Cell phones can make things extremely convenient for their owners. Something small enough to fit into a pocket or get lost in a purse can help keep in touch with friends, take a picture of a moment, keep you busy when you’re bored, or get updates on stocks, the weather, or the news. But cell phones are anything but convenient when they’re not working right. One of the most common cell phone issues is a battery that won’t charge at all or that loses power quickly. It is frustrating to plug your cable in, maybe move it around a bit to get it in just the right spot, and not see the charging icon appear. What can you do? Here are some ideas.

Five Trouble Shooting Steps

1. Turn It Off And Turn It On: This is tech repair 101 and the first thing that any repair person or cell phone help desk will ask you to do: turn the device off and then turn it on again. What works for your computer, your modem and other electronics can work just as well for your iPhone. It is a surprising, simple, and effective step.

2. Test Your Phone: Sometimes it isn’t your phone, it is your phone’s cord. As you move your phone cord during regular use, the wires inside can twist and become kinked. Sometimes the plastic outer layer of a cord can tear, showing the wires inside. Or the connection between the phone cord and the device becomes compromised.

Off-brand, less expensive cords may malfunction more quickly than the one that came in the phone’s original box. If you try first with a less expensive cord it is worthwhile to see what a manufacturer’s cord will do. However, if you’ve tried multiple cords and you still can’t get a charge, it may be your device that has the problem.

3. Test Your Outlet Or Other Power Source: It’s a good idea to always be sure that the outlet you’re using is working right and that it hasn’t been affected by a thrown circuit breaker or another power disturbance. If you are using a computer as a charging source, make sure that the computer is properly connected to a power source and is energized. If it is connected to your car, try a different connection to the car’s energy source.

4. Stop Charging Wirelessly: If you’re using wireless charging, try charging the old-fashioned way. Sometimes that does the trick.

5. Inspect The Phone’s Lightning Port:┬áConsider that there may be a problem with your phone’s lightning port. Damage can happen to the port as phones are placed in and out of pockets, stored in purses, or placed in other tight spaces. The port’s effectiveness can also be blocked by dust, lint, and other crumbs. Use a can of air to try to clean out the lightning port and see if that makes a difference. If this doesn’t work but you see possible debris, gently try to loosen it with a toothpick or something else that is thin, pointed, and not made of metal.

When It Is Time To Take The Phone For Service

If you’ve tried these steps and they don’t work it may be time to call in service for help. Start with contacting Apple Support. They can talk you through some additional steps that are specific to the make and model of your device. If that doesn’t work, try making an appointment at an Apple store. If it turns out that your repair is detailed or costly, consider getting a second opinion at another phone shop in your community.