There are various reasons why your phone won’t charge, and pretty much all of them are easy to address. From changing a faulty cable to installing a software update, this article will run through them all. It will help you pinpoint just why exactly your phone won’t charge as it should, and it will explain clearly just what you have to do to get it working properly again.
This guide will cover both Android and iOS devices, so Google, Samsung and Apple fans alike can find the solution to their phone charging problems. Also, it will conclude by explaining what you can do to avoid issues with smartphone charging in the future. That way you can concentrate on using your mobile for what it was intended: taking photos of your cat.
Before we look at particular solutions for Android and iOS below, here’s a quick rundown of possible steps you can try now. They’re classified in order of complexity.
Try switching your phone on and off. This can clear anything in its cache that may be interfering with its charging.
Check that your charger is plugged in correctly. This means checking that the charger has been inserted properly into your phone and into a power/mains outlet.
If your iPhone won’t charge, it’s usually for one of three basic reasons. Either the charging cable or plug is faulty, the charging port is dirty, or there’s a software issue. That said, iPhone charging problems can also stem from other causes, which we’re going to address now.
According to Apple, your iPhone won’t charge past 80% if it’s either too hot or too cold. This is intended to preserve the lifespan of its battery.
As such, if you notice that your iPhone isn’t charging properly, try cooling it down or warming it up, depending on your situation. If the phone is too hot, avoid using it for at least several minutes, so that it has a chance to cool down (this includes disconnecting it from a charger). Likewise, move inside or to a warmer room if the phone is too cold.
In certain cases, using a charger that isn’t Apple-certified can cause an alert to appear on your iPhone’s screen, saying something along the lines of “This accessory may not be supported” or “Accessory Not Supported.”
Accordingly, such charging problems can be dealt with by using only official Apple chargers where possible, or at least chargers that have clearly been labeled as ‘Apple-certified.’
That said, you may also see the “Accessory Not Supported” alert in the event of your iPhone’s charging port being dirty or damaged. In this case, debris prevents your iPhone from correctly recognizing a charger and charging accordingly. We have a section on how to clean your phone’s charging port below, but you can also take it to a service center.
If your iPhone still won’t charge, performing a force restart can help. This is because it clears the device’s short-term memory of anything that may be interfering with its charging process.
On an iPhone 8 or later (including the iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation), you can perform a force restart by doing the following: press and quickly release the Volume Up Button. Press and quickly release the Volume Down Button. Press and hold the Side Button, until the Apple logo appears.
On the iPhone 7 (and 7 Plus), here’s how you can force restart your device: simultaneously press and hold the Side Button and the Volume Down Button until you see the Apple logo.
And on iPhone 6s or earlier (including 1st-generation iPhone SEs), you can do a force restart by: simultaneously pressing and holding the Side/Top Button and the Home Button until you see the Apple logo.
Another thing to try when your iPhone won’t charge is to update its software. This means installing a new version of iOS, if one is available.
You can check to see whether an update is available for your phone by going to Settings -> General -> Software Update. An update will appear here if one is available, and you can install it by tapping Download and Install.
Short of taking your iPhone to an Apple Store or service center, one last thing you can try is a DFU restore. This stands for Device Firmware Upgrade, something which can be used to solve bugs or problems if nothing else has worked. It reinstalls the iPhone’s firmware, which controls the device's hardware.
While DFU restores may help when your phone won’t charge, it’s important to remember that they erase all data on your iPhone. Because of this, you really should have an up-to-date backup of your device before proceeding. You’ll also need an updated Mac, or a Windows PC with the latest version of iTunes running on it.
If you have an iPhone 8 or more recent model, here’s what you do:
Again, you really should backup your iPhone before attempting a DFU restore. Otherwise you will lose all your data.
For Android phones that won’t charge, it will also be because of such reasons as faulty cables, dirty or damaged charging ports, or software bugs. However, there are a number of problems and solutions that apply specifically to Android, as detailed blow.
When your Android phone isn’t charging, you can try putting it in Safe Mode and attempting to charge it from there. Because Safe Mode boots up a stripped-down version of the phone’s OS -- with only the first-party apps it came with -- it can tell you whether a charging problem might be caused by a third-party application you’ve downloaded.
To enter Safe Mode on the majority Android devices, hold the Power Button until the Power Off screen appears. Then hold the Power Off Button, until you see the window asking you whether you’d like to reboot in Safe Mode. Tap Safe Mode or OK, depending on your phone.
Once in Safe Mode, plug in your phone charger. If your device begins charging again, this indicates that a third-party app is interfering with charging. This means you need to exit Safe Mode (by restarting the device) and uninstall your recently downloaded apps one-by-one until charging works again.
Ampere is an Android app that detects whether your phone is charging or not. It’s useful in situations where your device may actually be charging, but the phone itself doesn’t show the usual charging icon. Conversely, it’s also useful in rare cases where your phone shows the charging icon, but no actual charging is taking place.
Once you download Ampere from the Google Play Store, connect your phone to a charger and launch the app. It will detect whether your phone is drawing a current, with its readings turning green if the device is charging. If the numbers are orange, this means your phone isn’t charging.
In such cases, some kind of software issue may be preventing your Android phone from charging. You will need to update your core software if an Android update is available, or update (or potentially delete) your apps.
As with iPhones, rebooting your Android and/or updating can be a quick and easy fix for cases where your phone won’t charge. This is because bugs or glitches can interfere with charging.
On most Androids, you can reboot your phone by holding the Power Button and tapping Power Off on the menu that appears. Then hold the Power Button again until your Android restarts.
As for updating, you can do this by going to Settings -> System -> System Update. A new version of Android will appear if one is available, so tap Download and Install.
If you restart or update and still your phone won’t charge, you can try performing a Factory Reset. As with the iPhone, it’s important to perform a backup (via your computer) before doing this, since it will delete your data.
On the majority of Androids, you can perform a Factory Reset by going to Settings -> System -> Reset Options (or General Management) -> Erase All Data. Certain Androids may have differently worded options from this, but they all generally follow the same path.
If you’ve tried the steps above and still your phone doesn’t charge, it may be that you need to clean its charging port. As we’ve said before, it can be safer to take your phone to a service center to do this. However, if you’re confident enough, you can try to clean it yourself, using one of various methods.
Important: do not blow into the port. Your breath can contain moisture, which could make the problem worse. Also, do not use alcohol or isopropyl, for similar reasons.
Again, if you’ve tried everything covered in this article and your phone won’t charge, it may be time to take it to a suitable service center. For iPhones, this means going to an Apple Store, whereas for Androids you should look for a qualified device repair shop. Also, if your device is within warranty and it won’t charge, you should return it to the retailer you bought it from and ask for a replacement.
However, with most phone charging problems, it shouldn’t be necessary to take your device for servicing. By replacing chargers and cables, by restarting your phone and performing software updates, or by carefully cleaning the charging port, you should be able to get your device charging again.
Author: Simon Chandler
Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London, UK. He covers technology and finance, contributing to such titles as Forbes, Business Insider, InsideBitcoins, Digital Trends, Cryptonews.com, and CryptoVantage. He has also contributed to Wired, TechCrunch, TechRadar, the Daily Dot, the Verge, Cointelegraph, CCN.com, the New Internationalist, Bandcamp, the Sun, and numerous others.
He specializes in mobile technology covering smartphones, tablets, wearables, and games. Beyond consumer gadgets, his main interest is in how tech is changing the way we live and who we are, for better and for worse.
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