Over the last few weeks my iPhone 8 has started charging slowly and sometimes won’t charge at all. Do I have shell out for a new battery? Is there anything I can try to fix it? H.E Bates, Kent
Having an iPhone you can’t rely on is stressful. But the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to pay for a new battery if you’re having problems charging your handset.
Quite a lot of the time the problem lies not with the battery, but with the phone’s software. It's also possible that your charging cable and plug is faulty or dirty.
And we're happy to say that in all those instances, the fixes are quick and cheap to undertake.
Read on and we’ll walk you through a range of things you can try before biting the bullet and buying a new battery…
Hard reset / force reset your iPhone
If software glitches are your bugbear, a hard reset may be the answer. And better still, it won't delete your apps, games, music, photos or settings. So you won't need to make a back-up before proceeding.
Step 1) Press and release the volume button.
Step 2) Do the same with the volume down button.
Step 3) Press and hold the power button. At the point the Apple logo appears on your screen, stop pressing. The phone will now reset.
If that doesn’t work, we suggest you….
Try another charging cable
Sounds obvious. But it makes sense to eliminate the possibility that your cable is at fault. If the cable is frayed (perhaps because it’s been in a position that’s put strain on it), it can impair how your phone charges.
The best way to find out if the cable is the nub of your charging woes is to either dig out an old cable or borrow a friend’s.
If your iPhone charges with another cable, you’ll know the problem is the cable you’ve been using.
If you have to buy a new one, we’d recommend you don’t skimp on a third-party cable and buy an official Apple one instead.
They may seem overpriced at £20 on the Apple Store. But we’ve bought enough cheap, unofficial cables that last a month or two to know that they’re really best avoided.
You could avoid paying out anything at all, though, if your iPhone is still under its 12-month warranty.
In which instance, head to Apple Store and they’ll replace your faulty charging cable for free.
Try another plug and charging point
When I’ve had problems charging iPhones in the past, I sometimes have more luck with the USB port in my Mac than a plug point. Quite correctly that led to me surmise that it was the plug that was the problem.
So try a few plugs and see if there’s any difference. And then try charging from your computer, which will tell you if the plug is the issue here.
Clean the charging port
You don’t notice the lint, dirt and dust that gathers in your charging port. Until it impairs your iPhone charging, that is.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to the safest and most effective way to clean your phone. You’ll need a toothpick and a can of compressed air. You’ll find reasonably priced cans on Amazon.
Step 1) Power off your handset. Either by holding the power button, or within the ‘settings’ section of your iPhone.
Step 2) If you can avoid touching the port with a foreign object to clean it, so much the better. That’s where the compressed air comes in. So take the can and spray it in the port, in short bursts. Then turn on the phone again and try to charge it. If it’s working, you’re good to go. If it’s not, try step 3.
Step 3) Hold iPhone somewhere very well lit, under a lamp for example. After all, you’re going to have to be careful with this, lest you damage the port. Now take the toothpick and very carefully insert just the tip and gently move it around. That should remove the sediment that’s been causing the problem.
Step 4) Still no joy? If you still suspect that dust is your bugbear, take your iPhone into an Apple Store. A Genius, as we're grudgingly compelled to call them, will have the specialist kit and knowledge to give the port a deep clean without causing damage.
Bite the bullet and get a new battery
If nothing above has restored your phone’s charging capabilities, it’s time to take your phone to an Apple Store or Apple-approved repair shop with a view to replacing the battery.
They’ll be able to run some diagnostic tests and see if the battery is your problem.
Assuming it is, an iPhone 8 battery is free if you signed up to Apple Care+ or if the phone is under warranty. Otherwise, you’re looking at an outlay of £49.