Nothing is more troubling than an Android phone that won’t charge. And honestly, you wouldn’t bother to look online for a troubleshooting guide if the solution was obvious, would you?
The problem with most guides you find over the internet is that they are a bit haphazard in giving you solutions for your smartphone charging problems. And with the huge number of phone models nowadays, a solution that works for one phone might not do the trick for another. Therefore, we’re giving you a systematic approach to resolving a situation where your phone is not charging, and it’s not necessarily the battery that’s the culprit.
If you want to know more about the latest tips, tricks, and hacks for Android phones, check out our dedicated section for Android Tricks.
The System: Start Outside Your Phone and Work Your Way In
When your phone isn’t charging, there are a number of possible causes for this to happen. What we need is a systematic way of checking all the variables so that we can eliminate probable causes of the issue.
There are a number of elements in the process of charging your phone. Starting from the furthest away from your smartphone, they are listed here:
- The power source – where your device is getting the electricity to charge the battery
- The charger head unit – the part of your charger that plugs into the wall socket
- The charging cable – the USB cable you use for charging your phone
- Smartphone charging port – the port on our phone where you connect the charging cable
- The smartphone’s software – apps and updates that may affect the charging process of your phone
- The smartphone’s battery – the battery which holds an electrical charge to power your phone
This system is the best way to make sure that you will not miss an element in your troubleshooting when your phone is not charging. The trick is to check these elements one by one, starting from the furthest away from your smartphone.
So let’s get at it. These steps should be quick enough so that you’ll get to the cause of why your Android device is not charging properly in no time at all.
Method 1: Check Your Power Outlet
This should be quick enough check, as you need to make sure that the wall outlet or the power strip that you’re plugging your charger into is working as it should. Plugging in another electrical appliance on a particular wall socket or transferring from one socket of a power strip to another should do the job.
Special attention needs to be given when you’re plugging into a power source that is not directly a wall outlet. This could be a power strip, a USB charging hub, a charging dock, or a USB port on your laptop/desktop.
USB Charging Hub
These are those charging hubs with multiple USB ports that you can plug your devices into, and you usually use these so that you can charge your devices all in one place.
The problem with these how these hubs are built is that most of the time, the more devices you plug in, the less power they can provide per device. If your phone is not charging via your hub, you can check by plugging your phone’s official charger into a wall socket.
Charging via Laptop or Desktop
We’re sure most people already know that a laptop or desktop’s USB port will not provide as much power to your smartphone for charging as a charger plugged to a regular socket would.
However, some of you might not know that, so we’re mentioning it just the same. You might need to charge as much as two or three times as long if you’re using your laptop or desktop to charge your smartphone.
Method 2: Check Your Charger Head Unit
Unknown to most users is the fact that these charger heads go through a lot of stress – they are dropped, kicked while plugged in, pulled and pushed in different directions. These can cause the charger’s plug blades to get bent and they don’t have good contact with the wall socket.
If your charger’s plug blades are bent, you can gently coax them into the right shape using some pliers. Use a light touch when working on this, as you may break the charger altogether.
Check the port where the charging cable connects to the charger head
As you may have noticed, it is the parts that connect that usually cause problems in electrical connections. Your charging cable connects to the charger head in what usually in a USB-type connection.
Make sure that this connection is snug, and that the charging cable has good contact with the charger head. You can even clean out this port with a brush or a canister of compressed air if you notice some gunk inside the port.
You can try to swap charger heads to confirm that they’re working. If these processes still don’t fix the issue, swap your charger head with another that you know to be working. If your phone starts charging on a new charger head, then you know what’s wrong.
Method 3: Check Your Charging Cable
The charging cable is usually the part of the charging process that is made with the cheapest materials, in comparison to everything else your phone came with out of the box.
As you use it more and more, the cable gets bent, rolled, twisted and deformed in many ways. If your phone manufacturer gave you cheap cables – and some unfortunately do – this can mean that your cable might be broken, which is why your phone isn’t charging.
Check your cable for frayed or exposed innards, good signs that you might need a replacement. To check, use another cable that you know to be working – a spare cable if you have one, or a friend’s cable – to check if this is indeed the problem.
If your phone starts charging on a different cable, then you know the cause of your Android phone not charging properly.
Method 4: Check Your Smartphone’s Charging Port
You might not be aware of this, but the charging port of your smartphone is a magnet for all the gunk you have inside your pockets or bags. When this port is usually exposed to dust – it is bound to collect inside of it over time.
Take time to regularly check or clean this port. You can blow into the charging port to clear the area of a little dirt and pocket lint that might have collected there. For charging ports that require a bit more effort in cleaning, you can use a dry toothbrush to clean out the port. Or you can use the edge of a paper clip, but make sure your phone is turned off when you do this. If the situation is bad, you can even use a compressed air can to get the port dry and clean.
Method 5: Check Your Phone’s Software for Issues
If you’ve gotten this far and still haven’t solved your phone’s charging issue, then things will start to get a little bit more technical and a bit more difficult. But this guide will walk you through this challenging part as well.
