It can be incredibly frustrating when your iPhone’s battery continues draining even while it’s plugged into a charger. But don’t worry – in most cases this issue can be fixed with a few troubleshooting steps. This article will explore the most common reasons an iPhone battery discharges while charging and provide solutions to get your phone charging correctly again.
Key Reasons an iPhone Battery Drains When Charging
|Faulty charging cable||Replace Lightning cable|
|Faulty charging brick||Replace wall adapter|
|Loose Lightning port||Clean Lightning port|
|Outdated software||Update to the latest iOS version|
|Charging interrupted||Use original Apple charging equipment|
|Battery needs replacement||Replace old battery|
|Too many apps open||Close background apps|
|Extreme temperatures||Move iPhone to moderate temperature|
Below we’ll look at each of these common causes in more detail and the best way to get your iPhone battery charging normally again.
Step 1: Check Your Charging Cable and Adapter
The most common reason an iPhone won’t charge properly is a problem with the charging cable or adapter brick. To rule out a faulty accessory:
- Inspect your Lightning cable for damage and try a different cable if available
- Test with multiple wall chargers, including the original Apple power adapter
- Try charging from a computer USB port instead of an outlet
- Ensure all connections are secure; loose cables can prevent charging
- Don’t use third-party low-quality cables as they often don’t provide enough power
If a brand new official Apple cable and adapter allows the iPhone to charge correctly, your original charging accessories were the issue.
Step 2: Clean out the iPhone’s Lightning Port
Dust, lint, and debris in the iPhone’s Lightning port can interfere with the charger making a solid connection to charge properly. Carefully clean out the port using:
- Compressed air: Use short blasts of compressed air to blow out stubborn particles
- Toothpick: Gently use a toothpick or SIM eject tool to scrape out the lint
- Alcohol swab: Wipe a cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol around the port to clean
Be very careful not to damage the delicate pins in the Lightning port while cleaning. Compressed air and alcohol wipes are safest.
Step 3: Update Your iPhone Software
An outdated version of iOS can sometimes prevent correct charging due to software bugs. Update your iPhone to the latest iOS version via Settings > General > Software Update.
Updating to the newest iOS not only fixes bugs that could disrupt charging but also improves battery optimization in general. Keeping your iPhone’s software current is good device maintenance.
Step 4: Try Restarting and Reseting Your iPhone
If cleaning the Lightning port and software updates didn’t help, try restarting your iPhone:
- For newer iPhones (XS/XR and above), press and hold the Side button and a volume button until the slider appears to power off.
- For older iPhones (X/8 or earlier), hold the Side button until the slider appears to power off.
Restarting your iPhone essentially resets the charging process and can correct software glitches stalling battery charging.
You can also reset your iPhone to factory default settings via Settings > General > Reset to rule out any problematic settings causing charging issues. Backup your data first before resetting.
Step 5: Replace an Old or Worn Out Battery
If your iPhone’s battery is significantly degraded due to age and heavy use, it may no longer be able to hold a full charge even while plugged in.
You can check your battery’s maximum capacity in Settings > Battery > Battery Health. Apple recommends replacing batteries that are below 80% of their original capacity for optimal performance.
Replacing an old battery at an Apple Store or authorized service center can help it charge like new again. iPhones also throttle charging speeds for old batteries to prevent damage.
Step 6: Avoid Charging in Extreme Hot or Cold Temps
Exposing your iPhone to very high or very low temperatures while charging can disrupt the charging process.
Avoid charging in these conditions:
- Direct sunlight or inside hot vehicles
- Next to heat sources like furnace vents or fireplaces
- Freezers, fridges, or other extremely cold environments
The iPhone’s lithium-ion battery charges best between 50-95°F ambient temperatures. Charge in moderate conditions to prevent issues.
Step 7: Close Background Apps and Turn Off Features
If your iPhone charges normally some of the time but loses charge rapidly other times, the cause may be power-hungry apps running in the background or features enabled that tax the battery.
Try the following adjustments:
- Force close recently opened apps via the App Switcher to prevent background drain
- Disable unneeded background app refresh and automatic downloads
- Turn off Location Services when not in use
- Disable wireless connections like WiFi and Bluetooth when not needed
- Reduce screen brightness and turn off Auto-Brightness
- Turn off keyboard clicks and haptic vibration feedback
Reducing power usage this way prevents the battery from discharging faster than the charger can replenish it.
When to Take Your iPhone to the Genius Bar
If you’ve tried all the steps above and your iPhone still exhibits rapid battery drain when plugged in, the issue likely requires professional service or a battery replacement:
- Take your iPhone to an Apple store and explain the charging issue. The Genius Bar can run diagnostics to pinpoint hardware faults disrupting charging.
- In some cases, a more involved electrical issue may be preventing the battery from receiving charge from the Lightning cable. Apple can determine if other component repairs are needed.
- For batteries that won’t hold any charge at all, Apple may recommend a replacement battery to restore normal charging functionality. Old batteries sometimes cannot charge reliably.
Apple Geniuses have specialized tools and expertise to identify tough charging issues. They can advise if a hardware repair or battery replacement is required to get your iPhone charging properly again.
Preventing Future Charging Problems
Once you’ve solved your iPhone’s charging issues, keeping battery charging working smoothly in the future involves good maintenance habits:
- Don’t leave your iPhone charging overnight after reaching 100%. This contributes to battery degradation over time.
- Avoid using third-party low-quality Lightning cables. Use Apple MFi-certified cables and power adapters for reliable charging.
- Disable battery-intensive features like always-on display when not needed to reduce charging load.
- Keep your iPhone away from heat, direct sunlight and cold to avoid temperature extremes.
- Update to the latest iOS version promptly to benefit from charging optimizations in new releases.
- Consider replacing batteries older than 3 years to maintain charging performance.
With proper care and maintenance, your iPhone’s battery can reliably deliver full charging capacity when you need it. Follow these best practices to maximize battery health.
An iPhone that can’t hold a charge even while plugged in can certainly be frustrating. But in most cases this issue can be resolved with some basic troubleshooting and maintenance. By methodically checking for faults with cables, adapters, debris in the Lightning port, software updates needed, battery age and environmental conditions, you can get your iPhone battery taking a full charge once again.