Why Does My Phone Take so Long to Charge?

Smartphones have become one of the most important communication tools among people in the industrialized world. Regardless of your profession or locale, you probably use a smartphone to text friends and colleagues, look up addresses and directions, and check for updates on news and weather. On a typical day, it might be rare for you to go for more than 10 minutes without flipping through your smartphone.

If you are among the many people who feel like they go through withdrawals when they cannot use their smartphones, charging the device can be an agonizing process, especially if the progress lags at 2% after minutes that seem like hours. If you constantly have to cope with a slow charge, the problem could be down to a bad USB cable or a faulty power source. Alternately, if the battery is charging so slowly that you can barely power on the phone, there might be internal problems with the device. This article examines the main reasons for a phone charging slowly.

The Cable

With smartphones, one of the most common causes of a slow charge is a weak cable. If you have owned your smartphone for several years, the charging cable that came in the original package might have outlived its usefulness. Cables can get stressed over time and slowly lose their ability to transfer energy.

If you regularly plug the cable into the USB port on your PC or laptop, you might have unintentionally stressed the end of the cord as you connected and disconnected it from the power source. This can easily happen in makeshift settings, such as when you power on your computer on public transit or in a café. If you also use the laptop to juice up your smartphone in these settings, the haphazard placement of the laptop could cause you to move more erratically than normal and stress the power cable.

Imagine a scenario where you board a subway train and need to complete an assignment or log into your work-team database. After you find a seat, you pull out your laptop to place it on your lap, with or without a book underneath for added stability and support.

While this setup could easily suffice for some simple activities on your laptop, image if you also needed to charge your phone in this setting. You get a voice mail from one of your work colleagues but notice that the battery is low, so you connect the charger cable and plug that into the USB slot. Unconsciously, you tilt the laptop as you press and force the plug into its slot. With that action, you have likely caused the kind of stress that could gradually take its toll on the charger cord and USB slot.

A charger cable can become weak at various points along its length. If the cord is often pulled, one of the internal wires could get stressed or even snapped, thereby reducing the cord’s transferring capacity. A cord can also get stressed if you constantly have it bent, entangled or wadded up in a ball or a knot. If you normally place the cord under your laptop as you charge the phone, the weight of the computer could easily stress the cord.

One of the most venerable spots on a charger cord is just below the molded strain relief, as this is the first point where the cord becomes flexible. If you keep the cord sharply bent at this point, wires could easily kink or snap in this area. The more this happens, the less effective the cord will be as a charge connection.

To determine whether your charger cord is the main culprit, try a different cord to see whether that one gives you a faster charge. You will likely need to replace your charger cord after a few years of use. A worn charger cable might be technology’s way of saying that it’s time to look at some of the newer smartphone models on the market.

If the USB slot in your computer becomes loose and allows the charging cable to wiggle up and down in its slot, the socket has probably incurred stress. While the USB slot might still work as a connecting device, some of the connecting points could be stressed out or rubbed off, hence its inability to give your phone a charge.

The Source

If your smartphone is slow to charge and you have tried different USB cables, the next thing to check is the power source. Granted, if you regularly use the USB slot on your PC or laptop to charge your phone, that could easily be the source of your problem. Simply put, computer USB ports tend to charge slowly because they act as secondary power sources. After all, computers do not generate power — they rely on it themselves to function. When you plug your smartphone into a USB port on your laptop, you are basically asking the laptop to allocate small amounts of the incoming power that it needs to function.

When you need to charge your smartphone, the best source of power is a wall outlet. This way, you will draw directly from a source of energy, rather than leaching off a secondary energy supply. To charge your phone from the main outlet, you will need to plug the charger cable into a USB-to-AC adapter.

Most smartphones are sold with such adapters, so you probably already have one on hand. If you have never used this adapter before, connect your smartphone and plug the adapter into an AC outlet. As the phone charges, watch the progress on the screen to see whether you notice a difference. Does the phone charge faster? If yes, you have solved the problem.

There might be some situations in which you will need to charge your smartphone but lack any available AC outlets. If you are in a public setting, this could easily be the case, especially if you go to a coffee shop where outlet access is at a premium. To avoid this situation, make sure to charge your phone at home each day before you head out for your usual tasks.

