What to do when your Lightning cable won't charge your iPhone or iPad

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 34
    urahara said:
    1st step. Try charging another device with the same cable. 
    If it doesn’t charge,
    2nd step. Try a new cable. 
    Had an elderly neighbor whose iPhone would not charge. New cable no help. Finally, she admitted that she spilled water on the phone and as she read somewhere, she should put it in dry rice for 24+ hours. Afterwards, the phone worked but could not  be charged. She called me. I found that neither old nor new cable would completely plug in. Using a magnifying glass and a round toothpick I discovered a piece of rice in the lighting port. Extracted it and it now works fine. Lesson: if the cable will not click in place something is in there. As usual, people never seem to be able to fess up to the history causing the problems.
  • Reply 22 of 34
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 228member
    urahara said:
    1st step. Try charging another device with the same cable. 
    If it doesn’t charge,
    2nd step. Try a new cable. 
    This week I had a lightning cable which wasn’t charging an iPad. 
    The cable had carbon corrosion on the connector.
    I used a clean pencil eraser to reduce the carbon, the cable now works. 
    (I also used a can of compressed air to blow any debris out of the port.)

    https://lifehacks.stackexchange.com/questions/11738/removing-corrosion-on-the-contacts-of-an-apple-usb-to-lightning-cable

  • Reply 23 of 34
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,079member
    urahara said:
    1st step. Try charging another device with the same cable. 
    If it doesn’t charge,
    2nd step. Try a new cable. 
    Had an elderly neighbor whose iPhone would not charge. New cable no help. Finally, she admitted that she spilled water on the phone and as she read somewhere, she should put it in dry rice for 24+ hours. Afterwards, the phone worked but could not  be charged. She called me. I found that neither old nor new cable would completely plug in. Using a magnifying glass and a round toothpick I discovered a piece of rice in the lighting port. Extracted it and it now works fine. Lesson: if the cable will not click in place something is in there. As usual, people never seem to be able to fess up to the history causing the problems.
    In a previous ai article I remember an Apple tech mentioning that rice in the charging port was a common problem they saw frequently and a good indicator of potential water damage.
  • Reply 24 of 34
    plovell said:
    A wooden toothpick is a good tool too. More effective than a Q-tip.
    I ‘sharpen’ a bamboo skewer (usually used for bbq) and use it. I ‘sharpen’ it with a kitchen knife first - I find that toothpicks and skewers are generally just a little too think to begin with.  I generally find the lint build up critical point is around 18-24 months, which is also about the point that I typically replace the phone and ‘gift’ it to someone else. 
  • Reply 25 of 34
    neilmneilm Posts: 546member
    Count me in on the wooden toothpick recommendation, with the added advantage that you can find one almost anywhere, even when traveling. I found it worked better than a plastic dental pick.

    The root cause seems to be that pocket lint migrates into the phone's Lightning socket. Then each time the cable connector is pushed in the lint gets compressed, attaining a felt-like consistency and eventually building up thickness to the point that the electrical connection fails. Just keep scraping away with the toothpick until no more felt comes out. You'll be surprised at how much felt/lint there is.

    Experience at the office suggests that this is not a gender neutral thing. Men tend to carry their phones in the pants pocket, females more often in purses, or just in their hands.
  • Reply 26 of 34
    Happened a few times to me; Apple Store said use toothpick. Has worked fine so far.
  • Reply 27 of 34
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 916member
    arthurba said:
    plovell said:
    A wooden toothpick is a good tool too. More effective than a Q-tip.
    I ‘sharpen’ a bamboo skewer (usually used for bbq) and use it. I ‘sharpen’ it with a kitchen knife first - I find that toothpicks and skewers are generally just a little too think to begin with.  I generally find the lint build up critical point is around 18-24 months, which is also about the point that I typically replace the phone and ‘gift’ it to someone else. 
    I wasn’t told be an Apple Genius to use a sharpened q tip. Same as skewers but no risk of conducting, personally doubt risk but still that what I wasn’t told. Very clear not to use compressed air and best to bring in for clean by expert if in doubt. 
    arthurba
  • Reply 28 of 34
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,242member
    MplsP said:
    plovell said:
    A wooden toothpick is a good tool too. More effective than a Q-tip.
    This has worked well for me many times.
    grifmx said:
    not a common problem? excuse me? unless you wear plastic clothes and live, work, and drive in a clean room and never venture outdoors
    Getting lint in there is common. It building up until it causes a cable connection problem is greatly less so.
    I have to disagree with you here - I've had to clean the lightning port on my 6s several times, as well as my wife's and my kids' and several coworkers, so by my experience it happens quire frequently. The lightning connecter is surprisingly finicky with this - anything that keeps it from seating completely, even a fraction of a mm, is enough to disrupt connection and charging. 
    Yours is anectdotal, even though it applies to all members of your family. The reason I point this out is that in 10 years of using an iPhone, without a case, sliding it into my pockets and clothes, I have never once had to clean out the Lightning connector as a result of it not charging. Not once.

