Now that (almost) everyone has a thousand-dollar phone in their pocket, the ability to diagnose and troubleshoot common technical issues is essential. While I have nothing but love for Apple’s Genius Bar, it still isn’t my favorite way to spend a couple hours.
One common issue that affects Android and iPhones alike is a charging port that has stopped working.
Generally, this is easy to diagnose — because your phone simply won’t charge. However, actually fixing the problem may be a bit tougher.
On the other hand, there is a quick and easy fix that most people haven’t ever thought of. So before thinking that your charging port is broken, or that the port needs to be replaced, keep reading!
Charging Port Not Working: Quick Considerations
First, you need to accurately diagnose why your charging port isn’t working.
- Before trying anything else, switch your charger to a different outlet. Sometimes the only issue is that your outlet isn’t working, or a breaker needs to be flipped.
- Next, try swapping out your charging cable and the wall charger (“power brick”) to make sure that the issue is your port rather than simply an issue with the charger.
Once you are certain that the charging port isn’t working, you can proceed to troubleshooting the port.
- The most likely cause of charging port failure is debris buildup inside the port.
- When cleaning the charging port, there are some key points to keep in mind — and some things to avoid doing that could easily damage your phone
- In a worst case scenario, the actual charging port may be damaged beyond repair. In this case, a professional repair is recommended. It is difficult, but not impossible, to replace a charging port yourself.
How to Fix a Charging Port on a Phone That is Not Working
As mentioned above, you should check for easy, charger-related fixes before proceeding with troubleshooting.
Damaged Charging Cable
Charging cables can easily become damaged over time. This is especially likely with low-quality, non-authorized charging cables (like the kind you buy at a truck stop, rather than an Apple store).
To check whether your charging cable is defective, simply swap out the cable.
Damaged Wall Adapter
Whether you call it a wall charger, wall adapter, or power brick, you probably know what I am talking about. This is the small box that connects the charger to a power outlet.
The easiest way to check whether your wall charger is damaged is to unplug your charging cable and then plug it into a different wall charger. If you don’t have another compatible wall charger, try plugging it into a computer port and seeing if the cable is now drawing power.
Buildup in Charging Port
*Most of the time, when people think their phone has a broken charging port, it actually just needs to be cleaned. Before assuming that your phone has a serious issue, be sure to consider this point.
When cleaning a charging port, there are some key “Do’s” and “Don’ts.” It is easy to cause an electrical short, damage the pins in the charging port, or destroy your phone’s microphone if you clean the port improperly. So don’t skip ahead just yet!
- The easiest way to keep debris out of your phone’s charging port is to use a plug when the phone isn’t being charged. For less than ten bucks, you can get a set of “dust plugs” that will prevent dirt, dust, lint, and debris from ever entering your phone’s charging port. They even throw in a cleaning brush, too! However, it is probably too late for this, so let’s carry on.
- As an alternative to dust plugs, you can also chop the cord off of an old charger and simply leave the charger’s plug in your cell phone’s port. The downside is that the plug may protrude from the phone slightly, but the upside is you won’t have to spend any money since most of us have an old charger sitting around the house.
- Another good preventative method is to purchase a magnetic charging cable. This way, you can leave the plug in your phone 24/7 (which keeps debris out), and then just connect the charger when you need to power up. The downsides here are that the charger will take longer to charge, and you can’t find official, authorized versions of these chargers from reputable manufacturers.
As mentioned previously, it is easy to damage your phone by cleaning the port improperly. Thankfully, for less than $10 you can get a kit that has every phone cleaning device you could ever imagine.
These kits contain tweezers, toothpicks, and brushes of various sizes and firmness. This way you can be sure that you minimize the risk of damaging your device.
But even if you don’t want to buy a product (and wait for it to ship), there are still workarounds.
First, attempt to clean the port with a non-metallic object that isn’t sharp or abrasive. A toothpick or toothbrush is a good place to start. If you use a toothpick, be careful not to apply too much pressure. A paper towel can also work if you roll it into a point.
Next, if the first tip didn’t work, try using compressed air to clean the port. However, this can damage a phone’s microphone, which is often located right next to the charging port. So, be sure to cover the microphone opening when using compressed air.
Last, if the above didn’t resolve the issue, you may want to consider using a sharper, firmer item to clean the port. Although we don’t recommend using metal, since it can damage the port or cause a short, tweezers can be effective if used properly. Before trying any of this, it may be wise to take your phone to a repairperson.
This is less likely, but still sometimes occurs. If you have worked through every previous step in the guide, it may be time to consider a reset of your phone.
Before doing so, spend some time researching device-specific troubleshooting for your exact model of phone. It is possible that other users have found ways of fixing the software issues without a hard reset and loss of saved data.
Bent, Damaged, or Defective Charging Port
In the vast majority of cases, the above steps will be sufficient to get your phone working. But for the unlucky few that didn’t have any luck, it is now time to consider the possibility of a damaged charging port.
Although modern charging ports are more reliable than those on older devices, charging ports can still become damaged. After all, these are thin pieces of metal that are engaged day after day.
Depending on your level of DIY skills (and your willingness to spend time on the project), you might be able to replace the charging port on your phone. Keep in mind that this requires finding replacement parts and will also void the warranty. And before doing anything, be sure to watch videos that are specific to the model of phone that you have.
For the average user, though, this is the time to call a professional. They will be able to help you diagnose the issue, and also recommend whether or not it makes sense to repair the charging port. In some instances, it may be more feasible to simply purchase a new phone.
Don’t despair just because your phone’s charging port isn’t working. More often than not, the fix is simple and inexpensive.
Start by checking your cable and wall adapter.
If this doesn’t fix the issue, then spend some time carefully cleaning the charging port. Most users are shocked to find how much debris was hiding inside the port — but also pleasantly surprised that the device works perfectly after a good cleaning!