A simple fix for when your iPhone won't charge

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If your iPhone suddenly stops taking a charge, but everything else keeps working, there may be a fix. I know someone with firsthand experience of just such an issue, and can offer advice that may solve your iPhone’s charging problem.

Because I want to ensure that I don’t unintentionally void his warranty in print, I’m going to protect the anonymity of the individual at the center of this story, and call him Flex Riedman.

Earlier this week, Flex went out with a buddy of his for dinner at a local restaurant. During the course of the meal, a nearly-empty beer bottle was tipped—a tragedy unto itself—but things immediately got worse: Flex’s iPhone was on the table, and it soaked up some light lager.

But Flex’s 4S seemed none the worst for wear. He toweled it off with the portion of his napkin not covered in honey mustard, and continued enjoying his night out with his friend.

On his car ride home, Flex plugged the iPhone into his car’s dock connector cable and listened to music on the short trip home. At this point, the spilled beer’s contact with his iPhone was less than a faint memory, it was a nothing two-second incident out of a couple hours with good company and well-seasoned steak fries.

Time marched on; bedtime arrived. After checking on his kids using the iPhone as a flashlight, Flex plugged the phone into his bedside charger. The phone didn’t start charging.

Flex did what any of us would do: He unplugged the cable and plugged it back in again. Nada.

A speaker dock sits on Flex’s nightstand. He unplugged the iPhone and seated in the dock. Music started playing immediately. But still, the phone showed no indication that was plugged in. Not a warning that it couldn’t charge, just—nothing.

It was at this point that The Beer Incident came forward in Flex’s mind. “Oh drat,” Flex thought because this is a family publication. He looked inside his iPhone’s dock connector port to see if it showed the telltale red indicator of liquid damage. Mercifully, it didn’t.

But Flex saw no other detritus inside the dock connector port that could explain away the issue; no lint or other debris seemed be gumming up the works. He turned off the iPhone 4S and plugged it back in. An iPhone that’s charging successfully should power back on in this situation, but Flex’s didn’t.

He reached into his nightstand and grabbed his old trusty iPhone 4 and plugged it into the speaker dock to charge, figuring that if he needed a phone the next day, he should charge up the one that would allow him to do so. “I’m going to have to go to the Apple Store tomorrow morning,” Flex said to his wife as he turned off the light.

Sleep didn’t come, though. Flex was too agitated about his iPhone 4S’s dire circumstances. Despite his knowledge that the unchargeable iPhone had just 22 percent of its battery life remaining, he powered it on once again. Still no dice.

As a last-ditch attempt at fixing it himself–even, dare I say, a foolhardy attempt, given that he’d already tried turning the phone off and on again—Flex tried a genuine restart: He held down the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons until the iPhone powered off and the Apple logo reappeared. And seconds later, he heard that familiar, unmistakable metallic electrical quack, that one that signals an iOS device is charging. And he rejoiced.

And then he went to sleep.

The next day, the iPhone 4S was fully charged, and Flex has seen no charging problems since.

So what can we learn from Flex’s experience? Turns out, he’s not alone: Googling reveals others have solved their iOS devices’ inability to charge with a similar restart maneuver. Whether the beer or the fates were truly to blame is unclear, and certainly merely restarting an iPhone won’t cure severe liquid damage. But if your iPhone stops taking a charge, remember Flex and his small tale of personal victory, and hold down those two buttons until the phone restarts.

[Flex Riedman is not a Macworld staff writer, but Lex Friedman certainly is, which is how you know they’re different people.]

This story, "A simple fix for when your iPhone won't charge" was originally published by Macworld.

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