If you expect to find yourself in situations where you will not have access to an AC outlet, you can try boosting the power availability from the USB outlet on your PC or laptop with a split USB cable with two male ends. This plugs into adjacent USB slots on your computer and transfers double amounts of energy into your smartphone.

Wrong Charger

A phone charging slowly could just be a case of using the wrong charger. If the cable seems loose or too tight, it might not be the right cable for your phone. You could also be using an old cable. New USB cables ports are designed for fast transfer, as long as you connect newer devices optimized for these speeds. Using a new device with an older cable means you likely won't experience fast charging.

One often overlooked problem is dirt, dust and lint, which can get into charger ports and obstruct the transfer of energy. If dust has accumulated on and around your charger, the ports could easily have specs of dust inside. This has often been the source of inexplicable problems for computer users. Without you even noticing, dirt can land on the tip of a USB cord and end up stuffed inside the port when you plug in the cord.

Dust and dirt can get into charging ports and render the power transfer slow and ineffectual. If the dirt is thick, it might prevent the port from working altogether, even if there is nothing wrong with the port itself.

To pinpoint dust within a charging port, use a magnifying glass and flashlight. If you notice any dust or lint, make sure there is no power connected to the charger. Remove the obstruction with a plastic toothpick or canned air. If transfer speed improves after this, you will know the source of the earlier problem.

Your Phone

In many cases, a slow-charging phone is merely one of the symptoms of an ailing phone. If five years have passed since you purchased your current smartphone, chances are the internal mechanisms have worn down to the point where the phone is no longer capable of performing like it did in the past. This is just one of the inevitable consequences of technology. Smartphones have an in-built obsolescence factor because manufacturers are continually developing their products and want you to purchase a replacement every few years.

If your phone has grown increasingly slow and difficult to charge, regardless of the USB cord or power source, check the battery. After a few years of use, a rechargeable battery can wear out and lose its ability to retain energy. While the manufacturer might simply tell you to buy a new phone, you can save money by replacing the battery instead. For this to work, you will need to find a compatible battery for your phone. Depending on the phone, you might be able to upgrade to a newer battery with superior charging power.

A phone could also lose its charging power due to deteriorating internal mechanisms. If you also have problems with the display screen or apps, there is likely a problem with the smartphone hard drive or memory card. You could have a situation where several of the internal components wear down at once. If you discover more than one problem with your smartphone, you will need to make an investment choice. Would the cost of repairs be worth the price, or is it simply time to replace the phone? If the latter choice would save you money, you know the answer.

With many of the newer smartphones on the market, you could eliminate USB cables altogether and charge your phone with a wireless stationary pad. This way, you will not face any of the same problems in the future with worn cords and USB slots. Even though most wireless pads transfer energy slower than cables, many of the newer smartphones on the market retain energy for up to a day on a full charge. Therefore, you can place your smartphone in the charger when you go to bed and have it fully charged for the next day once you wake up.

Before you purchase a wireless charging pad, check the product reviews to make sure that the brand is reputable. Some wireless chargers on the market have been known to generate excess heat. You would not want your smartphone to be exposed to such conditions because excess heat can ruin a phone’s battery or CPU.

Even when all the basic charging issues have been resolved, there are still ways you can conserve and maximize the energy in your smartphone. For starters, smartphones are typically loaded with useless apps that consume energy, even if you do not actively use them. Like most smartphone users, you might not even know all the apps on your smartphone, especially if they came preloaded when you bought the device.

To reduce wasteful app-related energy consumption, examine the apps that you never use and search for programs that you can remove from your phone. After cleaning house, you will probably free up space and prolong the charge cycles on your smartphone.

Sell Your Slow Charging Device At An ecoATM Near You

Phones charge slowly when they lack the right cords, connections or power supply. A smartphone can also fail to charge if the parts are old or outdated. If you have an iPhone charging slowly, there are many things that you can do to get around the problem. Likewise, a slow charging Samsungs Galaxy S8 issue can be annoying but not insurmountable. Even if you no longer want the phone in question, you can bring your old phone into an ecoATM kiosk for instant cash. Find an ecoATM close to you by visiting our kiosk locator site.