What to Do When Your Phone or Tablet Won’t Charge

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If your phone just stops charging, even when it’s plugged in, it doesn’t mean it’s time to shop for a new one. Here are a few simple steps you can take before calling the pros or opening your wallet.

You go to plug in your phone, and … you’re not getting any power. Maybe it says “Not Charging” in the corner. Maybe it says it’s charging, but the battery doesn’t seem to be going up at all. Or maybe your phone isn’t even recognizing that it’s plugged in. Whatever the case, here are a few troubleshooting tips to get your phone juiced back up.

Try Another Cable or Wall Adapter
Let’s start with the obvious: your cable or wall adapter could be damaged, resulting in a bad connection that leaves your phone deprived of power. If you have another charger lying around, try a different cable, adapter, and even a different wall outlet. If your phone charges fine after swapping those out, you know one of them is probably the culprit, and can start doing some detective work to narrow it down.

In some cases, you may just be using the wrong charger — not all adapters are rated for the same power delivery. (The wall adapter that came with your old e-reader probably won’t charge your new iPad Pro, for example.) In that case, you just need to make sure you use the right one for the right device.

In other cases, you may have a cable or adapter that doesn’t work at all, and it’s destined for the garbage can (or the e-waste center, if you’re feeling environmentally friendly). Cable failures happen from time to time, but they happen a lot more with cheap, no-name products, so try to stick to well-known and respected brands. It’s tempting to buy cheap chargers from the checkout line at the drugstore — especially when Apple sells theirs for a hefty $40 a pop — but don’t skimp. Cheap chargers are not only unreliable, but can even be a fire hazard in some cases, so go with a trusted company like Anker if you want to save a little money.

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