Your iPhone’s Lightning port may need to be cleaned if it isn’t connecting or charging properly. We’ll show you how to do it safely and troubleshoot any other problems that might arise.
First, Rule Out an Issue With the Cable
All iPhones produced since 2012 have a charging port referred to as a Lightning connector. The Lightning cable could be damaged, or the iPhone’s Lightning port could malfunction if you insert the cable, and it disconnects if you tap it lightly or it won’t insert all the way.
If the problem persists, borrow or buy a known-working Lightning cable, plug it into your iPhone, and check whether that fixed it.
Your old cable is either bad or dirty if the new cable solves the problem. Please make sure the flat contacts on the old Lightning cable are clean by rubbing them with a pencil eraser. If that doesn’t work, it may be necessary to purchase a new charging cable.
The problem is if the new cable doesn’t fix your iPhone’s connector. With iPhones, lint or dust can build up in the Lightning port over time, causing physical interference with the Lightning cable. Luckily, cleaning the port yourself isn’t too difficult, as we’ll cover below.
Getting Started: Turn Off Your iPhone Completely.
It is important to power off your iPhone first so that you can safely clean its Lightning port without accidentally damaging it. There are a few different ways to clean the port:
- On iPhones without a Home Button: Press the side button and then press Volume Up or Volume Down for about four seconds to display the Power Off Slider.
- On iPhones with a Home Button and a Side Button: Hold the Side Button for a few seconds until the sliding power off button appears.
- On iPhones with a Home Button and a Top Button: Hold the top button for about a second before the power-off slider appears.
Swipe the “Slide to Power Off” slider to the right when it appears on the screen to turn your device off.
Next, Find and Use a Wooden Toothpick
Once you’ve removed your iPhone, you’ll need a small tool that can fit inside the Lightning port without damaging your phone. According to our experiences, these products shouldn’t be used to clean Lightning ports:
- No Metal Items: The pins inside the Lightning connector can easily be damaged by a metal tool such as a paperclip. Additionally, if you forget to turn off your phone, it might cause electronic shorts, damaging it. If a metal tool triggers a short, restarting your iPhone usually reactivates the protection circuitry.
- No Compressed Air: It backfired years ago when we tried using compression air to clean Lightning ports. As a result, dust accumulated behind the screen of the iPhone, where it was impossible to clean without removing the whole device.
- We find that a wooden toothpick works best: Due to its non-conductive nature, it won’t cause an accidental short; it’s also soft enough that it poses a low risk of damaging the Lightning port’s connector pins.
Insert your toothpick gently into the Lightning port on the bottom of your iPhone. Try to remove lint or dust by moving it back and forth. To protect the pins on the bottom side of the connector (facing toward the phone’s back), keep the toothpick centred in the port (between the front and the back of the iPhone).
The toothpick should not be used too forcefully. You could potentially break off the toothpick pieces if you’re too rough, which is worse than the lint you’re removing.
After removing the lint:
- Turn on your iPhone by pressing and holding the top or side button until the Apple logo appears in the centre of the screen.
- See if you can get a solid connection by inserting a known-working Lightning cable
- If the problem persists, try turning off the iPhone and cleaning the port some more. If everything is fine, you should be fine!
A Backup Alternative: Wireless Charging
You might need to contact Apple service if it still doesn’t work after cleaning the iPhone’s charging port. Your iPhone can be repaired or replaced for a fee.
You can also use a wireless charging method such as Qi (supported in iPhone 8 and later) or MagSafe (requires iPhone 12 and later) if you’re in a bind and need to charge your iPhone. If you want to make it happen, you’ll need a Qi charger or a MagSafe charger. Best of luck!