolve the issue you need to figure out what is causing the problem with some basic troubleshooting.
There are 4 things that work together to allow your device to charge:
- A power source
- The lightning or 30-pin cable
- The charging port on your iPhone, iPod or iPad
- The software on your device (iOS operating system)
The first 3 items in the troubleshooting list can all be inspected by looking carefully at them for any signs of physical damage or wear and tear. If they look worn out replace the plug and/or cable. I explain this process in more detail below.
Get a replacement power cable for FREE
You may not know this but the cable and wall adaptor are covered by your Apple warranty for 1 year so you can get them replaced for free if they are broken. So it worth inspecting them and getting them replaced in your nearest Apple Store if there is a problem.
If the cable, plug, and charging port all look fine then it is probably a software fault. The vast majority of charging issues are due to a software glitch so it is worth going through the rest of this article to try out some of the suggested fixes. In most cases, they will resolve your charging problem.
1. Check the power source
There are several different ways to charge your iPhone, for example:
- Plugging it into a wall socket
- Using a car charger
- By attaching it to your computer
- By plugging it into a speaker system
- and many more…
The key to successfully charging your iPhone is a clean. stable, reliable power source. If the software in your iPhone detects power fluctuations then it will prevent it from charging to prevent it from being damaged.
So if you normally charge your iPhone via a USB port in your computer, speaker system or something else, try plugging it into a wall socket to see if that fixes the issue. You would be surprised how often USB ports can go bad and no longer function properly. I have experienced this on iMac’s and Mac Powerbooks myself. Trying a different USB port can often kick start the charging process.
Another thing to try if you charge your iPhone using your computers USB port is plugging it directly into the USB port in the computer and not via a USB hub. If you have many devices plugged into a USB hub the power is drained and often there isn’t enough left over to recharge your iPhone.
If you normally charge it in the car, then try it at home plugged into a wall socket. Or if the wall socket seems to be the issue then try charging it in the car, or via your computer. If it is a power issue that is causing your iPhone not to charge then swapping to another power source like this may work.
After trying all this out it still doesn’t work then you need to try a different charger. Try borrowing a friend’s charger and see if that works. Also, try charging your friend’s iPhone using your power cable and see if the works. If so, your power cable is fine.
If none of your friends have an iPhone then pop into your nearest Apple Store and try plugging your iPhone into one of the chargers their. If your iPhone charges then your power cable has a problem.
If it doesn’t appear to be working and your iPhone is less than 1 year old then you can have the power cable replaced for free. If you did the test in the Apple Store then you are in the right place to get a replacement. Don’t forget your receipt so you can prove the age of the device.
Alternatively, you can set up a return online at getsupport.apple.com or by calling your local Apple Store to make an appointment at the Genius Bar. It’s always a good idea to have an appointment so you don’t have to wait in line for too long.
2. Check the lightning or 30-pin USB cable
Do a visual inspection of the USB cable that came with your iPhone. Newer iPhones use a lightning cable, whereas older ones (before the iPhone 5) use a 30-pin dock connector.[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 4506,4505″ link=”lightbox” width=”275″ height=”300″ title=”never”]
Closely examine both ends, especially where the cable enters the plastic housing to check for damage. The USB cable is more likely to fray at the end that connects to your iPhone. If you see any visible damage then you should consider replacing the cable.
If there is no visible damage to your USB cable, try the same routine described in the previous section. Plug your cable 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.
Also, try charging your iPhone using a friend’s cable or by taking it to an Apple store and using there charging stations. If your iPhone starts charging after you plug it in you have a faulty USB cable.
Often charging issues are actually caused by buying cheap, low-quality 3rd party iPhone cables from eBay. These things are mass-produced in China and are often poor quality.
If your cable is not Apple certified then the quality can’t be guaranteed to make it more likely to cause a problem. If you can’t justify the price that Apple charges then any Apple-certified alternative will be fine.
Looking for a cheap replacement power cable?
If you don’t want to pay the high price for more expensive Apple-branded cable I recommend the following Amazon Basics cables for around £5 / $7. They are Apple certified and far more reliable than most of the cables found in your corner store or on eBay.
- $8 lightning cable compatibility with iPhone 12 /SE / 11 / XR / XS / X / 8 / 8 Plus / 7 / 7 Plus / 6 Plus / 6 / 5s / 5c / 5 / iPad Pro / iPad Air / iPad mini / mini 2 / iPad 4th generation and iPod nano 7th generation.
- $5 30-pin cable compatible with iPhone 3G/3Gs/4/4Gs, iPad 1/2/3, iPod nano 5th/6th generations and iPod Touch 3rd/4th generations.
- £5 lightning cable compatibility with iPhone 12 /SE / 11 / XR / XS / X / 8 / 8 Plus / 7 / 7 Plus / 6 Plus / 6 / 5s / 5c / 5 / iPad Pro / iPad Air / iPad mini / mini 2 / iPad 4th generation and iPod nano 7th generation.
- £5 30-pin cable compatible with iPhone 3G/3Gs/4/4Gs, iPad 1/2/3, iPod nano 5th/6th generations and iPod Touch 3rd/4th generations.
3. Check the charging port
Inspect the bottom of your iPhone using a torch or flashlight. Look closely to see if there is any dirt, grime, or gunk lodged in the delicate charging port. If so, this may be preventing the cable attaching to the iPhone properly and allowing it to charge.
To clean the port get yourself a brand new toothbrush and gently brush out the dirt. The nylon bristles are anti-static and should avoid any issues with static damaging your iPhone.
4. Check the software on your device (iOS or iPadOS)
If your iPhone still won’t charge after checking all of the physical elements of your iPhone and cable then it may be a software issue. A complete crash may result in your iPhone screen looking completely blank – just like it does when your iPhone has run out of juice. Also when you try and charge a crashed iPhone it will be completely unresponsive – so when you plug it in nothing appears on the screen. And because the software manages the charging process then it won’t charge because the software has crashed.
To make sure your iPhone hasn’t crashed you need to perform a hard reset. You do this by holding the power button and the home button down for an extended period of time. Sometimes for as long as 30 seconds. It will then reboot and the Apple logo will appear on the screen.
Step4: iPhone still not charging?
If you have followed all of the steps outlined above and your iPhone is still not charging then it is likely to need repairing. Your local Apple Store will need to service it. This is fine if you are still within your warranty period but if your warranty has expired this can be very expensive. It may cost up to $200 / £200 to have your iPhone serviced and repaired.
If your iPhone is insured, either through a dedicated policy or via your home or contents insurance then you may be able to claim a replacement. If you are in a contract then the network provider may help towards the cost of a replacement. If not, you may be out of pocket to replace your beloved iPhone.
Has your iPhone been liquid damaged or physically damaged?
If your iPhone has been submerged in liquid it often results in charging issues.
The liquid often causes a short circuit in the charging port that can’t be easily fixed.
If your iPhone has been submerged in liquid then dry it out for 72 hours or so in silica or rice, it could fix it. Drying your iPhone thoroughly may not be enough to save if the damage has already been done.
Often if an iPhone is damaged, either by physical force or by a liquid, the iPhone is unlikely to switch on or be fixed using the advice in this article.
Find out more about fixing iPhone water damage.
If you take a damaged iPhone to the Apple Store they won’t be able to do anything for you either – except sell you a replacement. Worse than that, you will have lost access to all the data, pictures, videos and other stuff on your iPhone.
An alternative for US-based owners is to use iresq.com. They will carry out small repairs to your iPhone, such as the charging port, screen, or other elements for a fraction of the price of a buying a replacement. And since the iPhone is being repaired, rather than being replaced all your personal information should be saved too.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.