Our phones have taken a ubiquitous place in our daily lives, as they help us communicate with each other, work, get around, entertain ourselves, and more. While most of the best Android phones offer a respectable battery life, they must be charged to work correctly. Running into charging problems can easily ruin your day, as your smartphone would quickly run out of power.
There are a bunch of hacks you can try to fix charging issues and potentially power up your phone even if your device has a physical problem.
Check the power source
Whether you use an iPhone or Android device, the most apparent solution is to check that power is delivered to the phone. This goes beyond plugging something into a wall outlet to make sure it works, as the issue might be trickier. Here’s how to properly troubleshoot the issue:
Check the charger. While unlikely, some adapters may not deliver enough energy to power your phone. Typically, a phone requires at least 5 watts to charge, so anything below that may not be enough to fill it up. Checking the output wattage is easy: It is written on the charger, or the output is expressed in volts and amperes. To calculate the wattage, multiply the voltage by the amperage. For instance, if the adapter reads Output: 5V⎓1.5A, the charger can deliver 7.5W. If the number is higher than 5, your adapter should be capable of powering up your device.
If the charger’s specs seem compatible, make sure it doesn’t have multiple ports. If it does, you may need to try a different one or unplug another device from it to have enough energy flowing to your phone. Also, unless you use an ultra-fast charger, it may take a while for your phone to start charging if its battery is completely depleted.
If your phone still does not charge, the charging issue could be caused by a defective charger. An easy way to check if the issue comes from the adapter is to plug the charging cable into a USB port, such as on a computer or a TV. If the phone starts charging, you’ll have to use a different wall adapter, but the good news is you can rely on another USB port in the meantime.
If the above tips do not solve the problem, the issue could be caused by the charging cable. Use another USB cable to see if it fixes the issue. This may be trickier with USB-C cables, as most devices work using USB-C PD (Power Delivery). Your device and the wall adapter must be compatible with PD to negotiate the best charging settings. This process is called a “handshake,” and a faulty or incompatible cable or adapter can lead to charging issues. Similarly, Apple devices may not work with third-party Lightning cables, so try an original one to see if it solves the issue.
Another way to troubleshoot charging problems is to swap all charging equipment with another piece, one by one. This means trying a different cable, charger, and phone until you identify the culprit. If the issue isn’t coming from the adapter or charging cable, it is probably linked to your cellphone.
If you plug in your phone and it starts charging and then stops, the issue is probably caused by a faulty cable or adapter, so you may want to try different ones.
Reboot or reset your phone
If trying a different outlet, charger, and USB cable does not solve the problem, the issue is most likely related to your device. As mentioned above, using your charging cable and adapter with another phone is the easiest way. If the latter charges, you need to fiddle with your device. The problem may be software-related, so let’s check a couple of ways to fix this:
Power off your phone and plug in the charger to see if the phone battery charges.
If you see the battery charging while the device is off, but it stops when your turn it on, restart it in safe mode to rule out any apps that might be causing the issue. This is usually done by simultaneously pressing the power button and the volume up or volume down button.
If safe mode seems to solve the problem, you may need to perform a software update or identify the app causing the issue and uninstall it. Otherwise, do a hard reset of your device. To do this, back up your data and perform a factory reset.
Clean the connector
If none of these options fix the charging issue, there is most likely a problem with your phone’s charging port. A physical problem on your phone’s connector may not be a big deal, and there are some DIY hacks you can try to fix it:
Your phone might refuse to charge because of a lint, dust, or dirt buildup. Or the charging port might be moist. Gently clean the port with a soft brush, toothpick, or compressed air. If you notice water droplets inside the connector, gently press a cotton swab to absorb the excess water.
Gently tap the USB port while holding your phone vertically to release any buildup from the connector.
Repair your phone
If none of these hacks work for you, your device’s USB port or internal circuits or boards may be damaged or malfunctioning. Depending on your phone’s brand, use a DIY repair solution to replace it or take it back to the reseller or Apple Store if it is under warranty. In the meantime, use wireless charging as an alternative, which can power up your phone without needing a USB port.