How to fix an iPhone that won't charge: 11 options

8 min read

Don’t panic if your iPhone won’t charge. Sometimes, you can get your iPhone to charge again with simple hacks. In this guide, I’m sharing tips I’ve tried or find useful.

I’ll start with a quick overview. For more details, scroll down.

Trouble spotsRepair recipes
Physical damage (burnt spots or acrid smell present)Cease charging, send for repair.
Faulty cable or adapterTest with another charger; replace if faulty.
Dirt in charging portClean with alcohol-dipped cotton swab.
App conflictsRestart or hard reset iPhone.
Outdated iOSUpdate iOS to latest version. Monitor iPhone’s charging status from Mac with Batteries.
Overheated iPhoneCool down to ambient temperature.
Using iPhone while chargingStop usage during charging.
Wireless charging not workingUse Qi-certified charger. Try AirBuddy to check your iPhone’s battery level on Mac.
iPhone only charges up to 80>#/p###Disable Optimized Battery Charging. Quickly access battery settings with Launcher.
Liquid damageLet dry, avoid charging until dry.
“Accessory not supported” errorClean port; ensure accessories are compatible.

Why is my iPhone not charging or charging slowly?

The problem can be due to several reasons.

  • Dirt clogging the charging port
  • Faulty cable, adapter, or the iPhone’s charging circuit.
  • Outdated iOS
  • An overheated iPhone
  • Liquid damage shorting some of the internal circuits

You can’t be completely sure of what causes your iPhone to stop charging. Not unless you get it inspected by qualified technicians. Then again, you don’t need a thorough investigation to attempt the solutions below. 


How to fix iPhone charging problems 

If your iPhone will not charge, try these methods. 

1. Look for signs of physical damage

If you notice burnt spots or an acrid smell emanating from your iPhone, power it off immediately. Don’t try charging it. Otherwise, you might cause irreparable damage. Rather, it’s better to send your iPhone to the nearest Apple Support center. There is nothing you can do if the phone’s hardware has failed. 

2. Check the adapter and charging cable

If you use a generic adapter, there’s a risk that it will fail after several charges. Even if you’re using an original adapter, you can’t rule out such possibilities. But how to check if the adapter is functional? 

Remove the charging cable from the adapter and plug it into a charging source that’s working. Still not charging? Maybe the charging cable is the culprit. 

Personally, I’ve broken the joint between the cable and the connector internally. Blame it on for being rough when unplugging the cable. So, you’ll want to make sure you didn’t unknowingly damaged the cable. 

3. Check the charging port

The next thing to check is the charging port itself if your iPhone is not charging when plugged in. 

  1. Go to a brightly lit area. Take a peek inside the charging port. 
  2. Check for dust, grime, or dirt covering the charging pins.
  3. Then, dab a cotton swab with alcohol and gently clean the port.

Try charging your iPhone again. 

4. Restart your iPhone

Your iPhone might refuse to charge because of some app conflicts. If that’s the case, resetting the device gets it back will resolve the issue. To do that, 

  1. Press and hold the power and volume buttons. Release when you see the “Slide to Power Off” prompt. 
  2. Turn off your phone by swiping the slider to the left. 
  3. Wait for several seconds.
  4. Press the power button to turn on your iPhone again.

Sometimes, this simple fix is all you need. 

5. Perform a hard reset 

A hard reset is different from merely turning the iPhone on and off again. It restarts the phone’s processor and may solve minor issues like slow or failed charging. Like restarting your iPhone, you need to go through a series of steps for a hard reset. 

Try these if you’re using an iPhone 8 or later model.

  1. Press the iPhone's volume up button and quickly release it.
  2. Repeat for the volume down button.
  3. Press and hold the power button until you see the Apple logo.
  4. Release the power button. 

Plug in the charger and see if your iPhone charges. 

If you’re using an older version of the iPhone, the steps for resetting the device slightly vary. Check out this guide for that. 

6. Update iOS

Sometimes, an outdated iOS is the reason your iPhone stops charging. Installing new apps that are incompatible with the existing iOS may disrupt the phone’s charging function. To prevent such possibilities, update the iOS.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone. 
  2. Tap General > Software Update. 
  3. Turn on Automatic Updates if it’s not. 
  4. Then, ensure that Download iOS Updates and Install iOS Updates are enabled.

Your iPhone will now download and install any pending updates. Once completed, restart the phone and see if it’s charging. If you’ve installed the Batteries app on your Mac, you’ll know straight away. Batteries let you monitor all connected Apple devices and display their charging status from your Mac’s menu.

Batteries charge level monitor

7. Ensure your iPhone is not overheating or frozen.

Electronics behave erratically when they operate in extreme temperatures. That’s what I learned as an electronics engineer. So, if your iPhone is overheating or you’re using the phone in extreme winter, the charging module might fail. But fear not. The problem is seldom permanent. You can try placing your iPhone in ambient temperature (32º–95º F ) and waiting for a while. As its temperature returns to normal, which it should, your phone can be charged again. However, if your iPhone remains overheated, there is likely a much more serious problem, such as a short circuit. If that’s the case, I suggest sending your iPhone for repair.

