Phone not charging? Try cleaning out lint

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Phone not charging? Try this before buying a new one.

If you're having problems charging your cellphone, a simple fix could save you hundreds of dollars.

Matt Donegan spent nearly $700 after he was told he needed a new phone, but it turns out there was an easy solution. Now, he hopes sharing his story will help others who may have the same problem.

The issue started in April, when he noticed his 3-year-old iPhone 6 was no longer charging properly.

"I could charge it, but only if I held the charging cord in it," he said.

He made a trip to the Apple store, where a store employee told him the phone could not be repaired.

"He looked at the (charging) port, and he said it's completely damaged," Donegan said. "Your phone is ruined."

He paid $650 for a new iPhone 6 Plus, but about six months later, Donegan was getting a laptop repaired at Sonic Device Repair in North Carolina and decided to take his old phone in for a second opinion.

"Within 30 seconds, he got a little tool that looked like a dental tool," he said. "(He) took the lint out, plugged in the charging cord, and it works like it's brand new."

About 80 percent of the work done at Sonic Device Repair involves iPhones, and co-owner and lead technician Bobby Paine said the problem Donegan was having is a common issue with a typically easy fix.

"I have people that come in here two, three, four times a week with the exact same problem," he said.

Paine said the way most cellphone charging ports are designed makes it easy for lint and other items to get stuck inside.

"Over time, pocket lint and things like that get stuck down inside the charging port," he said. "And when you put the cord in, it just pushes it to the back and (the charger) doesn't fit in anymore."

He said Donegan's port wasn't damaged at all, and he didn't charge him for removing the lint.

"I don't charge for four seconds of work, I think that's kind of silly," Paine said. "Even if that wasn't his problem and he actually did damage the port, that could've very easily been replaced. It's about a $50 job."
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How to get lint out of your cellphone's charging port.


Donegan said he's glad he was able to get the phone fixed, but he wishes the Apple employee would have cleaned the charging port before he bought a new phone.

"There was absolutely no reason why I needed a new phone," he said.

Both Donegan and Paine agree that it's always worth getting a second opinion.

"One hundred percent," Paine said. "If you're at a carrier store or an actual phone store where they sell devices, because they are in the 'new phone' business."

The Troubleshooter team reached out to Apple to ask about their policies for fixing charging ports on iPhones. A spokesperson said he didn't know the specifics surrounding Donegan's interaction, but if a customer has an issue with their charging port, employees are trained to try cleaning the port as part of the diagnostic process.

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