    It would indeed be interesting to see the data on this to learn just how common the problem is, and why I would not have had the problem after 10 years, and all members of your family would have it routinely.
    s.metcalf
  • Reply 29 of 34
    I too have never had this problem, and I've had older phones before (a 5s that was over 2.5 years old, or old enough that the battery was failing) and I've never really heard of it being a problem either until this article.

    I wonder if in certain areas (countries/cities) or lifestyles this is more common.  I read once that the Chinese used to avoid using the home button because of the perceived potential for particles to get in it and break it, but I think that was more a suspicion and the real problem was a durability one with the home button.  I'm sure I suffered at least one faulty home button back in the iPhone 3G or 4 days.

    I don't know if it makes a difference, but I tend to put my iPhone in my pockets top down.  This makes it easier to position for use then grabbing the top half of the display and having to flip it.  Maybe the top down approach helps to reduce lint collection also.
    edited August 12
  • Reply 30 of 34
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,242member
    s.metcalf said:
    I too have never had this problem, and I've had older phones before (a 5s that was over 2.5 years old, or old enough that the battery was failing) and I've never really heard of it being a problem either until this article.

    I wonder if in certain areas (countries/cities) or lifestyles this is more common.  I read once that the Chinese used to avoid using the home button because of the perceived potential for particles to get in it and break it, but I think that was more a suspicion and the real problem was a durability one with the home button.  I'm sure I suffered at least one faulty home button back in the iPhone 3G or 4 days.

    I don't know if it makes a difference, but I tend to put my iPhone in my pockets top down.  This makes it easier to position for use then grabbing the top half of the display and having to flip it.  Maybe the top down approach helps to reduce lint collection also.
    My experience is virtually identical to yours. I did have a home button that failed on my iPhone 4, and I do insert my phones top down in my pockets, which I also do to better hear alerts with the speaker facing up.
  • Reply 31 of 34
    blah64blah64 Posts: 881member

    grifmx said:
    not a common problem? excuse me? unless you wear plastic clothes and live, work, and drive in a clean room and never venture outdoors
    Getting lint in there is common. It building up until it causes a cable connection problem is greatly less so.
    I have to disagree with you here - I've had to clean the lightning port on my 6s several times, as well as my wife's and my kids' and several coworkers, so by my experience it happens quire frequently. The lightning connecter is surprisingly finicky with this - anything that keeps it from seating completely, even a fraction of a mm, is enough to disrupt connection and charging. 
    Where on earth do you live, in a dust bowl with daily windstorms??

    As with S.metcalf and Mac_128, no one in my family has had a single issue with this over the past 8 or 9 years.  Immediate family alone includes 3 iPads, 4 iPodTouch, iPhone 4s, 5s, 6 (and other devices with open charging sockets).  Most in daily use except the oldest iPodTouch and the 4s.  Never A Single Issue.  And I've not heard from any friends with this issue either, though I'm curious enough about this that I'm going to start asking my friends and ask them to ask their families. 

    To me it feels like the difference between being careful with your stuff, and frankly not being careful with your stuff.  I've seen that in life in general with other people.  Just watch folks using their laptops in cafes and see how many eat over their keyboard, lol.  And it's not just tech hardware, it's appliances, power tools, lawn mowers, you name it.  People are careless.  Myself, I'm careful with my shit, as is my wife, and we've taught our kids to be the same way.  None of use walk around with our phones and iPodTouches sticking out of our back pants pockets (especially with the connector hole facing up), like so many people do.  That's stupid, and just asking for crap to fall in the hole, or to fall out and land on the sidewalk, cracking the screen.  Yeah, I've seen a lot of cracked screens.

    Perhaps I'm not being fair, and maybe my asking around will shed some light on this, we'll see. 

    The one thing I can think of that could be an "occupational hazard" is if someone works outside in a really dirty/dusty environment, like on a road repair crew.  That would be a situation where you're constantly exposed to lots of dirt in the air around you, and probably fills your pockets with dirt and crap that could get in your phone.  But if that's the case, people should take better precautions, and not stick their phones into a pocket that's likely filled with dust and dirt.

