black android smartphone on car center console
iPhone in Car

Do you ever have a problem with your iPhone not charging when you’re driving? This can be frustrating, especially when you need your phone for navigation or entertainment on long drives. In this guide, we’ll look at why this happens and provide practical solutions to make sure your iPhone stays charged while you’re on the go.

Troubleshooting Your iPhone’s Charging Issues in the Car

Quick Checks

Before you dive into more complex solutions, let’s start with the basics:

  • Check your cable: Is it damaged or frayed? Try a different cable.
  • Check your car’s USB port: Is it working? Try plugging in another device.
  • Check your car adapter: If you’re using one, make sure it’s functioning properly. Try a different adapter.
  • Restart your iPhone: Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve charging issues.

Cleaning the Charging Port

Dust, lint, or debris can accumulate in your iPhone’s charging port, preventing a proper connection. Gently clean the port with a soft, dry brush or a can of compressed air.

Updating Your iPhone’s Software

Ensure your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS. Apple frequently releases updates that can fix bugs and improve compatibility.

Resetting Your iPhone’s Settings

If none of the above solutions work, you can try resetting your iPhone’s settings. Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset All Settings. This won’t erase your data, but you’ll need to re-enter your Wi-Fi passwords and other preferences.

Contacting Apple Support

If your iPhone still won’t charge in your car after trying these steps, it’s time to contact Apple Support. They can help you diagnose the problem and recommend further solutions.

iPhone Not Charging in Car: Troubleshooting Guide

Having your iPhone die on a road trip can be a major bummer. But before you despair, try these troubleshooting steps to get your phone juiced up and back on track.

IssuePossible CauseSolution
iPhone not charging at allFaulty car charger, Damaged cable, Dirty or clogged Lightning port, Software glitch1. Try a different car charger and cable. 2. Clean the Lightning port on your iPhone with a compressed air can or toothpick (gently!). 3. Restart your iPhone. 4. Update your iPhone to the latest iOS version.
iPhone charging slowlyLow-power car charger, Weak cable, Debris in Lightning port1. Use a car charger with at least a 2.1 amp output. 2. Replace your cable with a high-quality MFi-certified cable. 3. Clean the Lightning port on your iPhone.
iPhone only charges when in a certain positionDamaged cable, Loose connection1. Inspect your cable for fraying or damage. Replace it if necessary. 2. Make sure the cable is securely plugged into both the car charger and your iPhone.
Car infotainment system not recognizing iPhoneOutdated software, Compatibility issue1. Update your car’s infotainment system to the latest software version. 2. Check if your iPhone model is compatible with the car’s infotainment system.

Additional Tips:

  • Avoid using cheap or off-brand car chargers and cables, as they can damage your iPhone’s battery or Lightning port.
  • If you’re still having trouble charging your iPhone in your car, take it to an Apple authorized service center for further diagnosis and repair.

Common Causes and Solutions

iPhone on vehicle phone holder

Cable and Adapter Issues

The Role of Cables and Adapters: Often, the root cause lies in the cable or adapter used for charging. Not all cables are created equal, and using a non-Apple or worn-out cable can lead to inconsistent charging.

Solution: Opt for genuine Apple cables or certified alternatives. Regularly inspect your cables for damage and replace them if necessary. If you’re using a car adapter, ensure it’s compatible with your iPhone and delivers adequate power.

Car USB Port Limitations

Understanding Car USB Ports: Some car USB ports, especially in older models, offer limited power output, insufficient for charging modern smartphones effectively.

Solution: Use a dedicated car charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket, as these often provide higher power output suitable for smartphones.

Software and Compatibility Issues

Software Glitches: Software updates can sometimes interfere with charging capabilities. Users have reported charging issues post iOS updates, indicating a potential software glitch.

Solution: Keep your iPhone updated to the latest iOS version, as Apple often releases fixes for such issues. If problems persist, consider resetting your settings or contacting Apple support.

Real-World Experiences and Anecdotes

Case Studies from Apple Support Communities

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max Charging Woes: A user with a 2019 Chevy Silverado faced charging issues with their iPhone 11 Pro Max, while older models like the iPhone 7 Plus worked fine. The problem persisted across different vehicles, pointing towards a compatibility issue with newer iPhone models.
  • iOS Update Impact: Another user noticed that their iPhones stopped charging in their cars post an iOS 15 update. This issue affected multiple cars and seemed to be related to the software update.

User Tips and Tricks

  • Cleaning the Lightning Port: Lint and debris in the iPhone’s lightning port can prevent proper connection. Users recommend using a non-metallic tool to gently clean the port.
  • Checking Car Firmware: In some cases, updating the car’s firmware can resolve compatibility issues, especially in vehicles with integrated charging systems.

External Insights and Perspectives

Expert Opinions

Experts suggest that the issue often lies in the power output of the car’s USB port or the quality of the charging accessories. They recommend using high-quality, compatible chargers and cables to ensure consistent charging.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis reveals that iPhones require a certain power threshold for charging, which some car USB ports fail to meet. Upgrading to a dedicated car charger is often the simplest solution.

Practical Tips for iPhone Users

  • Use High-Quality Accessories: Invest in good quality, Apple-certified charging accessories.
  • Regular Updates and Resets: Keep your iPhone updated and reset settings if charging issues arise post-update.
  • Seek Professional Help: If the problem persists, consult with Apple support or a professional technician.


While it’s a common issue, the iPhone not charging in the car can usually be resolved with the right approach. By understanding the potential causes and implementing the solutions outlined in this guide, you can ensure your iPhone stays charged, no matter where your travels take you.

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