Phone Only Charges When Off: How to Fix?

Here’s why your phone only charges when it’s off and 6 ways to fix this:

You can learn why you phone only charges when it’s off and save yourself from replacing your device or sending it away to be repaired by following these quick fixes.

  • Slightly adjust your phone’s charging port
  • Clean your contacts
  • Check your charger cable
  • Check your battery
  • Optimize your charging source
  • Turn your apps off

So if you want to learn all about how to fix your phone that only charges when it’s off, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s jump right in!

Phone Only Charges When Off: How to Fix? (6 Ways)

What About a Phone That Only Charges When It’s Turned Off?

Does your phone only take a charge when you turn it off? 

Or does it charge much slower than it should?

So Frustrating! 

Don’t stress because you ARE NOT ALONE!

This article offers fast and easy ways for you to enhance the charging performance of your smartphone or tablet.

These quick fixes can save you from replacing your device or sending it away to the manufacturer for repairs.

Always practice safety first and power your device OFF when inspecting, cleaning, or otherwise servicing it.


Here we go!

How Long Do You Need to Charge a New Phone Before Using It for the First Time?

Before I continue, already thinking about getting a new phone?

Have you ever heard about that you need to charge a new phone for some time before using it?

It is perfectly fine to use a modern phone as soon as you receive it or take it out of a box. 

Older battery technology required significant charging before it was ready for use, but that has not been the case for several years now. 

A new phone is fine to be used or charged as you see fit from the moment you get it.

Learn all about charging your new phone for the first time here.

#1 Slightly Adjust Your Phone’s Charging Port

Poor electrical contact is the most prevalent cause of inadequate phone charging.

No juice = No Charge!

Your phone’s charging port is where the charging cable plugs in. Therefore, for the phone to charge effectively, there must be good contact between the electronics of the phone’s port and those of the charging cable.

Regular use causes wear and tear on your phone’s charging port and charging cable.

This can cause the electronics inside the port and the cable to NOT make good contact.

Here is a very simple method for correcting this issue:

  1. Turn your phone or tablet’s power OFF.
  2. Remove the phone’s battery (if possible).
  3. In good light, look inside of the port to see if the housing or pins are bent.
  4. If they are, use a paperclip, toothpick, or very thin flathead screwdriver to gently reposition them.
  5. Plug the charging cable back into the phone’s port.

This is one of the most common issues that cause phones to only charge when turned off.

If the charging issue was caused by a bent pin inside the phone’s charging port, this will likely fix it FAST and EASY!

Close-up of USB type c charger.

If this does not improve your phone’s charging performance, fear not and read on! 

There are various other simple DIY fixes to consider when your phone isn’t charging the way that it should.

#2 Clean Your Contacts

Many people carry their phones in their pockets. It could be that the electronics in your phone’s port and charging cable are lined up perfectly but still not providing a good charge.

This can happen if the electrical contacts are tainted with lint, dirt, or other substances found in your pockets.

Use a bright flashlight and inspect the inside of the charging port. The best way to clean the port is with a can of compressed air.

If you see a ball of lint or other debris, you can also use a paper clip or toothpick to pluck it out. Don’t use cotton swabs, toilet paper, or other lint-leaving cleaning materials.

Stay safe!

Turn the power OFF before beginning. Always be very gentle so that you do not cause damage to your phone.

Also, please read your warranty closely. 

You DO NOT want to void your phone’s warranty by attempting repairs that require a certified technician.

However, carefully keeping the electrical contacts in the charging port and charging cable clean can definitely improve your phone’s charging rate!

#3 Check Your Charger Cable

If your port pins are correctly positioned, and your electrical contacts are clean, your charging cable may be to blame for your phone only charging when it’s turned off.

Charging cables are made with bundles of very small copper wires. While copper is preferred for its superior conductivity, it is slightly brittle and breaks down with repetitive stress.

Charging cables take a lot of abuse and are often overlooked. Then, when they start malfunctioning, we always act surprised!

Plugging-in, unplugging, tugging, bending, and otherwise repetitively flexing the charging cable eventually leads to its degradation. This is especially true if the cable often gets bent past 90 degrees.

You can test your charging cable easily.

Just try a different charging cable and see if your phone begins taking a better charge. Simple and fast!

If the substitute cable makes your phone charge better, then replace your cable. 

No biggie, right?

Just be sure and replace it with a cable that meets the recommendations of your phone’s manufacturer.

Please make sure that the charger cable and adapter you are testing are compatible with your device.

Incompatible cables and adapters can cause your phone not to charge at all or to charge at a slow and inefficient rate. They could also damage your device!

#4 Check Your Battery

The lithium-ion batteries in our smartphones and tablets are not designed to last forever.

In fact, most batteries are ready for replacement in about 2 years with average use.

The more you charge and deplete your battery, the sooner it will need to be replaced. That’s just the way it is in the battery world!

So, if your battery is only a year or so old and is not accepting a good charge, it could be a defective product.

Check your device warranty to see if this scenario is covered.

You may need to contact the manufacturer and have a new battery sent to you.

There’s a ton of research going on today to make phone batteries safer, longer-lasting, less expensive, and easier to charge.

For now, we all have to deal with our battery charging issues the best that we can.

However, if your phone’s battery is older than a year or so, it is likely to wear down to the end of its limited lifespan.

That’s OK. A bit of sadness is understandable, but life must go on!

Some obvious signs that your battery is about to meet its maker are bulging and fluid leaking. 

Take this seriously as it could be dangerous. 

We have all heard stories of batteries exploding or combusting. Never take safety for granted.

Swollen mobile phone battery.

(I don’t know about you, but if I notice my battery leaking fluid, I am going to place the entire device in a protective container and get it to the repair shop ASAP!)

To recap, it is normal for older batteries to struggle to take or hold a charge.

The best solution may be to simply replace it. If the battery on your device cannot be removed, or if removing it voids your warranty, then your only real option is to contact the manufacturer or retailer you purchased it from.

#5 Optimize Your Charging Source

If your phone only charges when it is turned off, it may be because you’re not using the best spot to plug it in.

For example, a wall plug delivers much more electricity than a USB port on the side of your laptop.

The different electronic devices are designed and manufactured uniquely. They each deliver specific amounts of electricity.

So always choose your charging location wisely.

And again, make sure that your charging cables and adapters are compatible with your device as recommended by the manufacturer.

#6 Turn Your Apps Off

Apps use energy.

They contribute to the “discharge” of your phone or tablet.

You can think of discharge as how fast your phone is losing the charge it currently has in its battery.

For example, if you are trying to charge your phone battery while your PUBG Mobile app is running, it isn’t going to work as well as if you turned the app off first.

To keep your battery charging faster, turn off your energy-zapping apps! Here’s how to turn an app off on an iPhone and here on an Android device.

It’ll help to keep your device’s discharge rate lower than the charging rate.

Does Frequent Charging Damages Your Phone Battery?

Perhaps frequent charging damaged your phone battery and that’s why you can only charge it when it’s off?

For the most part, frequent charging is not an issue for modern phones with lithium-based batteries. 

Charging behavior does impact your battery’s lifespan, but the exact ways depend on how you use the phone and what kind of battery you have. 

You can research best practices for your specific battery.

Learn all about how frequent charging affects your phone battery here.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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