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10 min read 282 comments

How to fix a phone that won't charge properly

If your battery isn't charging properly, don't immediately assume your phone charger or your battery is broken. Based on personal experience, the problem—and solution—may be much simpler than you think. If your phone or tablet isn't charging properly or at all, take a look at these 12 ways to fix a phone that won't charge. 

Why a phone doesn't charge

The problem occurs in various degrees. Either your phone won't charge at all when it is plugged in, or it will only charge very slowly (sometimes barely faster than it is discharging). It’s a very common complaint, so here are a few solutions. 

androidpit samsung fast charger note 5
Most charging problems are related to your USB cable or charger, or even the port itself. / © AndroidPIT

1. Do-It-Yourself USB port fix

The quickest, easiest, and often most successful solution, is to do a little DIY repair on your actual hardware. The problem is often that the metallic surfaces inside the USB port and the microUSB charger are not making good contact, either through a manufacturing defect or because of the continual plugging and unplugging of the charging cable. 

All you need to do is shut down your device, remove the battery if possible and use something small, such as a toothpick, to 'lever up' the little tab inside the USB port on your smartphone or tablet. Do so very carefully and gently, then reinsert your battery and plug it in again. Nine times out of ten this is all that is required.

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Check the 'tab' inside your device's USB port – the cable may not be making contact properly. / © AndroidPIT

2.  Remove lint, candy and dust

Do you keep your phone in the pocket of your jeans? If so, lint could be the culprit: we've lost track of the number of times the reason for unreliable USB charging turned out to be lint from the pocket of our Levis.

We've seen phones with charging ports choked with chocolate after they were chucked in a handbag alongside a packet of sweets. A can of compressed air can blow out the offending irritants and get your USB connection back to normal. 

AndroidPIT LG G3 8
Clear any gunk that might be clogging your phone's ports. / © AndroidPIT

3. Switch cables

The flimsiest part of a charger is the cable, not the adapter that plugs into the wall socket. Apple users are particularly vulnerable here because Apple's proprietary (and expensive) Lightning cables appear to have a life expectancy of around 15 minutes. But all cables have a tough life, and endless flexing and curling can take its toll. Substituting a random USB cable for the one that came with your phone is another shortcut to an unenjoyable charging experience.

The easiest way to diagnose a faulty cable is to try a different one and see if that works properly with your device. If it does, you know the original cable was at fault. If it doesn't, that's another potential villain we've ruled out.

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Cables are easily damaged. Apple Lightning ones especially so. / © AndroidPIT

4. Diagnose a dodgy adapter

If the cable doesn't seem to be the problem, check the wall plug adapter – especially if it's one where the charging cable can be removed. We've encountered issues in multiple chargers where the USB port becomes a little loose after endlessly plugging in and unplugging the cable.

Also check whether the same charger/cable combination works on a different device because this will help you eliminate the possibility that it is your device at fault, rather than the cable or charger. You should also make sure there isn't a problem with your wall socket.

5. Remember – safety first

Don't charge your phone near water or in excessively hot or humid conditions. Also, if you're replacing a charger or cable, be wary: the internet is stuffed with reports of cheap third-party chargers that went bang in the middle of the night or turned smartphones into toast. As with any electrical equipment, make sure that anything you buy complies with all the relevant safety standards. 

To give you an idea of how much energy is stored in your battery, check this video out (but don't try it at home).

A previous version of this article warned users of charging devices overnight, but I want to clarify that this is not because you can overcharge your device. Modern smartphones have measures in place to prevent damage when batteries continue to be charged at 100 percent capacity. 

That said, charging a battery does generate heat and, if a smartphone is in a tight space – like under a pillow or inside a case – there is a chance it could become too hot. Essentially, if you're going to charge your phone overnight, just make sure it's out in a safe place.  

6. Replace the battery

Batteries don't last forever, and after a couple of years they start to struggle to hold a charge. The more often you discharge and recharge them, the sooner they'll need replacing. If your battery's busted after just six months, it's probably faulty and you should make a warranty claim for a free replacement, but if the battery's older than two years, it's probably approaching the end of its lifespan.

