How to Clean iPhone Charging Port: A Step-by-Step Guide

3. It’s not recommended (or warned against) in the official Apple iPhone cleaning guidelines, but Silverman suggests a basic hack that repairmen typically use to get gunk out of cellphone charging ports: “The old-fashioned tech industry secret is to use a toothbrush,” Silverman says. “This is soft and pliable enough to reach into the charging port area to clean and remove the debris. Moving the toothbrush back and forth will remove the lint and debris, allowing the iPhone to charge up again.”

Of course, you shouldn’t be using the wet, toothpaste-clogged toothbrush you just used to shine up your choppers; you definitely want to make sure the toothbrush you use is dry and clean.

What not to do when cleaning iPhone charging port

Warning: Do not get any moisture in the charging port! Additionally, Apple advises against using compressed air in your iPhone charging port, as it can damage the electronics inside your phone. You should never try to force a connector into your charging port; doing so could cause serious damage to both the connector and the iPhone.

Check the charging port for obstructions before you plug anything into it. Avoid cleaning products on your iPhone (or inside its charging port).

Can you use a toothpick or cleaning products to clean an iPhone charging port?

Absolutely do not stick a toothpick (or a screwdriver, or a paper clip, or any other hard object) into your iPhone charging port. “You can’t just [use] a flathead screwdriver or small device,” Silverman says. “It may actually damage the charging port, or cause a short to the phone.”

whitegloved hand scrubbing out disassembled iPhone parts with black toothbrush

If your iPhone is still exhibiting some issues after following these basic cleaning steps, you may want to consider contacting Apple Support or making an appointment for care at an Apple store.

Photo: Rostislav_Sedlacek/Getty Images

What if I have an Android or other phone that isn’t an iPhone? How do I clean an iPhone charging port if the phone is an older model and doesn’t have a USB-C connection?

“This process may be performed across the board for all phones, including Android phones and older iPhones with lightning port connections,” Silverman says of the steps outlined above. You can clean pretty much all cellphone charging ports the same way, whether or not they use USB-C or Lightning cables, regardless of whether they feature an Apple logo—though you should always check the manufacturer’s specific guidelines for your product before you start doing anything to it.

What if my iPhone still isn’t charging after cleaning the iPhone charging port?

If your iPhone still is having issues after your gentle cleaning, it may be time to make an appointment to go to the Apple store and seek the help of Apple Support. “If that doesn’t work, you may be looking at a battery issue, most likely, or on occasion, something deeper on the logic board,” Silverman says.

Frequently asked questions

How do I clean an iPhone with one of Apple’s older connections (pre-Lightning)?

You can use the same method outlined above to clean the charging ports of older generations of cell phones. You should be able to use the same cleaning guidelines for other Apple products with charging ports, such as iPads, AirPods, and so on.

How do I clean an iPhone charging port if it’s gotten wet?

If your iPhone charging port has water in it, unplug your device and follow the cleaning guidelines, making sure not to get any more moisture into the charging port. Let any moisture in the iPhone charging port dry before trying to use it or plugging anything into it. If your iPhone still exhibits some issues, contact Apple Support or make an appointment for care at an Apple store.

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