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Why Is My Phone Not Charging? Android & iPhone Guide

a phone plugged into a wall outlet

When you plug your phone into a wall outlet or charger, you expect the battery to charge in no time. But what if that doesn’t happen, and you return to find that your phone’s battery level hasn’t changed at all or, even worse, has gone down?

Your first response might be to panic and assume that your phone is broken. If that’s the case, not to worry. You can use Navi’s free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder to help you find the best deals on the latest phones from top carriers based on your criteria. But before you start thinking about buying a new phone or repair costs, read on for the many reasons you might be experiencing phone charging issues and how to solve them.

Why Is My Phone Not Charging?

Your phone might not be charging for a variety of reasons, some of which relate to your phone’s hardware, software, or even model type. Fortunately, most of these problems are easy to diagnose and fix.

Here’s a look at some common issues that can hinder your phone’s battery charging from easiest to most complicated.

Your Charger Could Be Broken

Ready for one of the simplest fixes we can suggest? Here goes–just try a different charger! Sometimes, the problem isn’t with your phone or your battery but with the charger instead. Chargers can break down if the cables get kinked, if water damage occurs, or if the metal prongs attached to the charging block get bent—those fork-like things that plug into a power outlet or USB port.

If your phone charges with another charger, odds are that the cable or charging device simply needs to be fixed or replaced. Simply go online to retailers like Amazon or Best Buy, or head into your local electronics store to find a new charger. Also, it's always a good idea to have a backup charger, especially while traveling.

Your Outlet Could Be Broken

Here’s another easy fix that might have nothing to do with your phone battery at all. Try a different outlet. If your phone charges right up, the only problem you have to solve is what’s wrong with your outlet. But we’ll leave the power source troubleshooting to the electricians.

Your Phone Might Have a Glitch

Continuing with the it’s not your battery theme, your phone may not be charging simply because it’s glitching out. From time to time, phone operating systems and CPUs can have glitches, causing them not to operate properly.

The best way to tell whether your phone has a glitch is to reboot it

How To Fix: Rebooting Your iPhone

You’ll follow different steps depending on which iPhone model you own.

  • For iPhone 8 or later: Press and release the Volume Up button quickly. Do the same with the Volume Down button. Then, press the Side button and hold it until you see the Apple logo.
  • For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Press both the Side (or Top) and the Volume Down buttons. Hold until you see the Apple logo.
  • For iPhone 6s or earlier: Press and hold both the Home and the Top (or Side) buttons until you see the Apple logo.

How To Fix: Rebooting Your Android

These instructions work for most Android models.

  • Press and hold the power button on your Android phone until the menu appears.
  • Tap the Restart or Reboot option. Some devices may require you to press and hold the Power button again to complete the restart.
  • If the above options are not available, you may need to press and hold the Power button for about 10 to 20 seconds to force a restart.

Then, see if it charges as usual once you plug it into a USB cable or other cable. If it does, problem solved! That said, if your phone repeatedly glitches, and restarting it is the only way to get it to work, you might need to replace it. Over time, these glitches or hardware flaws can become worse, leading to even more glitches and eventual total phone failure.

Other signs of glitching include Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity issues and your phone powering off randomly.

Your Phone Screen Could be Broken

Now that you’ve ruled out your charger, outlet and glitches, there’s another possible culprit to consider. The problem could be with your phone screen, not your battery. If your phone screen is black and you can’t see or operate the controls, the screen may need to be replaced, or it may not be turning on for one reason or another.

To determine if it’s your phone’s screen that is causing your problems, try rebooting it by following the instructions above. If the problem persists, take it to a service center.

Your Phone Battery Could be Damaged

Alternatively, the problem could indeed be with your phone’s battery. All batteries eventually lose their ability to hold a charge after extensive use, though many batteries will last for several years before reaching this point.

If your phone charges for a little while, then quickly loses battery afterward, odds are you need a new battery. One way to assess this is to check your battery health.

How To Fix: Check Your iPhone Battery Health

Follow these steps to check your iPhone battery’s status.

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Scroll down and select Battery.
  • Tap on Battery Health. Here, you’ll see two important metrics: Maximum Capacity and Peak Performance Capability.
  • Maximum Capacity shows the battery’s capacity relative to when it was new. A lower percentage means your battery has degraded and might not last as long on a charge.
  • Peak Performance Capability indicates whether your iPhone can still operate at peak performance or if a degraded battery is slowing it down.

How To Fix: Check Your Android Battery Health

Unfortunately, Android phones don’t have universal way to check your battery health.

  • If you have a Google Pixel, you can access a battery health feature in the hidden Developer Options menu. To access this, go to Settings, then About Phone. Tap on Build Number seven times to unlock Developer Options. Once Developer Options are unlocked, you can go to Settings again. Then tap System, then Advanced, then Developer Options. Scroll down to find Battery Health.
  • For other Android phones, you might have to rely on third-party apps. Download a trusted, well-reviewed battery health monitoring app from the Google Play Store. After downloading, open the app and follow the instructions. Some apps measure your battery’s health by observing its charging and discharging patterns. Give it a few days to gather enough data for a reliable reading.

If your battery health is poor, you have a decision to make: replace your battery or your phone. You can usually get a replacement battery for under $100 at retail locations like the Apple Store or online at retailers like Amazon or Best Buy. The entire process should take less than a half hour, similar to swapping out an old watch battery for a new one. Understanding what your phone is worth can help you decide whether or not to spend money on a new battery. That’s where Navi can help. Use our Phone Deal Finder below to see the trade-in value of your current phone and the latest deals you’re eligible for in a matter of seconds.

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The Charging Port Could Be Blocked

If everything seems to be in order with your battery health, the problem could be with the charging port for your phone (unless, of course, you use a wireless charger). Over time, it’s completely normal for the port to become clogged with dirt, debris, and pocket lint.

To see if you can spot any debris that may be getting in the way of your charger, take a magnifying glass to your phone's charging port. If you see debris, cleaning the port may be an easy fix. While you’ll find many DIY suggestions online like using tweezers or a toothpick or even taking some canned or compressed air and spraying it inside, we prefer to err on the safe side and leave port cleaning to the professionals. It’s quick and easy, and should only take a few minutes in the hands of a representative at your local wireless or phone provider. Cleaning your port may not only get your phone charging again, it may make your phone charge faster than before as a bonus! Of course, you won’t have this issue if your phone can manage wireless charging.

Your Phone May Have a Virus

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting tips in this article and your iPhone or Android phone still isn’t charging properly, it might be due to a more deceptive culprit: a virus or malware.

Malware and viruses, which Android phones are more susceptible to than iPhones, can cause your phone to lose battery charge over time by hijacking its CPU, sending out signals to hackers, stealthily collecting your data, and draining your battery life. All of this can also gradually degrade your phone’s battery capacity over time, causing it to no longer hold a charge like it once did.

In the worst possible cases, repeated malware infections can destroy your phone’s ability to recharge, even when it is nearly empty. A virus also further risks your data and social life, so it’s a good idea to get rid of it as soon as possible.

If you suspect you have a virus or malware on your phone, the best thing to do is download antivirus software or an app on your device. An antivirus app can scan your phone and, hopefully, diagnose and help you eliminate the problem.

The Bottom Line 

In the end, your phone might simply be too damaged or too old to reliably hold a charge. If that’s the case, our unbiased Phone Deal Finder is yours to use for free. It’s the easiest way to find and compare the best phone deals from top carriers based on your needs. Whether you’re an iPhone or Android fan, you’ll find the latest offers available in no time with Navi.

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