Some defective batteries are easy to spot because they start to bulge or leak fluid. If nothing like that is obvious from the outside, remove your device's cover and inspect the battery (if you can; some devices have sealed battery compartments).

If the cover doesn't come off, you could try laying the device on its back and spinning it. A bulging battery will deform the case – you might not be able to see this bulge, but it might be enough to allow your phone to spin. If you suspect your battery might be swollen or leaking, get your phone to a repair shop and buy a reputable replacement.

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If you are going to replace your battery, try to purchase an official one. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. Charge from the right source

Charging from a wall socket will always be faster than charging via PC or laptop, because computers' USB ports don't deliver very much power.

A wall socket can deliver twice as much power as a USB port, and fast chargers it can deliver as much as five times the power – which means much, much faster charging. So if your phone is charging slowly and you're connected to a laptop: there's your problem. 

If your wall charger doesn't appear to be delivering the goods, check that it's appropriate for your device. A charger from another phone might not deliver the right amount of juice — for example, a charger for a Bluetooth headset won't put out as much power as one designed specifically for smartphones.

In the case of recent high-end phones, you might have a phone that supports fast charging but a charger that doesn't deliver it. Read the fine-print.

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Your desktop or laptop can't charge your Android as fast as a wall socket. / © AndroidPIT

8. Update or roll back

Software updates and new Android versions can wreak havoc with your battery life, especially when upgrading an old device to current software. Newer devices are often optimized to take advantage of the latest software, whereas a two-year-old device can struggle when it gets updated.

If this happens to you and you can't troubleshoot the problem, consider rolling the device back to an earlier Android version, though be warned that this carries security risks. The latest software versions are always recommended to keep your device protected, and while the risk of keeping your smartphone on an older version is often negligible, it’s worth noting.

Similarly, sometimes device battery life can be significantly improved by an update, so if you think you might be way behind on your Android software version, head to Settings > About phone to check for an update.

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Keep your Android version up to date (or roll back to a previous version if really necessary). / © AndroidPIT

9. Switch it off

Using battery-intensive apps/features while you are charging your device will affect how quickly it gains battery life. If you are charging while Skyping somebody at 100 percent brightness, the device will naturally take longer to charge than it would with its screen, Wi-Fi and 4G turned off.

Switch the device to airplane mode, or off completely, when you are charging if you want to see the fastest energy injection. Think of it making your device take a power nap.

10. Calibrate your battery

Sometimes the battery level your device 'thinks' it's at is wrong. The effect of this is that your phone may function differently, including limiting performance before it needs to or taking an hour to chew through the last two percent of battery.

We’ve already written an extensive guide on how to calibrate your smartphone battery, so I won’t retype it all here, but this is a thing to try before completely ditching your defunct power pack.

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Battery calibration can be another effective means of fixing charge problems. / © AndroidPIT

11. Check your battery pack's voltage and amperage

This tip was pointed out in the comments below by Patrick and it can help you quickly identify a defective cable.

Download the free Amperage app from the link below and open it. Now, connect your charger and the interface should go green and the text at the top should say "measuring". If you don't see this, or nothing happens, it means there is no current going to your device. 

Ampere Install on Google Play

If it identifies a current, the app will now show the charging statistics for that charger, including the minimum and maximum load levels (in milliamps), voltage and maximum current. This is also a great way to find out which of your chargers is performing best.

Try connecting the different charge packs you own, including portable battery packs, to see which has the highest maximum charge value, or the highest average (the app makes it fairly easy to get an idea of this). It's not an exact measurement but it's an indication if nothing else and the app is completely free. 

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The number in the top middle represents the current charge speeds: the charger used in the left screenshot isn't going to charge a device as fast as the one used on the right. / © AndroidPIT

12. What about water damage?

A number of people in the comments asked about battery problems caused by water damage. If your phone fails to charge after falling in water you don't have many options: your best bet is to try and replace the battery – if that's even possible.

