8 Reasons Your iPhone Charges so Slowly

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Bored, frustrated, or sad woman looking at smartphone impatiently or upset
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Does it seem like your Apple phone is always dying fast and then taking forever to charge back up?

You’re not alone in dealing with this common issue. The good news is that you can take action to charge your iPhone faster.

Read on for several factors that can hamper the charging speed of your iPhone.

You’re still using it

African American woman with cellphone
Rocketclips, Inc. / Shutterstock.com

If you’re using your device while it’s plugged in — a common situation if you’re on the go, perhaps at the airport — you can expect it to charge more slowly than usual. Chatting or browsing obviously consumes power, so if you want to charge the device as quickly as possible, turn it off.

It’s too hot or cold

iPhone
blackzheep / Shutterstock.com

Extreme temperatures can affect the performance of your phone — they can both sap a battery faster and stop its charging entirely.

This is partially by design, says Apple:

“iOS and iPadOS devices have built-in protections to prevent overheating. If the interior temperature of your device exceeds the normal operating range, your device will protect its internal components by attempting to regulate its temperature.”

It may do this by slowing or stopping charging. When it’s too hot or cold, your device can turn off and stop charging.

You use a damaged charging cable

Frayed and broken old Apple iPhone charging cable
Nami Uchida / Shutterstock.com

An old charging cable that’s frayed or damaged may work intermittently or only at certain fiddly angles.

Even if there isn’t visible damage to a cable, that doesn’t mean it’s fine. If your phone is charging slowly, testing another cable — preferably a newer one — is a good idea.

You use a third-party charger or cable

iPhone 6 charging with low or dead battery
Tada Images / Shutterstock.com

Even a brand-new cable or charger might not fix the problem if it’s the wrong one. Some are poorly made or may have the wrong wattage compared to the official products.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid third-party stuff entirely. It’s a legitimate way to save money, but you’re more likely to have reliable charging if you go for products that are MFi certified by Apple. They use particular icons on accessories and packaging.

You charge through your computer

PIKHANET / Shutterstock.com

Charging your phone through your computer or laptop can sometimes be more convenient than plugging it into the wall. If you’re on the go, that might be your only option.

But wall outlets are better.

“Charging your phone through a wall socket with a charger rather than a USB port on a computer or laptop can help to increase the charging speed,” says Anker, a company that makes portable power banks and other electronics accessories.

You charge wirelessly

MacBook Pro, Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max smartphone with wireless charging on a table with a notebook, glasses, and cat.
LL_studio / Shutterstock.com

Wireless charging sounds great in theory: fewer bent cables, less tangled mess. But there are two downsides. First, you may find your charging pad has a sweet spot, and if your phone isn’t sitting on it just right, it may not actually start charging.

And second, wireless charging is designed to be slower.

“The wireless charging process with most wireless chargers can only output a maximum of 15 watts, which is why it is slower compared to wired charging,” says Anker.

Xfinity says, “Wireless charging typically takes 30-80% longer to fully charge your device than a cable.” That’s the tradeoff for convenience.

The battery is old

think4photop / Shutterstock.com

Sometimes the problem isn’t with your charger, your charging habits or where you charge. Sometimes, your phone just has a worn-out battery.

Over time, certain things can degrade the lifespan of your battery and how much charge it can hold, as we explain in “6 Mistakes That Destroy Your Phone and Laptop Batteries.”

You can easily check if this is an issue in your phone settings. Apple explains:

“Go to Settings > Battery, then tap Battery Health & Charging.

iPhone displays information about your battery’s capacity, peak performance, and whether your battery needs to be serviced.”

You’ll see notes on your phone’s maximum capacity compared to when it was new. If you see a message that “your battery’s health is significantly degraded,” Apple recommends you consider replacing your battery.

You use Clean Energy Charging

khlongwangchao / Shutterstock.com

Clean Energy Charging is a relatively new feature introduced in iOS 16.1. It’s designed to “try to reduce your carbon footprint by selectively charging when lower carbon-emission electricity is available.”

In other words, your smartphone might decide now is not a great time to charge, and it’s going to wait a while for the good of the planet. This setting is turned on by default when setting up a phone or upgrading to iOS 16.1.

“To turn off the feature, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging and turn off Clean Energy Charging,” Apple says.

You can also temporarily override it from the lock screen if you happen to see the notification. Just tap and hold the Clean Energy Charging notification, then tap “Charge Now.”

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.