    What bothers me about your comment here is that you say it's happened to your own phone several times.  And to multiple multiple family members!  Didn't you think after it happened once that you should have figured out how to better protect your important and expensive devices?  Let me emphatically say that's it's NOT a problem with the design if you treat the devices with care, there's something else afoot.

    ps, it's not that I don't believe Mike that people are asking about this, I do.  It's just that with a huge readership, even if a small percentage of users run into a problem it will be on AI's radar.  In any case, I thought the article was worthwhile.  There are a LOT of careless people in this world, and who knows, maybe some day, some year, someone I know will have this problem.

    edited August 12
  • Reply 32 of 34
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,513member
    I had a similar problem on my iPad. I replaced the cable with a really good one from Monoprice.com and haven’t had problems since. 
  • Reply 33 of 34
    IreneWIreneW Posts: 112member
    urahara said:
    1st step. Try charging another device with the same cable. 
    If it doesn’t charge,
    2nd step. Try a new cable. 
    Had an elderly neighbor whose iPhone would not charge. New cable no help. Finally, she admitted that she spilled water on the phone and as she read somewhere, she should put it in dry rice for 24+ hours. Afterwards, the phone worked but could not  be charged. She called me. I found that neither old nor new cable would completely plug in. Using a magnifying glass and a round toothpick I discovered a piece of rice in the lighting port. Extracted it and it now works fine. Lesson: if the cable will not click in place something is in there. As usual, people never seem to be able to fess up to the history causing the problems.
    Be happy it wasn't mashed potatoes...
  • Reply 34 of 34
    blah64 said:

    grifmx said:
    not a common problem? excuse me? unless you wear plastic clothes and live, work, and drive in a clean room and never venture outdoors
    Getting lint in there is common. It building up until it causes a cable connection problem is greatly less so.
    I have to disagree with you here - I've had to clean the lightning port on my 6s several times, as well as my wife's and my kids' and several coworkers, so by my experience it happens quire frequently. The lightning connecter is surprisingly finicky with this - anything that keeps it from seating completely, even a fraction of a mm, is enough to disrupt connection and charging. 
    Where on earth do you live, in a dust bowl with daily windstorms??

    As with S.metcalf and Mac_128, no one in my family has had a single issue with this over the past 8 or 9 years.  Immediate family alone includes 3 iPads, 4 iPodTouch, iPhone 4s, 5s, 6 (and other devices with open charging sockets).  Most in daily use except the oldest iPodTouch and the 4s.  Never A Single Issue.  And I've not heard from any friends with this issue either, though I'm curious enough about this that I'm going to start asking my friends and ask them to ask their families. 

    To me it feels like the difference between being careful with your stuff, and frankly not being careful with your stuff.  I've seen that in life in general with other people.  Just watch folks using their laptops in cafes and see how many eat over their keyboard, lol.  And it's not just tech hardware, it's appliances, power tools, lawn mowers, you name it.  People are careless.  Myself, I'm careful with my shit, as is my wife, and we've taught our kids to be the same way.  None of use walk around with our phones and iPodTouches sticking out of our back pants pockets (especially with the connector hole facing up), like so many people do.  That's stupid, and just asking for crap to fall in the hole, or to fall out and land on the sidewalk, cracking the screen.  Yeah, I've seen a lot of cracked screens.

    Perhaps I'm not being fair, and maybe my asking around will shed some light on this, we'll see. 

    The one thing I can think of that could be an "occupational hazard" is if someone works outside in a really dirty/dusty environment, like on a road repair crew.  That would be a situation where you're constantly exposed to lots of dirt in the air around you, and probably fills your pockets with dirt and crap that could get in your phone.  But if that's the case, people should take better precautions, and not stick their phones into a pocket that's likely filled with dust and dirt.

    What bothers me about your comment here is that you say it's happened to your own phone several times.  And to multiple multiple family members!  Didn't you think after it happened once that you should have figured out how to better protect your important and expensive devices?  Let me emphatically say that's it's NOT a problem with the design if you treat the devices with care, there's something else afoot.

    ps, it's not that I don't believe Mike that people are asking about this, I do.  It's just that with a huge readership, even if a small percentage of users run into a problem it will be on AI's radar.  In any case, I thought the article was worthwhile.  There are a LOT of careless people in this world, and who knows, maybe some day, some year, someone I know will have this problem.

    Really? So I guess I don’t take care of my shit just because this has happened to me? Multiple times at that, and I’ve cleaned a couple of friends phones as well that I’ve pulled plugs of lint out. And a back history, I never ever use a case, phone is all that ever goes into my left pocket, and it goes in top down- every time. How is that different than other comments here, that haven’t had the issue where I have. And I can tell you the phone is all that’s ever put into that pocket. Now that’s not me saying it’s a design flaw of the phone by any means, I mean what’s it take, like 3 seconds to swipe the port? But, you basically came in belittling people because it hasn’t ever happened to you. I’m a nerd. The guy many friends and family call when they have issues with ANYTHING electronic. I take care of my shit too, but it’s something that can happen. Just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t give you the right to judge people that it has happened to. 
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