Why Your Phone Is Charging Slowly or Won’t Charge

Now You Know

Is your phone charging slowly or not charging at all? Well, this is something that most smartphone users would encounter at least once in their lives. Leaving your phone for a while to charge only to discover that it barely increased is very annoying. This can signify a problem with your phone or your charger. Either way, charging problems need to be fixed right away because a phone without charge is not a phone at all.

This article will tackle what to do if your phone won’t charge or if it charges at a turtle speed. Before getting into the thick of things, you must first understand the concept of charging in order to see where things might go wrong.


Understanding Phone Charging

phone charging slow wallpaper with blue background
Photo by 200 Degrees from Pixabay

Every modern smartphone today is powered by a rechargeable battery. The capacity of smartphone batteries, much like other batteries, is measured by milliamps per hour or mAh. A higher mAh number means that the battery has a larger capacity. However, a larger battery capacity does not mean that the phone will last longer because that would actually depend on how efficient your phone is in utilizing the battery.

Case in point, the phones with the best battery life are probably the latest iPhones and Samsung phones like the Galaxy A70. The iPhone 11 Pro Max only has 3,969 mAh, which is a lot lesser than Asus ROG Phone 2’s 6,000 mAh. However, with normal use, the iPhone 11 would probably last longer mainly because the Asus ROG is a gaming phone that demands a lot from its battery.

Additionally, a larger mAh count requires a larger power source to charge. If a 3,000 mAh and a 3,300 mAh battery both race to 100% using the same 5W charger, the former would undeniably beat the latter. So, is your phone charging slowly? The answer might just be in the accessory you’re using.


Why Is Your Phone Charging Slowly and How Can You Fix It?

Waking up to a phone that only increased by 5% after charging for hours is one of the worst feelings in the world. Fortunately, a phone charging slowly is not as bad as a phone that’s not charging at all. In any case, slow charging can be caused by a number of reasons, but solving it can be relatively easy. In fact, the world’s major smartphone brands like Samsung openly tackle this topic on their support page.


1. Damaged or Bad Quality Accessory

A phone charging slowly can indicate a damaged or bad quality accessory. USB cables are some of the most fragile accessories ever created. Since these things are mass-produced, the build quality is not always that good. In fact, even Apple’s cables notoriously break off easily. Cables are often twisted, bent, pulled out improperly, and more – so you really could not blame them entirely.

Damaged cables are unable to utilize or carry power from the source to your phone properly. As a result, charging can slow down since the accessory is not being used to its fullest capacity. To solve this, you can either wrap some electrical tape around exposed areas. If you don’t want to do that, you could always buy a stronger cable.

Before doing anything though, test out the cable on other devices and other power sources.


2. Weak Power Source

Test out your charger across different power sources. Power banks, laptops, and wall sockets are the most common sources of power for USB chargers. More often than not, laptops and old USB car chargers cannot provide adequate power. After all, it has to support itself first before charging anything. Honestly, you can’t really expect to charge your smartphone properly using your laptop and all that it can give you is a little percent of emergency power.

phone charging slow with laptop
Photo by stokpic from Pixabay

In any case, power banks and wall sockets are still preferred. Power banks were made for the sole purpose of charging while wall sockets are, well, made for electrical purposes. Be sure to invest in a good power bank and regularly check your wall sockets for any possible damages. You might also want to check out if your power adapter is right for your phone because the standard 5W charger obviously charges slower than a 12W power adapter.

Is your phone still charging slowly after checking the cables and the power sources? If yes, then it might be time to start looking into your phone.


3. Low Battery Health

If your accessories are not to blame, then your battery might be the culprit. A phone charging slowly may indicate deteriorating battery health. Much like anything in the world, batteries don’t last forever, and their performance might crash down as years go by. Seeing your five-year-old phone take up hours to reach 100% is not unusual, frankly because its battery is probably in its final breaths already.

Make it a point to check your battery health from time to time. For Apple users, you can do this by going to Settings > Battery and selecting “Battery Health” to reveal your battery’s maximum capacity. The lower the battery health, the lesser you’ll be able to use the phone in between charges.

