December 5, 2023

  • If your iPhone is not charging, something might be blocking the port.
  • You can clean it with compressed air or a toothpick, but always be careful.
  • Never insert anything metallic into the iPhone charging port, or get it wet.

There are a few reasons your iPhone may not be charging properly – you may need to restart your phone, check your Lightning cable for kinks and breaks, and make sure your power supply is working.

If you’ve checked all of these and they still don’t work, there’s probably enough debris in the port to prevent the connector from making a solid connection.

Yes, your iPhone port can get so dirty that it stops working. Anytime you put it in a pocket or bag, small bits of dirt, dust, and lint may find their way in.

And when you insert the cable, that compresses and packs dirt deep into the port. Eventually, it may become so contaminated with debris that it stops working.

How to clean the charging port of your iPhone

You should get a flashlight, or work under a bright LED desk lamp – the brighter the better, because you need to see deep into the charging port.

Picture of an iPhone, flashlight, can of compressed air, and a toothpick.

You can carefully clean the charging port of your iPhone with some compressed air and a toothpick.

Dave Johnson / Insider

And while you may want to start with compressed air, if you plan on inserting anything into the port to pull out stuck-on dirt, there is one acceptable tool for the job: a toothpick.

1. Turn off your iPhone completely. You can open the Settings app and tap generalfollowed by close.

2. Installing compressed air upright (so it only blows air, not expelling wet fuel) can fire a few short, controlled bursts at the port.

3. Turn on your phone and try charging it again. If it still doesn’t work, it’s time to try a toothpick.

Close-up of the bottom of the iPhone with a view of the Lightning port.  There is a toothpick resting on top of the phone.

Don’t use anything made of metal to clean your phone port – a toothpick is the right size, shape, and hardness for the job.

Dave Johnson / Insider

4. Again, while your phone is off, gently insert the toothpick into the port and gently rub it against the inner wall of the port. Don’t hit the inner wall closest to the front of the phone, because there are tiny pins there. Overall, it’s important to be gentle, because in addition to those screws, the sides are home to two small spring-loaded fasteners that snap to the charging port when inserted (which is why it “snaps” into place when the cable is pressed in). If you break anything, the shipping days will expire permanently.

Photo of a toothpick inserted into the Lightning port on an iPhone.

Make sure not to damage the electronics or mechanical springs inside the port when passing them with a toothpick.

Dave Johnson / Insider

5. After using the toothpick for a while, give the port another shot of compressed air to help remove anything you loosened.

6. If you push some dirt, restart the phone and try charging it.

If it works, congratulations – you’re back in business. If the problem persists, you can keep trying – carefully – or take it to an Apple Service Center for professional help.

How to get water out of your iPhone’s charging port

If you get a notification that there is water in your iPhone charging port, unplug all the accessories and press them on your hand with the port facing down.

To dry the port completely, leave the phone in a dry area with proper air flow.

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