Losing Power: What to Do When Your Phone Won’t Charge

Losing Power: What to Do When Your Phone Won’t Charge

Every year, Americans spend more than $3 billion to repair their smartphone screens.

If you’ve ever had a cracked screen, you know how frustrating it can be. Your phone may or may not still work.

Whether it does or not, you’re faced with the decision of whether you should spend hundreds of dollars to have it repaired by your smartphone manufacturer. Or savings hundreds, but potentially voiding your warranty by getting it replaced by a third party.

While cracked screens are annoying, at least in many cases your phone is still usable. But when it suddenly stops charging, you have a much bigger issue to worry about.

If you’ve suddenly found that your phone won’t charge, keep reading. We’re breaking down some of the most common reasons for a battery not charging or charging slowly, and what you can do to fix them. 

Check Your Charger

When you first find yourself asking, “why is my phone not charging,” odds are that your brain is going to jump straight to the worst explanation; that your phone is the issue, and that the problem is terminal.

But unless your smartphone is years old or damaged, this isn’t all that likely.

Consider how much care goes into inventing your smartphone. They’re obviously not indestructible. You probably know at least a few people living with cracked iPhone screens.

However, your smartphone was built with a lot more care than your charging cable.

Constant use, tugging it out of the wall or yanking it from your phone, stuffing it in your backpack, and dragging it around will eventually cause damage. And even if you are careful, they won’t last forever, especially if you buy a cheap replacement.

How to Fix the Problem

Before you go straight to panic mode, try a different charger. While you’re at it, try a different wall outlet as well, just in case. Once you’ve ruled out issues with your charger or outlets, you can start looking into other reasons you iPhone won’t charge.

Just because your charger is charging your phone doesn’t mean that it’s doing its job well. Some chargers, especially those that you buy from a third party, won’t charge your phone as quickly. This goes for both your charging cable and wall plug.

Switch to your original charger or another true iPhone one to see if that makes a difference in your charge time.

Try Plugging it into Charge

Of course, you’ve probably already tried this step. But you should still plug it in-not to charge it but to see if the charger still seems to fit into the micro USB port. 

Most of us charge our phone every day, or sometimes more than once. And unless you have one of the new wireless charging pads, you’re plugging and unplugging your charger several times a day.

Over time, the micro USB or USB-C port will break down or get dust and debris caught inside. This means that your charger will no longer fit correctly.

Sometimes this will prevent charging entirely. Other times it will just cause your phone to start and stop charging over and over again every time you bump your phone.

How to Fix the Problem

If the issue is with your phone’s micro USB port, don’t fret. While it may sound serious, this is often a quick and easy fix.

First, you’ll need to turn off your smartphone and remove the battery. Then, use a toothpick to remove any debris in the charging port. You may not be able to see the debris, but wiggling the toothpick around in there should dislodge anything caught in your charger’s path.

If debris is truly the cause of your problem, you’ll be able to feel the difference when you plug your charger back in. The fit will feel like new again!

If debris isn’t the culprit, your charging port could be damaged. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem you’ll be able to fix on your own.

Consider Your Case Choice

Did you recently get a new case, and suddenly your phone isn’t charging like it used to? That case could be to blame.

There’s a number of ways your case can make charging a challenge.

First, your case could be getting in the way of the charging port. This means that the charger will no longer fit correctly, keeping it from charging correctly.

If you use a wireless charger, your new case could be blocking the charge. It doesn’t have to block it entirely for there to be an issue. It could also slow your charge down, making it take far longer to charge your phone.

How to Fix the Problem

If your case is to blame, this is an easy fix; get a new case. 

Before you do, take off your case and try charging your phone to make sure that is truly the problem.

If you decide to shop for a new case, make sure you choose one that will protect your phone well. The last thing you want to do is fix your charging issue only to develop a crack or shatter.

Un-Plug While You Charge

Using your phone obviously drains the charge. But what you may not realize is that using it while it is charging may prevent it from charging as fast as it should be.

If you’ve always used your phone while it charges and only recently noticed a difference in your charging speed, an app could be to blame. Some apps drain more power than others. Games and video streaming apps are particularly draining on your battery.

How to Fix the Problem

To see if you are the one causing your lackluster charging, “un-plug” the next time you plug in your phone to charge.

Read a book, take a long walk, or otherwise get away from your phone and let it charge for a while. Then, check to see if it is back to charging like usual.

Other ways to make sure that your charging habits aren’t hurting your battery is to unplug once your phone hits 100 percent, charge your phone often, and make sure you’re charging it in a cool, shaded spot.

Ask Yourself if Your Phone Got Wet

Water is a constant threat to smartphones everywhere. From sudden downpours to spilled drinks to the toilet bowl looming below, there are plenty of opportunities for your phone to get wet.

And unless your smartphone is one of the few waterproof models out there, that water could spell disaster.

