Why is My Phone Charging Backwards?

Why is My Phone Charging Backwards?

After a long day out, you get home to plug in your phone and allow it to regain some of its charges for a short time. You come back to check what percentage it is on, and it has been charging in reverse.

This process can be confusing and has left many people frustrated to find that their phone has been discharging after being plugged into an outlet for many hours.

This article should help you understand some of the possible causes for your phone discharging and give you some possible solutions.

Why is My Phone Charging Backwards?

1. Bad Battery

Phones are not like cars, where you can simply exchange the battery for another one, and your problems are resolved.

They used to be, but thinner phones with high demands for battery capacity mean that these formerly exchangeable batteries have turned into small foil bags sealed up inside your phone.

These phone batteries are designed to last a specific number of charge cycles. A phone cycle can be defined as taking the battery from its lowest point to its highest.

It is worth noting that this does not mean charging your phone from zero percent to one hundred percent, even though the phone reports it this way. Batteries are designed to be used at 80% of the listed capacity and never brought down to a zero-charge state.

Batteries don’t just die one day. They usually give us some warning signs that they are getting close. Sometimes batteries can otherwise short or have an outside fault that puts them to their end, but instances such as these are uncommon.

Formerly, you could go online or take a trip to the store and buy a new battery for your phone that you could easily replace yourself.

Those days are, unfortunately, gone. It is very unlikely that they will ever come back. But you are not alone. The battery in your phone can likely be changed by someone who knows what they’re doing.

Fix 1 – Book An Appointment with the Manufacturer and Replace the Phone Battery

It is possible that your manufacturer can replace your phone battery.

For example, Apple replaces phone batteries for nothing but a service fee. Their warranty, unfortunately, does not cover batteries that wear down from normal use.

However, if you are one of the lucky ones who is covered by a warranty, AppleCare+, or consumer law, Apple will replace your battery at no charge.

You can get battery service for your Apple iPhone by scheduling a visit and making an appointment at an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Store. You can also send your phone in for repair by having your phone shipped directly to Apple.

In some areas, you can schedule onsite service so that an Apple Authorized Service Provider will come to your home or office and repair your device onsite. For further options, you can go to the Apple website and contact an Apple Support Advisor.

Apple’s support website has a tool that allows you to estimate potential costs. These are all service fees that only apply if you get service from an Apple store or mail your product directly to Apple.

Other service providers can set their own prices, so you should ask whoever you are getting the repair form from for an estimate. Upon receiving the product, Apple will review the phone and confirm service charges.

It is important to note, however, that if you have additional damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, like a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement.

In some cases, there will be additional costs associated with that additional repair.

Fix 2 – Replace Phone

It is possible that with all the costs associated with repairing a battery, it may just be cheaper or the easier alternative to replacing the entire phone simply.

This will be dependent upon a variety of factors, like how long you have had the phone and any physical damage to the device.

This may not be the smartest financial decision, but if you have the resources to make this happen, it could likely be the most convenient option for you.

Replacing your phone could resolve a lot of issues for you. Over time, phones tend to function slower and should be replaced eventually, regardless.

This may be the perfect time for you to replace your cellular device.

2. You’re Using Your Phone While It’s Charging

Overall, it is not a bad thing to use your phone while it is charging. The phone simply charges at a slower rate than it normally would in order to allow enough power for you to use the device.

However, mobile phones are low-powered devices. The applications in your Android or iOS device pull less power from the batteries in the phones.

However, when you connect it directly to a mobile charger and use it, there are fluctuations seen in smaller amounts of charge, which in turn flow from the socket to the mobile device using the charger and/or adapter.

The charger in this scenario functions to limit the power to a certain voltage from the socket, which is an amount required depending upon the specific device.

This variation, even in very small amounts, is very bad for the battery health of the phone in the long run. Using your phone while it is charging does allow for the device to be heated up more quickly than it otherwise would.

Formerly, it was dangerous to be on the phone while it was charging. There were issues with phones exploding from the battery, but this has been reduced drastically as companies are investing in expanding the performance of their batteries.

You can directly avoid these issues by ensuring you don’t allow your mobile device to get heated up.

Sometimes, if your phone has been in service for around two years, it can get heated up when you keep it plugged in for too long. Make sure you to stop charging your device when you find it has been plugged in for too long and leave it to cool off for a bit of time.

Fix 1 – Stop Using Your Phone While It Is Charging

You can avoid many of these issues by simply not using the phone while it is charging.

