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7 Reasons Your iPhone Isn‘t Charging (and How to Fix Them)

Over 14 years and dozens of models since its debut, the iPhone has become deeply ingrained into our daily lives. As one of the most ubiquitous pieces of personal technology today, we‘ve come to depend on our iPhones for everything from communication to entertainment, banking to navigation, and more.

So when your iPhone suddenly stops charging, it can quickly go from minor annoyance to major crisis.

As an long-time iPhone user myself, I know the frustration firsthand. Over the years, I‘ve dealt with my fair share of charging issues across various iPhone models.

The good news is, most charging problems have relatively simple solutions. So before you panic or head to the Apple store, try some basic troubleshooting. Understanding common reasons your iPhone won‘t charge is the first step towards diagnosing and resolving the issue yourself.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll cover:

  • A brief history of iPhone charging
  • 7+ common reasons your iPhone won‘t charge
  • Step-by-step troubleshooting and fixes for each issue
  • Preventative measures to avoid future charging problems
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about iPhone charging

Let‘s dive in!

A Brief History of iPhone Charging

As iPhone technology has progressed over the years, so too has the iPhone charging system.

The first iPhone in 2007 featured a 30-pin dock connector port. This charging interface remained largely unchanged through 2012 and the iPhone 5 model.

However, user demands for faster charging combined with design priorities around slimness led Apple to debut its new 8-pin "Lightning" connector with the iPhone 5 in September 2012.

This Lightning port delivered faster charging capabilities while taking up less space. And it has endured as the iPhone‘s charging interface for all subsequent models to-date.

There is speculation that 2023 could finally usher in a switch to USB-C. But for now, that familiar Lightning port remains the iPhone‘s sole wired charging inlet outside of wireless charging.

Okay, now that we‘ve covered a brief background, let‘s explore why your iPhone might not be charging properly.

7 Common Reasons Your iPhone Won‘t Charge

There are several potential points of failure that could prevent your iPhone from charging. Here are 7 of the most common culprits:

1. Loose or faulty cable connection

This is one of the simplest explanations for an iPhone that won‘t charge.

If your charging cable is not fully inserted into the Lightning port or connected firmly into the wall adapter, your iPhone may not establish a solid enough electrical connection to charge.

The fix: Unplug your charging cable, blow into both ends to dislodge any debris, then reconnect everything securely.

Give the cable a gentle wiggle at both connection points to confirm it is firmly attached and charging as expected.

2. Dirty, clogged, or damaged charging port

The iPhone‘s Lightning port is exposed and subjected to an assortment of debris on a daily basis.

Dust, lint, crumbs – you name it. Over time, built-up gunk inside the port can obstruct some of the electrical contact pins and prevent your iPhone from charging properly.

In some cases, the charging port itself sustains physical damage from moisture, drops, bent pins, etc. This can also interfere with proper charging functionality.

The fix: Use a toothpick, soft-bristled brush, or compressed air to gently clean inside the Lightning port. Be extremely careful not to damage the fragile pins.

Pay special attention to the deeper recessed areas where compacted debris often hides. Reconnect your charging cable afterward and see if charging performance improves.

If cleaning the port fails to resolve the issue, the charging port itself may need repair or replacement. Schedule a service appointment at your local Apple store.

3. Frayed, broken, or faulty charging cable

The Lightning cable takes a lot of wear and tear. Its thin design makes it prone to fraying and broken circuitry over months of twisting, bending, and tension.

Damaged cables are unpredictable. A frayed cable might charge intermittently or stop working altogether.

The fix: Carefully inspect your Lightning cable for any visible cracks or damage. Watch for separated or exposed wiring, bent connectors, deteriorated insulation, kinks, splits or tears.

If you spot any such damage, replace the faulty cable immediately. Use only Apple MFi-certified Lightning cables designed specifically for iPhone charging.

4. Wall adapter or power source issue

Sometimes the issue stems from the iPhone‘s power source rather than the device itself.

For example, using an underpowered or non-sanctioned wall adapter can prevent proper charging. The same goes for damaged power strips, loose wall outlets, and disconnected or sleeping laptops.

The fix: Try using the original wall adapter that came with your iPhone, plugging directly into a wall outlet rather than power strip, and connecting to an active, non-sleeping computer.

