Phone not charging? Try This Simple And Cheap Trick First

phone does not charge

If you’ve had your phone for a while, a blocked charging port could be an issue.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There are many reasons why your iPhone or Android phone might no longer charge – from rusty charging ports to broken cables. But a common problem is simply that your charging port, whether it’s Lightning on the iPhone 13 or USB-C on phones like the Google Pixel 6 Pro, is clogged with dirt and the cable can’t fit properly.

Fortunately, this is one of the simplest and cheapest solutions to a charging problem. See how to fix it.

Why is my charging port blocked?

There are no covers on your phone’s charging port, which means they’re exposed to all the dust, dirt, and debris they come across. Every time you slip your phone into your pocket, your phone will be susceptible to pocket fluff and if, like me, you have pockets full of debris from accidentally washing your jeans with old receipts in your pockets, that’s asking for trouble. And that’s not to mention the cookie crumbs I have there. Don’t ask me why I have cookie crumbs in my pockets.

Day after day this won’t be a problem, but those little bits of dust and fluff will build up over the months or years you’ve had the phone, compacting each time you plug in the charging cable until it forms a solid barrier. that stops your charger from going all the way down and allows it to plug in and charge.


A wooden toothpick is a great tool for the job as the wood does not damage the inner parts.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you’ve had your phone for more than six months and you’re gradually finding that the charger is getting less and less stable (particularly if you need to fiddle with it to start charging), it’s highly likely that the dirt on your port is the culprit.

How to clean your phone’s charging port

It’s a simple task to unclog your phone port. You’ll need a cocktail stick, toothpick, or other thin item that you can stick into the port to scrape away dirt. Wood or plastic is best as they are less likely to scratch anything inside and potentially cause damage. I did this using a metal SIM removal tool, and while it worked fine, it’s not the safest option for your phone.

Insert your tool of choice into the charging port until it doesn’t go any further and starts scraping gently. With an iPhone’s Lightning port, you can scrape back and forth, but with USB-C, you’ll need to scrape off the charging connector, which is in the middle of the port.


Come in.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Eventually, you will begin to loosen the compacted debris and can encourage dislodged material out of the door. It’s a satisfying process and you might be surprised at how much stuff actually comes out. Gently work the sides of the port as well, but be careful not to scrape hard into any of the metal charging connectors.

Eventually, you’ll have pretty much all of it. It’s hard to check for sure if you got rid of everything as it’s hard to see inside the door even if you have good light on hand. But once you have a good amount of nonsense, you can try the charging cable again.


The satisfying removal of the nonsense from your phone’s charging port.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Hope it connects more securely now and starts charging. If not, keep trying to extract more dirt and test the charger again. If that still doesn’t fix the problem, it’s time to consider other solutions, like a new cable or charger.

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