On the other hand, you cannot check your Android phone’s battery health through the settings. Instead, you can download battery saving apps such as AccuBattery.


4. Old Age of the Phone

Apart from low battery health, another reason why a phone might charge slower than usual is its age. Charging technology evolves through time, which means that, outside of your depleted battery health, your phone’s charging mechanics might already be outdated. With that said, if you think your phone is charging slower than usual, you might not be used to a slower charging period anymore.

The charging speed of flagship phones yesterday is considered slow already by the budget phones of tomorrow. Newer trends such as Qi charging are developing rapidly and an old phone charging slowly may not be solved by a quick fix anymore. If you think this is the reason behind your phone’s slow charging, then it might be time to start considering changing your phone already.

wireless charging stand with white wallpapers
Photo by sittikan raingkun from Pxhere


5. Power-Draining Background Apps

This is perhaps the more careless reason why a phone is charging slower than usual. Background applications and using your phone, in general, drain your battery. With that said, if you are keeping apps running while charging your phone, you really can’t expect your battery to recharge properly. Think of it as resting while doing work – it really does not make that much sense.

For example, playing music through your phone’s speaker using apps such as Spotify can drain your battery a lot. Simply connecting to the Wi-Fi or browsing social media can take a toll on your battery while charging. With that said, if you’re in a rush to charge, leave your phone alone and close all the apps. It would be of great help also if you could turn on your smartphone’s Airplane mode.


Why Won’t Your Phone Charge and How Can You Fix It?

A phone charging slowly might indicate that your battery or phone is close to giving up. With that said, it is not unusual to find out that your phone won’t charge at all after a couple of days of slow charging. Compared to slow charging, a phone that is not charging at all might not be often fixed by quick solutions. In fact, it would be better to start preparing your wallet for the worst case.


1. Broken or Uncertified Charging Accessory

Much like a phone charging slowly, a phone that’s not charging at all may indicate a broken charging accessory. As mentioned earlier, charging cables are as fragile as they come so it is not unusual to find them malfunctioning after a couple of months of usage. To add to that, uncertified chargers may also get rejected by your phone – a popular case reported by iPhone users.

Be sure to test out your accessories on other devices before totally axing them. Also, although this might be a given already, try to find out if your charging accessories are still under warranty. Some cables have a lifetime warranty so buying those next time might be a good idea.


2. Dirty or Wet Cable

Another possible reason why your Android or iPhone is not charging is a dirty or a wet cable. According to Apple Support, small debris can hamper your cable from connecting properly to your phone’s charging port. Not only that, this small debris can cause permanent damage. The same thing goes for wet cables.

The thing is the latest Android smartphones and iPhones can actually detect moisture on the cables. If you happen to plug in a wet cable, your phone will prompt a message saying that liquid is being detected on your cable. Once this is triggered, charging would automatically be disabled.

phone won't charge liquid detected
Photo from Apple Support

A simple and proper wipe on your charger would often do the trick. However, if the problem persists, you could try out other cables instead. If that still doesn’t work, you might want to get your phone’s port checked for hardware issues.


3. Broken Socket or Power Source

A phone charging slowly might indicate an inadequate power source, so a phone that is not charging at all may mean that your power source is totally broken. This is as given as it gets. Without power, your charging accessories are basically pieces of wires tied in together without purpose.

To know if this is the problem, try out other chargers and devices on the same power source. Before you do this, though, be sure to test out your cables and your devices for other possible reasons. Sometimes, a weak power source can also cause your phone to not charge at all. In any case, switching to another power source would often do the trick.

If the problem persists, then it might be time to check out your phone already.


4. Hardware Problem

You’ve done everything already. You’ve switched to working wires and you’ve transferred to different power sources, but still, your phone won’t charge. If that’s the case, then your phone itself might be the problem. Though common, broken charging hardware can still be an expensive drag.