If your iPhone suddenly begins charging normally, you‘ve identified the culprit as the power accessories rather than the device itself.

5. Software glitches

Although rare, bugs or glitches in the iPhone operating system can also interfere with charging capabilities. Outdated software in particular poses higher risks.

The iOS includes diagnostic checks for unstable power conditions to protect system integrity. But software bugs can sometimes provide false readings or trigger emergency protections unnecessarily.

The fix: Install all available iOS updates immediately. Also try rebooting your iPhone to clear any temporary software snags.

If issues persist across rebooting and software updates, they likely originate from a hardware rather than software cause.

6. Hardware failure

With an intricate mix of complex circuitry and delicate electronics concentrated into iPhone’s compact form factor, device hardware naturally sustains wear over time.

After years of daily recharges, built-in battery health diagnostics may determine the iPhone‘s battery can no longer hold sufficient charge and requires replacement.

Other internal hardware components tied to charging functions can also degrade and fail after prolonged use. If you’ve ruled out all other troubleshooting, hardware failure likely plays a role.

The fix: Schedule a Genius Bar appointment at your local Apple store. Trained iPhone technicians have the proper tools and expertise to diagnose hardware-specific issues and recommend appropriate service options.

For batteries that fail to hold an adequate charge, Apple offers discounted battery replacements to restore charging performance and extend iPhone lifespan.

7. Incompatible or uncertified accessories

Apple tightly controls its proprietary Lightning connectors. As such, using unsupported or knock-off accessories can impact charging capabilities.

Counterfeit cables, charging docks, battery cases and even wall adapters lack crucial iPhone-specific voltage regulations and power delivery mechanisms. These can confuse iPhone charging systems and trigger safety alerts preventing charging entirely in some instances.

The fix: Use only Apple MFi-certified Lightning cables, wall adapters and wireless chargers designed specifically for iPhone models. Also avoid cheap, off-brand battery cases which often lack proper power input protections.

If unsupported accessories trigger errors about fraudulent cables or accessories, disconnect immediately and replace them with Apple-certified options designed explicitly for iPhone charging.

Okay, now that we’ve covered the major culprits, let’s talk fixes.

Fixing iPhone Charging Problems

Armed with an understanding of common charging issues, you can methodically troubleshoot and resolve many problems yourself.

Here is an step-by-step overview of remedies to try:

1. Hard reset your iPhone

As silly as it sounds, sometimes restarting your iPhone or forcing a hard reset can clear up temporary software quirks stalling charging.

How to hard reset:

  • iPhone 8 or later – Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Do the same for the Volume Down button. Finally, press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo on the restart screen.
  • iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus – Press and hold the Volume Down button and Power button simultaneously until you see the Apple logo on the restart screen.
  • iPhone 6S or earlier – Press and hold both the Home button and Power button together until the Apple logo appears on the restart screen.

This refreshing process only takes a minute and can flush out software bugs and force your iPhone to re-establish charging connections properly.

2. Try a different charging cable

If resetting your iPhone fails to resolve charging issues, the next quickest fix is trying a different charging cable.

Preferably, borrow a friend‘s Apple MFi-certified Lightning cable to test charging with your iPhone.

If the new cable successfully charges your phone, the issue lies with your existing cable rather than the iPhone itself. Pick up a fresh Apple-certified replacement cable to get your iPhone charging again.

3. Switch charging power source

Similarly, try connecting your iPhone‘s charging cable and wall adapter into another power source entirely.

Rather than your usual wall outlet or computer port, test charging from a different wall jack, a friend‘s computer, a power pack, or car charger.

If your iPhone suddenly begins charging from the alternate source, the original outlet, computer port, or their accompanying power accessories bear responsibility for the issues as opposed to the iPhone or charging cable themselves.

4. Update iOS software

As referenced earlier, iOS software bugs can interfere with charging even when hardware functions properly.

Revisit iPhone settings to download and install the latest iOS software update released by Apple.

Major iOS updates in particular overhaul underlying processes in ways that can resolve prior charging problems.

5. Reset iPhone settings to default

If you can’t resolve ongoing charging issues through simpler troubleshooting, try wiping your iPhone and restoring factory settings as a last resort.

