The day has been long, your phone has been used constantly, and the battery is now close to dead. You plug in your phone, hoping to get enough juice to power you until bedtime.
But panic sets in, the phone is not charging at all. Soon, you will be without your beloved phone, left to your own devices.
That is unless, of course, you can figure out what’s wrong and get your phone charging again.
Luckily, there are a few solutions and tools at your disposal to help you discern what’s happening and fix it.
1. Turn Your Phone Off
If you’re running into an issue where the phone shows its charging but doesn’t appear to be, or it’s charging too slowly, you should power-down the phone and leave it to charge for a little while.
When you have apps, games, or services running in the background, they may be using battery life, therefore, negating the energy coming in.
If you don’t want to turn your phone off completely, then at least activate airplane mode, so you disable all wireless connections.
That alone will help mitigate a lot of the battery usage, and will also stop apps from connecting to the network in the background.
2. Check Voltage Levels
First things first, you have to make sure that power supplies to your phone. If you do discover a voltage or hardware problem, unfortunately, you’re going to have to send your phone for repairs or a replacement. Don’t panic just yet, though.
Ampere is an excellent tool that will show you the battery, voltage and power status of your phone. You see, it’s possible the wall adapter or cord you’re using is incompatible with your device. If that’s the case, Ampere will find out.
- Download and install Ampere to your device.
- Open the app and give it a minute or two to measure stats.
Ampere will reveal the current status — charging or discharging — along with important information like battery health, max capacity, operating temperature, and current-voltage readings.
If you see orange, then your phone is discharging or draining faster than it can charge. If you see green, everything is on the up and up. Blue — which doesn’t apply here — means the battery is fully charged.
3. Try a Different Charger or Cable
Sometimes — especially with newer devices — the wall adapter or charging cable you’re using doesn’t jive with the phone. It’s always best to use the charger and cable that were bundled with your phone when you bought it.
Third-party cables and chargers can cause the most problems, but it is possible a stock charger has run into issues, particularly when the cable is frayed, worn, or torn.
Your solution might be as simple as switching up the cable or wall adapter to something comparable. Give it a shot if you have any extra charging equipment available, and see if it helps.
If you don’t have anything extra lying around, you might want to pay a visit to a local store and pick something up.
4. Check the Phone’s USB Socket
It’s possible that the USB port on your phone is damaged or corrupted in some way. The most telling issue is when the small metal connector inside the USB port is bent, broken, or warped.
Lint and dust can also find their way inside the port sometimes preventing the charging cable from making proper contact.
To remedy either problem, first, make sure you turn your phone off completely. If you can remove the battery from your device, then do so.
For a warped or bent connector:
- Take something small yet durable and straighten the tab with as little force as possible; a toothpick works.
- Do not spend too much time fidgeting with the connector, if it doesn’t budge then you’ll need professional help, and you don’t want to break it.
- Try not to scrape, slam or wiggle whatever you’re using against the connector.
If you can get it straightened properly, turn your phone back on and see if that helps.
For lint or debris:
- Use compressed air and blow short bursts inside the port to free any stuck or packed debris.
- Use a flashlight to see the port better and inspect it for any additional lint, dust or debris and continue to spray air as necessary.
When you’re confident, the port is clean again, power on your phone and try charging.
5. Check for a Software Update
Sometimes, using an older version of an OS can mean you miss out on a variety of new features and improved functionality. Older Android versions are generally known for putting more stress on a device’s battery, thanks to code optimizations made in the newer versions of the platform.
Of course, performance also depends on the system software in use, which can differ depending on the brand of your phone.
A Samsung device is going to be running a different version of the OS than a Motorola phone, for example. This is because the manufacturer is tasked with editing and updating the OS — most phones are not running stock Android.
Nevertheless, you should check to see if there is a software update available that can help you cut down on battery usage and improve charging times.
Keep in mind; the software update process involves downloading content which can use more battery in the moment. If you have merely a sliver of battery life left, this might not be the best option.
To check for a software update on Android:
- Open Android Settings (gear icon). The fastest way is to pull down the notification tray and select the icon in the bottom right.
- Scroll down and select System > Advanced > System Update. You may also find system update under its own menu (for Samsung devices) or under About.
- The device should automatically check for an update but if it doesn’t select the Check for Update option.
- If an update is available the phone will first prompt you to download the necessary files, and when it’s done it will ask you to install it.
6. Replace the Battery (If You Can)
Sadly, most of the newer devices have a built-in battery that cannot be changed or removed.
If that’s the case, your only recourse is to send the phone in for repair or order an RMA through the manufacturer.
If you can remove the battery, however, try taking it out and re-seating it to see if it helps. If there’s no change, it may be necessary to replace the battery altogether.
Devices like the LG V20, Moto E4, Samsung Galaxy S5, and several outliers still include a removable battery.
Ultimately, when it comes to battery and power issues, if a simple fix doesn’t work then you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional repair shop or send the phone back to the manufacturer for refurbishment.
It’s not an ideal answer, and it’s certainly not the one you’re looking for if your phone isn’t working, but it is the reality.
First, try the listed solutions to see if any help your plight. If not, you’ll need to consider expert assistance.
Regardless, if you are having problems feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help out.