You should, however, try to prevent this from ever happening. Read our article explaining what to do when you drop your phone in water to find out the first steps you should take when trying to rescue it.  

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Dropped your phone in water? If the battery is removable, take it out immediately and pat it dry with a towel. / © AndroidPIT

If all else fails, double-check that you have the power point switched on. That is the first thing they will ask you if you call your manufacturer for help, which might need to be your next step if none of these solutions has worked for you.

Have you suffered from a smartphone that won't charge properly? Let us know if you've found a fix that we haven't mentioned here in the comments.



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  • Thanks for #11 re an app for testing chargers: like many I've got a collection of them from current and former devices as well as one in the car dash, and trying to assess device compatibility is a mug's game. (The app listed here doesn't work on the Android J tablet I still use in the car, and another one does.)

  • I just read some articles that putting your phone in rice is a myth and a bad idea, that it doesn't really do anything useful and that if the rice does absorb any of the moisture it can get sticky and gum up the phone's orifices. (Orifices? I guess....) Anyway, I hate the internet when it does this to me.

    • I had a successful rice immersion on a bricked MP3 player after caught running with it by a sudden thunderstorm - it took five days. Rice didn't get into the charger port or the 3.5mm headphone jack - just took longer than I'd expected. I wouldn't hesitate to try it on a soaked phone that is otherwise unusable.

      The other thing I've used successfully for decades with various electronics is electrical contact spray (non-lubricant, non-residue, $5 to $10 at hardware stores) that dries and cleans contacts - kept several aging VCR internals, control knobs and spilled-upon PC keyboards going with that.

  • I have a Senwa phone we bought and use in Mexico. After not used for one year it would not charge. I thought we might have to replace it. After manipulating the micro usb, it works perfectly,
    Thanks a bunch and Happy 2018.

  • didn worked for me i tried so many things changing USB cables my charger from my broken tablet its worked ftom my tablet charger but original charger nothing

    original charger : 1 hour = 3%
    my tablet charger : so fast

    i used my while charging :(

  • Worked instantly thanks for they great suggestion keep it up!!

  • Somewhat off topic, sorry. I noticed my Samsung SMG730V was running out of charge mid-day even if not being used (on, but not doing more than that). It was charging to 90% or so. I took it to a local Verizon store (franchise, not actually Verizon). The manager told me I needed a new phone, that this phone wasn't capable of handling all the new apps. But I didn't really have any new apps. I went home, thought a little bit, opened the unit, took out the battery, put the battery back in. I changed NOTHING. Didn't move or scrape contacts. Just took battery out, put it back in. Problem solved.

  • Sunil 5 months ago Link to comment

    One ore point I want to get clarify from you and if has solution to get solve problem, The problem is accidently charging cable unplugged from jack with jerk and my mobile starting slow charging, some time it even show 100℅ charged but actually its 27 or something like that. I observe this 2 time now. First time I didn't observe it because I was thinking its charger problem then I replace it with new jack, mobile was charging properly but now its happening again because cord unplugged by jerk again, can you tell what exactly happening when unplugged with jerk?

  • Am using Ampere, but my caring MA is 0, including Max and min
    please, am really so tired of how slow my phone is charging
    Any other solution to that?

  • Kitty S 6 months ago Link to comment

    last month when my phone had some problems and was not charging properly, i tried the #1 tip to fix the USB port and after that my phone started working normally. i did not have slow charging problems anymore. but last night, my phone had the same problem again and was charging very slowly so i thought i would try the same tip and it would charge. but it did not and when i switched off the phone and tried to charge it again, it wont show any signs of charging. the LED display, which normally shows the battery charge status after the phone is switched off and plugged in for charging, did not show anything. i tried everything like changing adapters, USB cable, charging points in my home, but nothing worked. i assume no current is passing through my phone. is this a battery problem? please help.