If there is something important that you need to tend to on your device while it is charging, you can simply take the phone off the charger to complete your task and then plug it back up to allow it to reach full charge.

3. If It’s A Wireless Charger, The Plug Wattage is Too Low

Wireless chargers have existed for quite some time, but they are not widespread for a few important reasons.

The first reason is that many people believe that wireless charging is slower than wired charging, although this perception is beginning to change.

Wireless charging technology is steadily advancing, meaning the speed at which wireless charging is beginning to match the speed at which your device can be charged.

Wireless charging is, by its nature, less efficient than charging your phone with a wire. This means that wireless charging is slightly more wasteful, meaning it can generate more heat.

It typically takes longer to charge your phone on a wireless charger than with direct-wired charging to the same amount of power on your device.

However, fast wireless chargers take this inefficiency into account and use additional power so that they can speed up the process of charging.

If you want to speed up wireless charging, you can turn off the phone or place it in Airplane Mode to speed up the process. If you can’t do this, make sure you are using your phone as little as possible while you are charging.

Make sure you have background applications also closed and remove the phone case. Phone cases allow for some level of interference between the device and the wireless charger.

The less of this interference there is, the better. Most phone cases are constructed of metal or plastic. Thick metal cases can heavily slow down the charging process.

Fix 1 – Make Sure Plug is At Least 20W

If you want to make sure that your device is charging properly using a wireless charging device, make sure that the plug is at least 20W. Supporting less than this may result in a discharging phone or one that charges in reverse.

4. There’s a Bug on Your Phone

Bugs can occur in cellular devices under various conditions and in several different environments. Before applications and new software updates are launched, they undergo various rounds of testing, but they still do not catch all bugs.

There are many different types of bugs. Most of them are harmless, but some of them deserve critical attention.

Some bugs are found within the design of an application. Other bugs are directly related to the coding of the software. It is best for the company, however, to identify said bugs before the user does.

The best way to find bugs in software and applications is through testing. Testing continuously can help identify bugs through testing small pieces of code rather than the bulk of it at once.

Through continuous testing, developers can fix mistakes quickly rather than wait for a big piece of the code to be deployed and for that bug to cause issues for users.

Fix 1 – Force Restart Your Phone

If your iPhone is not responding properly and you are unable to turn it off and then turn it on, you can try forcing the iPhone to restart.

The steps to restart your iPhone depend strictly upon which model of iPhone you have. To learn what model you have, you can go to the Settings section and then About.

If you are going to restart any of the newest iPhones, use the following steps:

1. Press and quickly release the volume up button.

2. Press and quickly release the volume down button.

3. Press and hold the side button.

4. When the apple logo appears on your display, release the button.

5. Each Android device has its own method of force restarting, but this appears to be one that is consistent among all Android devices.

6. You can simultaneously press the power and volume down keys for more than seven seconds.

7. This should force your Android device to restart.

Fix 2 – Update Phone

It is possible that your phone needs to be updated. Regular updates are important for the health of your cellular device so that you can ensure it functions properly.

With an iOS device, it is easy to update your cellular device wirelessly. If you want to do this, use the following steps:

1. Plug your device into a power source.

2. Connect to a Wi-Fi connection.

3. Tap the gear-shaped Settings icon.

4. Tap General.

5. Tap Software Update.

6. If you see more than one software update option available, choose whichever you want to install.

7. Tap Install Now.

8. If you see Download and Install instead, tap it to download the update and then enter your passcode before tapping Install Now.

9. You can also customize your phone to update automatically overnight while it’s charging.

10. If you want to do this, use the following steps:

11. Tap the gear-shaped Settings icon.

12. Tap General.

13. Tap Software Update.

14. Tap Automatic Updates.

15. Turn on Download iOS Updates.

This will make your device automatically update to the latest version of iOS. Some updates may need to be installed manually, however, so be mindful of that if one does not automatically update.

Fix 3 – Contact Your Phone Manufacturer

If you think you need to contact your phone’s manufacturer regarding a bug, that is also a viable solution. On most phones, you can figure out who your manufacturer and carrier are through the Settings application.

1. On most phones, you can do the following two steps to find your manufacturer and carrier.

2. Tap the gear-shaped Settings icon.

3. Tap About phone.

4. To find information about your manufacturer, tap Model & hardware.

4. To find information about your carrier, tap SIM status. Check under “Network.”

5. Sometimes, when your cellular device experiences problems related to your cellular network, the issue stems from the cellular network rather than the device itself.

