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How to clean an iPhone’s charging port without breaking it

iPhone charging port
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

One thing all iPhone owners need to know is how to clean an iPhone’s charging port. While other areas of this phone are regularly cleaned, such as the screen and phone case, the charging port is often overlooked. This is by no means an area which needs cleaning frequently, but if you don’t do it, eventually dust, debris and all kinds of gunk can build up in there — which will ultimately result in your iPhone failing to charge. 

The trouble is, the charging port is remarkably fragile, much like the iPhone speakers, and if you don’t take care while cleaning it you can cause irrevocable damage. Luckily, we’ve pulled together this comprehensive guide to take you through exactly what you should and should not do. Here’s how to clean an iPhone’s charging port so you can get it charging once again.     

(And in case you have got water in your phone, you can read our top tips on how to get water out of your phone without using rice).

Why is my iPhone's charging port dirty? 

You might question how so much gunk has actually built up in your charging port in the first place. It’s not surprising really when you consider that most of us carry our phones around in our pockets and bags.  

What you will need



Compressed air (optional) 

Here, there’s all sorts of lint and debris that can get caught up in the recesses. Every time you plug in your charger, this dust also gets pushed further into the port and so it will inevitably build up.  

How to clean your iPhone's charging port


1. First things first, switch off your iPhone if you haven’t already done so. 

2. Next, grab a flashlight and have a look at what you’re dealing with. It’s a good idea to do this after each step as well so you can see your progress. 

3. Apple doesn’t recommend using compressed air (opens in new tab) to clean iPhones. However this is a well-known, successful method, so we’ve given directions for those who choose to use it. Using a can of compressed air, such as Falcon Dust (opens in new tab), hold it upright and give the port a few short blasts to clear away any immediate dust. Try plugging in your iPhone afterwards to see if this has fixed the problem. If not, move onto the next step.

4. You can try to dislodge any visible debris using a toothpick, but you must do so very carefully as the charging point is easily susceptible to damage. Some sites recommend wrapping a toothpick in cotton, but this can potentially add to the debris in the port, so we suggest sticking to the toothpick. 

Very gently, insert the toothpick loosely and move it from side to side to see if it picks up any immediate debris. Don’t put pressure on it at this point. If you notice debris on the toothpick, wipe it off with a dry cloth or use a fresh toothpick to continue. Continue to try plugging in the phone between movements to see if you’ve fixed the problem. 

Toothpick in iPhone charging port

(Image credit: Future)

5. If there’s still no response, gently scrape the toothpick against the port’s walls, again regularly checking the toothpick for gunk. It is essential that you only exert a very light pressure on the port as it’s so easily damaged. Stay away from the sides of the port as well, as the anchors are particularly sensitive.

6. If you’ve opted to use compressed air, you can also give the port a couple of blasts between toothpick insertions. You shouldn’t insert anything other than a toothpick as metal tools will cause damage and result in the whole port needing replacing — not ideal.

7. You can continue this cycle of cleaning until the iPhone responds. If there’s no luck, you will need to take it to an Apple service center. 

If your iPhone is not charging, these tips might help you solve the problem as well. 

Chances are your iPhone's charging port isn't the only crevice filled with lint; be sure to check out our other guide on how to clean an iPhone's speakers. We also have plenty of other iPhone tutorials to help you get the most out of your Apple device, so why not start with our guides on how to save battery life on iPhone, how to identify plants on iPhone and how to change ringer volume using side buttons on iPhone.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed kitchen appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be stand mixers as she loves to bake in her spare time.