    • I had this problem with my Iphoneand a common solution onlline seemed to be use a warm hair dryer on the back of your device for a few seconds. Don't let it get too hot. After about 10-15 seconds the phone started charging nrmally. Hope this helps!

  • I have a Samsung Galaxy 4. I am able to charge the phone using the car plug-in but can't charge it in my home. I have tried 3 different chargers (including the one that came with the phone and a new generic one I just bought) and multiple outlets. Any thoughts?

  • I Am Using a coolpad note 3 for the past 1,5 years i didn't have any problem before but now my phone is not charging if i charge the other phone with the same charger then it will charge but i don't know why my phone is not charging, yeah sometimes if i poke it and reboot my phone then it will start charging but really slOw please help me out

  • My phone infocus m350 doesn't charge. It show that it connected to charge but battery doesn't charge and also sometimes it discharge while connected to charging. Plz help me

    • If your phone can handle a 2A input make sure the adapter can output that much. Whenever I use a 1A output adapter my phone does the same thing. Likewise, make sure the cable you're using rated for that much amperage.

  • My Samsung would not charge. After buying new battery and charger still no joy. I Googled for other possible solutions and came upon this page. Should have done it first as Tip No 1 has worked for me! Thank you.

  • James 8 months ago Link to comment

    For anyone who may not have a can of compressed air handy for method 2, a bike pump also works!

  • I apologize up front for how long this question is, but I want include everything I've tried up to this point. Up until 3 days ago my AT&T LG G3 was able to charge no problem, then for some reason it just stopped charging. I didn't download any new apps, I didn't update the phone, there were no changes to the software at all. I've always used the charger that came with the LG G3, but have used other chargers and USB cables before with the phone and have never had a problem. At first I thought the charger or USB cable was bad, but I tried tried using it with my LG tablet and it charged the tablet fine. I then tried using the tablet charger with the G3 phone and it wouldn't charge the phone either. About 2 days ago I found this article and first I removed the battery and checked the charging port and everything there looked OK. However, when I put the battery back in I just automatically plugged in the charger without thinking and without turning the phone on first and it began to charge. I thought somehow the problem had fixed itself, but when I turned the phone on it stopped charging again so for last 2 days every time I charged my phone I had to do it while it was powered off. Today I downloaded the Ampere app I saw in the article and when I ran the test it didn't matter if the charger was plugged in or not the results didn't change. The screen stayed red, the status was discharging, but the health was good, which assume refers to the battery health. The milliamps were also the same whether the charger was plugged in or not and ran from -10 mA to -4790 mA. After the test I left the charger plugged in and then turned the phone off and waiting until it showed it was charging. I then turned the phone back on with the charger still in and immediately opened the Ampere app and it had a green screen with a status of charging. The milliamps ranged from +10 mA to +4970 mA. I then went into the Battery and Power Savings settings and verified that the battery showed charging there also. However, when I checked the main screen the charging icon that's usually in the upper left corner wasn't showing that the battery was charging even though it was. I then unplugged the charger and then plugged it back in, but it didn't start charging again and showed that it wasn't charging in the Battery & Power setting and also in Ampere. If I turn the phone off and with the charger plugged in and then turn it back on it will charge until the charger is removed and then once removed it will not charge again unless I turn it off again. I also just checked now and instead of turning it off completely and can restart it instead and it will charge as long as the charger is plugged before the phone restarts. That's where I'm at and I have no idea what's going on unless something is resetting when the phone is turned off? Also as a side note, for about 3 months before this my battery has started to run down quicker than before, but when charges even now it will charge very quickly. At first I thought it was a battery issue, but now especially after Ampere showed the health as good I think it's a phone issue. I used to work for a wireless carrier and was there for about 8 years in customer service and sales and I have never seen this problem before so any help, guidance, or just the conformation that I should slam this phone against the wall and get different would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and sorry again that it's so long.

  • Thanks who made this tip it actually works on the step one now my phone is back to normal it fast charging now thx guys-sorry for bad english-now im not suffering on very slow charging ;)

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