Below, there is a list of major wireless carriers to contact if you are experiencing problems:

Verizon: 1-(800)-922-0204

Sprint: 1-(888)-211-4727

AT&T: 1-(800)-331-0500

T-Mobile: 1-(877)-746-0909

Fix 4 – Restore Your Phone If It’s an iPhone

If you have an iPhone, you can restore your device from an iCloud backup. To do this, use the following steps:

1. Turn on your device.

2. You should see a screen saying Hello.

3. If you have already set up your device, you need to erase all of the content before you can use the following steps to restore from an iCloud backup.

4. Follow the onscreen setup until you reach the Apps & Data screen.

5. Tap Restore from iCloud Backup.

6. Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID.

7. Choose a backup.

8. Look at the date and size of each and pick the most relevant.

9. After you choose a backup, the transfer will start.

10. If a message says that a newer version of the software is required, follow the steps onscreen to update.

11. When asked, sign in with your Apple ID to restore your applications and purchases.

12. Stay connected to a Wi-Fi connection and wait for a progress bar to appear on the screen.

13. Wait on the progress bar to finish.

14. If you disconnect from Wi-Fi too soon, the progress bar will stop completing until you re-connect.

15. Now, you can finish setup and begin using your device again.

5. There’s An Issue With Your Power Outlet

It is possible that there is an issue with your power outlet, causing your phone to charge in reverse. If the aforementioned is true for you, use the following advice to resolve your issue.

Fix 1 – Change Power Supply

Fixing this problem can be as simple as changing your power supply. If you think your specific power supply could be functioning improperly, simply remove the plug-in and plug it in in another outlet, perhaps in another room.

If anything, this option allows you to troubleshoot so you can possibly figure out what issue you are primarily struggling with.

Fix 2 – Do Not Use An Extension Cord

You may have heard that extension cords are not good for chargers. That is true, but only if you use the wrong kind of cord.

Extension cords were designed to be used temporarily and carefully, but that does not mean that they’re all bad.

However, when it comes to charging your cellular device or your laptop, avoid using an extension cord if you can. The primary issue with them involves the possibility that they don’t deliver the right amount of power.

Extension cords are not intended to be permanent wiring. They are intended to be used on temporary occasions, with the idea that they need to be replaced every five years.

Extension cords were created with the idea in mind that they should be used to carry a limited amount of current from one outlet to another. The wire in the cord is only rated for so much current before it overheats and melts.

Overloading an extension cord can result in damaging the cord itself, which could cause a possible fire hazard or even electrocute you.

If you need to run some kind of appliance that draws a lot of electricity, you should by a heavy-duty extension cord that has been tested by the relevant authorities.

These cords should be tested by experts who know how much electricity these cords can safely carry without overheating or melting down.

These cords should also be marked with their wattage capacity so that you can easily see how much power they are capable of carrying, making it easier for you to be mindful of what devices you can plug in.

If you are using an extension cord, more specifically, to charge your phone, it is highly probable that you are doing it wrong.

The primary reason involves extension cords not providing enough power to charge your phone within a reasonable amount of time.

The second reason involves charging through an extension cord possibly damaging your phone charger. Over time, the wires within the extension cord can damage your phone charger.

Over time, the wires inside the extension cord will become damaged and eventually break down. When this happens, the charger will either stop working properly or cause a fire.

6. Your Charger Is Damaged

If your phone is not charging properly or is charging in reverse, your charger itself may be damaged.

There are methods that allow you to figure out how fast your device is charging.

The most popular option is Ampere. This application is available for free on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Once the application is installed, start it, and it should immediately start measuring the rate at which the battery is charging. The higher the mA (milliampere) value, the faster the battery is being charged.

Be mindful of the following: This is a measure of the battery’s charge and discharge rate along with its voltage, not actually the voltage and amperage traveling through the wire from the charger.

As a result, it is impossible to use this application to measure the exact amount of power leaving the charger itself.

This method is only useful if you’re trying to compare relative charger performance, like the performance of two chargers, to compare their charging speed for the same phone.


If your phone is charging backward, do not be dismayed. You are not alone. Many have come before you and struggled with this same issue.

That’s why we have outlined many of the possible issues and solutions in the article above. Good luck!


Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced tech writer and marketer who currently writes for Techzillo as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf. At Techzillo, he focuses on consumer technology in general with his interest being Android OS. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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