Plugged your iPhone into a wired or wireless charger, but you don’t see a lightning bolt? That’s a bad sign since its presence next to the battery icon or the Lock screen indicates charging is occurring. If you made sure everything is plugged in firmly, there must be an obstacle in the way. Well, many have been angered by the build quality and quality control of the official Apple charging accessories. But when the company makes it hard to find an alternative, you don’t have a choice. However, talking about shady business practices is a topic for another day. Let’s try to answer your question – why won’t my iPhone charge?
1. The charging port for the iPhone might be dirty or defective
There’s a chance that the prongs that go into the power outlet, the USB port on the charging cable, or that a Lightning port are defective or dirty. It’s also possible that two or all 3 of those are problematic or that the power adapter itself is faulty. Here are 6 steps you can try to start charging an iPhone again:
- Try a different power outlet or a different USB port on your computer.
- Try a different charger for the same iPhone model.
- Use a 10W and 12 W notebook power adapters used by iPads and Mac notebooks. They are safe for work, and Apple recommends this step for troubleshooting.
- Inspect all ports visually for signs of burn damage, dust, or debris. Use compressed air, rubbing alcohol, and a new toothbrush/Q-tip/cotton swab to wipe them clean.
- Restart your iPhone and try again. Follow the steps under the first headline (“soft reset”) in our guide to reset iPhone. If you have regular backups, you might as well perform a hard reset, too.
- For wireless charging, the connection might be weak or non-existent. Remove a smartphone case, it might be obstructing the connection between two coils.
2. The charging cable for the iPhone is damaged
The cable can easily get bent or broken, especially if used extensively over a long period. Inspect the cable visually, and look for weird bending angles or tears in the cable shield. Sometimes you’ll even see the exposed wires in the cable. This is surprisingly common, and a result of poor build quality. Take a close look at both ends e.g. where the cable and the USB/USB-C and Lighting port meet. This is a weak point, and most likely where the problem will occur first.
3. Your power adapter, cable, or wireless charger is old, or isn’t Apple certified
Even if original and using identical connectors, the old charger might not be as powerful. Also, the iPhone power adapter, wireless charger, or cable might be counterfeit.
How to know if I can use an older original Apple charger?
Models of the Apple iPhone released before 2019 use a 5 W power adapter. Apple iPhone 11 and later models ship with an 18 W power adapter. See the problem?
How to know if my charging equipment is original?
Are your Apple charging connectors or cable counterfeit? Well, did you get a “This accessory isn’t supported or certified by Apple” error when plugged? It wasn’t the one Apple sells, then. So, if you bought your iPhone second-hand, the person gave you a third-party charger. This can also happen if you ordered one online, thinking it was original or a superior option. Apple takes this seriously and shows how to recognize uncertified/counterfeit Lightning connectors and cables. There are pictures for direct comparison, too.
4. Your source device is in sleep mode
This is only relevant if you’re using a USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, or USB-C port on a device to charge your iPhone. Charging problems with iPhone arise when such device is in a low-powered mode and thus can’t supply enough power. This can apply to computers (Windows, Mac, Linux), as well as TVs, digital TV receivers, smart TV boxes, docking stations, power banks, etc. Also, never use USB ports on devices where USB is only used for interconnecting, such as those on keyboards.
5. Your iPhone isn’t using an up-to-date iOS version
This shouldn’t surprise you. After all, Apple admitted they degrade the performance of older Apple iPhones in software to prolong battery lifespan. This scandal, known as “Batterygate” in the media, forced them to release software updates to remove this debilitation. Even though it might not be your case, using the last version of iOS can ensure the iPhone charging problem isn’t software-related.
6. Your battery might be faulty or old
If the software didn’t interfere, your battery could have reached the end of its days. Use Apple’s own Battery Health feature (Tap on Settings > Battery) while charging and monitor the activity. There are also third-party apps that measure amperage and voltage in real-time. Unfortunately, Apple makes it extremely hard to replace the battery on your own. For that reason, you’ll either have to take it to the Apple Store for repair or find a qualified third-party repair service.
7. Did you spill something on it?
We know that Apple iPhone 7 and later models being waterproof and splashproof causes people to relax. But a drop of liquid reaching the charging port can cause a short circuit, thus killing the connector(s). The solution to liquid damage is the same as above if the port on the iPhone is the problem. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy a new power adapter and/or cable.
8. Did you jailbreak your iPhone?
We wrote about 9 reasons to jailbreak iPhone. We didn’t say it was without risks, and that Apple doesn’t fight it. For example, some apps disable the unsupported accessory error popup but don’t affect Apple’s kernel that prevents you from charging the iPhone. Also, Apple’s Smart Battery Case can detect a jailbreak and forbid iPhone charging immediately.