This can happen for various reasons. The most common reason behind this is a broken charging port. Charging ports are always exposed and are very vulnerable to external objects that can cause damage over time. Aside from the charging port, your battery could also sustain damage over the years. However, this reason cannot be detected easily. Oftentimes, users would just be surprised to find their phone’s power malfunctioning only to find out that their batteries are bloated already.

There is no other way to solve both the charging port and the battery issues except for replacements. For phones with removable batteries, this is an easy task. However, for those with non-removable batteries or charging port problems, you absolutely have to visit a phone repair shop. You can also take this as a sign to start the process of switching to a new phone.

charging port check when phone charging slow
Photo from Apple Support


5. Software Issue

Although quite rare, battery issues caused by software problems are not impossible. A small bug on your smartphone’s latest software update can cause your battery indicator to malfunction. With that said, even if your phone is actually charging, the battery indicator might say otherwise.

Diagnosing this problem can be really tricky. In fact, this is the last thing that experts and tech people would check for. A battery or hardware replacement would often come before this, and it would often solve it as well because of the whole system reset. So, before you take your phone out for a hardware replacement, be sure to try out a full factory reset first. Of course, do not forget to back up everything before anything else.


Useful Tips to Prevent Battery Problems

The tale of how to extend your phone’s 100% has been told a lot of times already. It essentially is the same thing all over again: lower your brightness, remove background applications, choose a dark theme, and more. However, at the end of the day, your battery life will always depend on its own health.

Apart from battery-saving tips, it would also pay to be religious on battery-preserving habits. A battery that is in tip-top shape, will last longer than a battery that has been battered already. Below are some things you would want to keep in mind to lessen battery problems like a phone charging slowly or a phone that is not charging at all.


1. Stop Overcharging

First up is one of the most common tips when it comes to taking care of your battery. Overcharging usually occurs when you leave your phone to charge overnight, which results in your phone’s battery getting more that what it can take. Although overcharging does not seem to take an immediate toll on your phone, it does affect your general battery health so be sure to avoid this at all costs.


2. Let Your Phone Charge in Peace

As discussed earlier, a phone charging slowly can be caused by background applications. However, apart from the charging speed, using your phone while charging can also affect your battery in the long run. Charging and using your phone at the same time can and will overwork your phone. The more effort your battery exerts, the more toll it takes, so let your phone charge in peace.

Honestly, though, waiting for your phone to charge can be quite a drag. Fortunately, with the best fast chargers in the market today, you might not have to worry about waiting too much anymore.

phone charging slow due to power bank
Photo by JAEWON LYOO from Pixabay


3. Avoid Full Cycle Charging

Full cycle charging means charging your phone from 0 to 100% straight, and then draining it back to zero before charging again. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually much better to charge sparingly from time to time in order to give your phone little boosts. On the other hand, using your phone from 100% to 0 is not advisable.

The reason behind this is the principle of limited cycles. Every battery can do full cycles from 300 to 500 times throughout its life. So, in hindsight, using your phone from 100% to 0 and charging it from 0 to 100% would reduce that number. The more you do full cycles, the closer you are in bringing your phone to its grave.


4. Invest in Trusted Accessory Brands

Admittedly, it is quite tempting to settle for cheaper charging accessories as compared to the more expensive ones. Cheap cables and power adapters seem to be disposable due to their low prices, which is why despite their short life, a lot of people still buy them. Although doing that may be a little cost-efficient, it definitely won’t help your phone’s general battery health. Invest in a good power bank, a strong cable, or even a high quality solar-powered charger. No matter how expensive you think branded chargers are, they are still is a lot cheaper than a battery replacement.

wrapped apple lightning cable on brown table
Photo by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay


Final Word

Charging problems, like your phone charging slowly or a phone that won’t charge at all can be quite annoying. Although there are some quick fixes you can do, you still could not hide from the fact that battery problems might need bigger and more expensive solutions down the line. The good old saying that prevention is better than cure applies very well to this situation as well. If you don’t want these charging problems to occur and persist, don’t take your general battery health for granted.