Backup iPhone data beforehand! Resetting permanently erases all contents from the device.

To complete a factory reset:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select General, then Transfer or Reset iPhone
  3. Tap Erase All Content and Settings
  4. Enter passcode if prompted and confirm reset
  5. Wait for iPhone to reboot to setup screen

This will wipe your iPhone back to a blank state as if straight from the Apple factory.

If charging issues persist even with a blank device state, hardware faults almost certainly factor into the problems. Seek professional service.

Okay, let‘s shift gears and talk prevention.

Preventing iPhone Charging Problems

An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure when it comes to maintaining your iPhone‘s charging capabilities.

Here are 5 simple habits to help avoid charging headaches:

1. Handle cables with care

Lightning cables fray and crack over time. But you can greatly extend their lifespan by handling them gently.

Be extremely careful when plugging and unplugging cables, avoiding sharp bends or kinks in the cord, and storing cables neatly to limit wear.

Invest a few extra dollars for braided cable sheathing or spring supports to reinforce vulnerable connection points prone to most damage.

2. Keep the Lightning port clear

Make it routine habit to peer into your iPhone‘s charging port in search of compacted lint or debris around the delicate pins whenever you plug in your phone.

Better yet, use a flashlight to illuminate the port and retrieve stubborn material packed deep inside with soft picks or canned air.

3. Only use MFi-certified accessories

Stick to quality, Apple-authorized charging components like cables and adapters designed specifically for iPhone. Look for the MFi-certification logo.

While knock-offs work temporarily, unreliable power delivery can overload sensitive components or degrade your iPhone‘s battery over time.

4. Install iOS updates promptly

Never snooze notifications for major iOS updates. Download and install them as soon as possible.

Key under-the-hood improvements accompany each new software version. Patching known glitches prevents potential charging problems.

5. Avoid temperature extremes

Don‘t charge iPhone in excessively cold or hot areas. Temperature impacts battery charge acceptance and accelerate chemical aging when devices heat up.

Ideally, only charge indoors between 32° – 95° Fahrenheit. Never leave an iPhone baking inside a parked car in direct sunlight.

Okay, let‘s wrap things up with some common questions.

iPhone Charging FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about iPhone charging issues:

Why does my iPhone charge to 80 percent then stop?

Apple batteries use advanced power preservation techniques. Your iPhone may deliberately cease charging at 80% when possible as prolonged 100% charges strain maximum battery capacity over time.

Fret not. This intentional behavior promotes long-term battery health rather than indicating any flaws.

Why won‘t my iPhone charge past a certain percentage?

If your iPhone stubbornly halts charging below 80%, troubleshoot the common issues covered in this guide.


Describe issues to Apple support if you can’t resolve stuck charging after troubleshooting.

Can I charge my iPhone after it powers down from low battery?

You cannot boot an iPhone with battery completely drained. But leave it plugged into a reliable power source for around half an hour before attempting to turn on.

This gives the emptied battery sufficient minimum charge to reboot your iPhone so it resume resume charging as expected.

How do I know if my iPhone is charging properly?

Watch for the lightning bolt icon inside the iPhone‘s battery symbol at the top of the screen. This confirms active charging.

Also note charging speed. iPhones charge rather quickly when functioning optimally and connected to higher-wattage adapters.

Sluggish charging often indicates issues with components impacting power delivery.

What’s the best way to charge my iPhone?

For balanced battery longevity, charge to ~80% capacity using the original Apple wall adapter and cable when possible. Minimize cycles charging to 100% which strains battery over time.

Avoid wireless charging which generates more heat and allows more battery degradation than Lightning cables.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully this guide has helped explain the most common reasons your iPhone won’t charge properly. More importantly, you now have actionable troubleshooting tips and preventative measures to keep your iPhone charging smoothly for years to come.

No smartphone owner ever expects to wake up to a dead iPhone that refuses to charge. But a bit of charging port maintenance, handling cables with care, and staying current with iOS can go a long way towards avoiding headaches.

Here’s to many more years of reliable iPhone charging ahead! Let me know if you have any other topics you’d find useful for me to cover related to iPhone ownership.