There are some apps and software issues on your phone that might prevent it from charging correctly. Run through this mini-list and see if there are fixes for you.
Fully Drained Battery
If your Android smartphone was fully drained of battery power down to zero, the operating system won’t show the charging symbol until it has enough power to do so. That might take a few minutes of being plugged in, so sit tight and wait a while.
Gaming while charging
If you’re playing a high-resource, high-graphics app or game while charging, there might be a slim chance that your Android won’t charge.
This is because you might be using more power from the battery then what’s being given by the charger. Close the app and check if you’re able to charge when the app is not running.
Clearing the Smartphone’s Cache
Sometimes, a misbehaving app could be the source of your charging issue. It would not be immediately clear why or how the app is causing this trouble, but here’s a handy fix – clear your device’s storage cache.
Clearing your phone’s cache might be a Hail Mary shot at this point, but if you’re thinking that an app could be causing this, clearing the cache might also delete the glitch, along with all the unwanted and unneeded files in the cache.
To do this, go to your Android phone’s settings, then tap on storage. Locate the indication for Cached Data, and tap it to clear the cache.
Operating System Stuck
In some cases, the operating system of your Android phone might somehow be suck – for instance, too many apps open, or not enough memory to continue running – and it will not be able to show you a charging symbol.
Often, the best way to resolve this is to turn your smartphone off. If the operating system is stuck, the only way to do this on a modern phone is to hold down the power button for a long time until the phone shuts down. On older phones, you can remove the battery and put it back again.
There have been a few cases when after installing a system update, an Android smartphone would do all sorts of funky stuff – including not charging.
You may need to uninstall the said update – that is, roll back the software on your phone to the version before the update. A little bit of research on the internet and in forums will help in how you will be able to do this, but it should correct the issue.
Do a Factory Reset
This should be the last and final software fix that you should try, and even then, do it with a measure of care. If all other fixes before this have been done and you have reasonably inferred that nothing in the fixes listed above will, then you can try doing a factory reset.
A factory reset might just fix any other hidden software issue that is preventing your phone from charging. But it also will delete all data from your phone – contacts, messages, pictures, and all other user data – so make sure you do a backup of all your files before doing this.
Method 6: Check for a Hardware Issue
We’ve gotten to this point, and we’ve checked every other element of your smartphone’s charging process. If your phone is still not charging after all the troubleshooting steps above, then now is the time that we can start thinking if something is wrong with your phone’s hardware.
You should now consider bringing your smartphone to an official service center for certified technicians to take a look at your phone. They will probably give you good recommendations on what to do from there, but here’s what it could be.
But first things first, there are some smartphone models that would not let you easily check the hardware. If this is the case for you, then you have 2 choices, either do it yourself or go to a service center if you’re not confident enough. Especially that this method could potentially add more issues to your phone.
For those that want to do this themselves, we recommend having ORIA Precision Screwdriver Set.
ORIA Precision Screwdriver Set
This ORIA tool set has all the tools you will need to pry open your device to check its hardware components. Just make sure that you know what you’re doing, otherwise, we do not recommend doing this on your own if you have no experience or knowledge.
The Phone’s Battery
This is the usual culprit. A smartphone’s battery does have a lifespan, a set number of charges and discharges. Normally, this would be long after you’ve probably replaced your phone with a new one.
If the technicians at the service center find out that it is the battery at fault – and you’re still within warranty – they should replace the battery for free, at the very least. At best, they give you a replacement phone.
A cause for the bloating of a battery could be the immersion of a non-waterproof phone in water could also damage the phone’s battery. This usually is not covered under the warranty and would require you to pay for the battery replacement.
The Phone’s Motherboard
The motherboard is the circuit board where all of your smartphone’s crucial internals are found – including the processor, the memory and storage, and the graphics chip. This is the “brain” of your smartphone.
If by some weird voltage surge, you dropping your phone or by getting it wet, the motherboard somehow got damaged, it will need replacement. Depending on your smartphone brand or warranty, this could mean a replacement repair and your phone being out of action for a few weeks.
What other people ask
- Why is my phone not charging when its plugged in?
- There might be many reasons why your phone is not charging properly. If you check our guide, you’ll see that it could be anything from a faulty power outlet to a broken motherboard.
- Why does my phone take so long to charge?
- As we’ve mentioned above, if you’re using a USB port on your laptop to charge your phone, or if you’re using your phone while it is charging, it might take longer for your Android phone to charge.
- Why is my battery percentage going down while charging?
- This might be because you’re using your phone while charging or if your charger is faulty. Check our guide to see how you can solve these problems!
Is Your Phone Finally Charging?
If this troubleshooting guide did its job well, you will probably know what is causing your phone’s charging issue at this point in time. At best, you might need to replace your charging cable with a new one. Doing a factory reset on your phone is challenging and a bit of a hassle, but you will need to do it if it is what needed to be done.
For a phone that is relatively new, this troubleshooting guide is all you will need to help you if your Android phone is not charging.
So which method solved our problem? If your phone charging properly now? Let us know in the comments down below!