In fact, one study found that 40 percent of all iPhone failures are caused by water damage. In another study, nearly 30 percent of people polled said that they ruined their smartphone by spilling a drink on it, while another 20 percent said that dropping it into the toilet was to blame.

When your Android or iPhone won’t charge, first ask yourself whether your phone may have come into contact with water. Unlike dropping your phone and cracking your screen, water damage isn’t always immediately obvious.

Your phone also doesn’t have to go for a swim to sustain water damage. Moisture getting into your charging port can be just as bad as dropping your phone in a toilet.

How it happened doesn’t really matter. The method for trying to fix it remains the same.

How to Fix the Problem

The first thing you’ll probably want to do if you think your phone has water damage is to drop it in a bag of rice.

While this is the most popular method for reversing water damage, it can sometimes cause more damage than it ever fixes.

If the rice successfully absorbs the water from your phone, it’s also going to become soft and mushy. It can then get into your charging port or any cracks in your screen, causing more issues than you already had.

Check the Background

Just because using an app while your phone is charging isn’t the reason for your slow charge doesn’t mean an app isn’t to blame.

Even when you close an app, it may stay running the background on your phone. Some surf the web for new stories or the latest videos so that they can send you notifications. Others simply stay on in the background, draining your battery power without you even realizing it.

To prevent this, wrap your phone loosely in a paper towel before dropping it in the rice. Or better yet, use synthetic desiccants instead. You can buy these, or use the free little bags that come in shoe boxes and other products you already buy.

Not all water damage can be reversed with the rice or synthetic method.

Depending on the extent of the damage, the rice may be useless. If this is the case, you’re going to need to get professional help to see if the damage can be reversed or whether it may be terminal.

How to Fix the Problem

To fix this pesky problem, first, take note of how long it takes your phone to charge. Set a timer and see how long it takes for your phone to charge 5 or 1 percent.

Then, go into your iPhone settings and find the “App” menu. Make sure that there are no apps running in the background. Turn off any that are. Then, time your phone again and note the difference.

If you continuously notice your charging slowing as a result of an app, either keep turning it off or get rid of the app.

This issue is more common on Androids, but it can still affect iOS phones.

Restart Your Smartphone

Turning your phone off and back on sometimes gets a bad rep. But while this strategy certainly won’t solve every problem, it might just solve your charging issue.

If your phone is suddenly charging slowly or has stopped entirely, try restarting it. It could be that the software on your phone has crashed, causing all other functions to shut down.

How to Fix the Problem

Of course, this solution is pretty self-explanatory. But if restarting your phone doesn’t work, the next thing you can try is a soft reset or reboot.

This will protect your saved data, like photos and text messages, but clear any unnecessary processes that might be running in the background of your phone.

If your smartphone has been running slowly in addition to your charging problems, this solution might just solve both issues.

Run Your Updates

Those software updates that you’ve been putting off for weeks could be the reason you’re suddenly losing power.

These updates usually aren’t designed to modernize or even improve your smartphone. After all, Android and iPhone manufacturers want you to buy the latest models on the market, so updating your old phone with the newest and coolest software won’t make much sense.

Instead, updates are often designed to fix security and software bugs. If you have one waiting in your settings, it might be designed to fix the exact issue that is causing your slow charge.

How to Fix the Problem

Fixing this problem is easy. Simply go into your settings and run the updates. Make sure you get all of them.

Some smartphone manufacturers will separate updates into different segments. They’re only effective if you download all of them. If you want to avoid using up your precious mobile data, make sure to wait to run the update when you have access to WIFI.

Once the update is complete, restart your phone if it doesn’t do so on its own automatically.

Reverse Your Latest Update

We just told you that not running the latest updates on your smartphone could be to blame for your slow charge. So it sounds a bit contradictory to then say that you may need to roll back that update.

But if you recently ran an update and your phone started charging slowly after that, the update could be to blame.

This likely won’t be the case with newer phones. However, older models may not be equipped to handle the demands of a brand new update.

Even a new phone can suffer if there is a bug in the new update that prevents charging.

How to Fix the Problem

Luckily, fixing this problem is just as simple as the last solution.

Just reset the latest update. This will allow your phone to revert back to its previous state.

Check for a Virus

One issue that is tough to detect but that can lead to a quickly draining battery and a host of other problems is a virus.

They can come from apps, attachments, and more. When you get one, you might notice that you’re going through data faster than normal, your apps are crashing, and of course, your battery is draining.

How to Fix the Problem

Unless you’re a tech guru, getting rid of a virus on your own is going to be tough.

One way to fix it is to install a trusty antivirus app. If this still doesn’t work though, you’re going to need some professional tech help.

What to Do if Your Phone Won’t Charge Even After These Tricks

If you’ve tried the tricks on this list and your phone won’t charge still, it’s time to call in the pros.

Learn more about our cell phone repair services and costs and let us help you get your charge back fast!