Many disasters can befall a smartphone, but one of the most common is when they suddenly decide not to charge any more. There can be a number of reasons for this, so we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to try out before heading to the repair shop and a nasty bill.

See also: PC won’t boot? Here’s how to fix it 

Common accessory faults that cause phones not to charge

When doing any kind of troubleshooting the first thing to try is ruling out the most likely culprits that could be causing the problem. Below are a few suggestions, all of which are easy, quick, and don’t require a screwdriver of any kind. 

Check your cable

Often the cheapest part of your setup will be the cable. These can fail if they are bent too much, used too much, or just badly made. If your phone isn’t charging then a good idea is to swap the cable you’re using for a different one that you know works.

Borrow a friend’s or work colleague’s if you don’t have spares at home. 

Plug the working cable into your charger, then into the phone, and see if this makes any difference at all. If not, that means the cable is fine and the problem lies elsewhere.

Check your charger

Along similar lines, also check that the charger is working properly. Again, try using an alternative one that you know works, to see if that produces a different outcome.

If either the cable or charger is found to be faulty then you can order inexpensive replacements online from the likes of Amazon.

Be careful to read the reviews though, as you do hear horror stories of poorly made ones breaking easily or even causing damage to devices. Check out our guide to the best charging cables 2017 to ensure you get a quality product.

Is your case too big?

If you’ve recently bought a new, protective case for your phone then it’s worth making sure that your cable still fits properly in the phone’s charging port.

Bigger cases can sometimes push the cable out just enough to break the connection, which results in a phone not charging. It’s a long shot, but worth a look.

Common handset problems that can stop a phone charging

Ok, so it's not your cable, charger, or case. Time to look at the handset itself. 

If you've left it for a long time with a flat battery, it could need 'shocking' into life again. Some people recommend turning the mains switch off and on a few times in quick succession to do this.

It's also worth checking the manufacturer's website or support forums to see if there are any special key combinations that can help bring a phone back to life and enable it to charge again.

Clean the charging port

Over time charging ports can become a haven for crumbs, dust, and an assortment of members from the fluff family. A build-up of flotsam in your port can cause charging issues, so try blowing into it to remove any unwanted clutter.

how to fix a phone that won't charge

If the detritus seems a little stubborn you could always, very carefully, use a vacuum cleaner or the end of a paper clip to try remove the blockages. Just be sure to turn off the phone first and fit the plastic nozzle on the hoover to avoid any scratches.

Another alternative is a tissue folded up to a sharp point that you can insert into the port and use to clean it out.

Have you updated your phone recently?

It’s not often, but on some occasions a new update to the operating system can cause charging issues or battery management errors.

If you’ve only recently updated the OS on your device and noticed the issue appear at around the same time, then they could be linked.  

This can be a tricky one to fix as, ideally, you’ll want to roll-back to the previous version of the OS, which isn't always possible. 

Instead the best solution is to check if any newer updates have become available. These usually fix any problems that previous iterations have caused.

To do this, Android users should go to Settings>Software Update>Download updates manually, and see if an update is available.

Those on an Apple device need to navigate to Settings>General>Software Update, and see if there is an newer version listed. 

Change the battery

With most modern phones this really isn’t an option, as the batteries are sealed into the casing. But, if you do have a device with a removable battery, then swapping it for a new one might be the way to go.

Over time batteries lose the ability to hold a charge. This is usually gradual, but a sudden failure can occur. Again, to save you spending money unnecessarily, try to briefly borrow one from a friend, or even pop into a mobile phone shop and ask nicely if you can test your theory.

Time for a new phone?

If you’ve exhausted all avenues then there are only a couple of options left on the table. You can take the handset to a repair shop (remember, if it’s under warranty you can bring it back to the retailer you bought it from), or consider replacing it.

Obviously, the latter is a more expensive route, but if your device is old and starting to develop problems then it could become a case of throwing good money after bad if you have it repaired.   

If you do decide it’s time to upgrade then there are a wide range of excellent new handsets available at the moment, many of which you will find in our guide to the best phones of 2017.