8. Don’t use your iPhone while charging

The reason behind this tip is simple. If you use your phone while charging, most of the electric current is channeled to support the additional resources. So,  your iPhone’s battery will charge more slowly and might also overheat, especially if you run processor-intensive apps like MMORPG games.

9. Try charging wirelessly

If your iPhone is plugged in but not charging, you can try charging it wirelessly. This only works for iPhone 8 and later. And you need a Qi-certified charger from Apple. To charge your iPhone wirelessly, follow these steps.

  1. Connect the wireless charger to a power socket.
  2. Place your iPhone on top of the charger with the screen facing up.
  3. Power up the wireless charger.

You’ll know if your phone is charging from the lighting sign on the battery icon. Alternatively, use AirBuddy to check your iPhone’s battery level. The app displays your iPhone’s battery status, along with other wireless devices, with a simple click from your Mac. 

check iPhone’s battery level with AirBuddy

10. Turn off the Optimized Battery Charging feature 

Another problem that puzzles Apple users is when the iPhone only charges up to 80%. Thankfully, this isn’t a hardware issue. 

Rather, it’s a feature you’ll find in your phone for prolonging the battery’s lifespan. Technically, if you keep charging a phone’s battery to the max, its lifespan decreases quicker, and Apple wants to prevent that. 

However, you might need a fully charged iPhone at times. Let’s say you want to spend the next day hiking. A 100% charged battery gives you an additional several hours of usage, which feels like an eternity in the wild. I personally prefer that, because of the longer hours of usage. But that’s not possible unless you turn off the iPhone’s Optimized Battery Charging mode.

Here’s how on an iPhone 15.

  1. Go to Settings > Battery.
  2. Tap Battery Health & Charging > Charging Optimisation.
  3. Choose None in the option.

If you use an iPhone 14 or an older model, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings > Battery. 
  2. Tap Battery Health & Charging.
  3. Toggle off Optimised Battery Charging.

Now, your iPhone will charge to 100%. Remember to revert back to optimized charging later to prolong your battery’s life. If you find accessing the battery settings repeatedly cumbersome, try Launcher.

With Launcher, you can add Settings as a widget shortcut on your iPhone’s Lock Screen, Home Screen, and Today View. 

  1. Download and open the Launcher app.
  2. Choose the type of widget and tap Add New. 
  3. Key in and save the widget name.
  4. Tap App Launcher.
  5. From the app list, scroll and select Settings.
  6. Exit Launcher.

Now, you can easily access Settings and set the Optimized Battery Charging mode. 

Launcher iPhone widgets

11. Be careful of liquid damage

Sometimes, an iPhone won’t charge because of liquid damage. Once, I dropped mine into the pool, but I quickly fished it out. I was thankful that my phone survived, but some functions, including charging, failed for several days. If you face similar situations, the best thing to do is to let your iPhone dry out. Turn it off so your phone doesn’t face other damage, and shake off any liquid that may be trapped internally. Wait for 1–2 days and power it up again. Then, try charging it. If your iPhone doesn’t suffer any permanent damage, it should charge as usual. 

My iPhone won’t charge: Summarizing the options  

Unless you’ve severely damaged your iPhone, you should be able to charge it with one of the methods I share. Often, the cause is trivial, such as a broken cable or failed adapter. You can use Batteries, AirBuddy, and Launcher to speed up your efforts in getting your iPhone’s charging function working again. Batteries and AirBuddy let you monitor your iPhone’s battery status on your Mac. Meanwhile, Launcher lets you place shortcuts to Settings so you can easily configure how your iPhone optimizes battery charging. 

All the apps I mentioned are available on Setapp. You can try them, along with dozens of productivity apps for macOS and iOS, for 7 days without cost. 

FAQ

How to know if my iPhone charging port is broken?

It might be damaged if it’s still not working after you’ve replaced the charging cable and adapter. Other signs are overheating inconsistent charging, and broken pins. 

Why is my iPhone not charging when plugged in?

Hardware damage, app glitches, and broken adapter are some reasons that your iPhone won’t charge. To rule out some of the causes, you can try charging your iPhone wirelessly. 

Why my iPhone does not fully charge overnight?

With the Optimized Battery Charging feature turned on, your iPhone will only charge to 80%. Another possibility is that your phone’s internal charging circuit or battery has failed. 

What does "Emergency Override" mean?

Emergency Override lets you continue charging your iPhone despite the risks of liquid damage. Your iPhone might temporarily cut off the charging connection when it detects the presence of liquid at the charging port. But you to resume charging by selecting Emergency Override. 

How to fix "Accessory not supported or certified" error on iPhone?

You get the error for several reasons, including a dirty charging port or damaged adapter. To fix,

  1. Replace the charging cable.
  2. Clean the charging port.
  3. Use an Apple charger. 
  4. Update iOS and restart your iPhone. 

If these don’t work, reach out to Apple Support.

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