10 reasons why your Android battery is charging slowly and how to fix them

by: John DyeOctober 2, 2015

You can remember a time when it didn’t take all night to charge your phone. Back in those golden days of yore, your Android’s battery meter went from a pixel-wide strip of red to a fat green bar in a quarter of an hour. Nowadays, however, your poor phone takes ages to recharge, and you’re constantly scrambling from one charge session to the next. Or maybe your phone has always been a snail-paced charger, constantly left in the dust by your friends’ devices.

Whatever your experience, it’s time to finally put your smartphone under a diagnostic microscope and get to the root of its slow-charging issue. Odds are your phone is suffering from one of these ten ailments, and we’re going to show you how to fix it if possible.

We’re going to tackle these roughly in order of decreasing likelihood, so let’s start with the most common culprit…

Possibility 1: You have a bad cable

usb cable Shutterstock

If your phone is charging slowly, checking the USB cable should always be your first step. It’s actually pretty understandable once you consider all the wear and tear your basic USB cable goes through in the course of everyday use. Many people keep using the same charger setup that came with their device for years, unaware that USB cables tend to get beat up pretty easily.

USB cables are dropped, bent, stepped on, left in cars during scorching and freezing conditions, and plugged in and out of devices on a daily basis. One thing to keep in mind is that USB cables are designed to be less robust than your device’s port. When push comes to shove, you’d rather have your cable break than your phone’s port because the cable is much easier (and cheaper) to replace. That’s why manufacturers deliberately construct USB cables to take the brunt wear-and-tear.

Most of the time, it's the USB cable's fault

Ever have one of those cables that didn’t seem to “stick” in the phone anymore? It just frustratingly falls out for, like, no reason. Take a look at the underside of the USB male connector. You’ll see two thin little “teeth” that keep the USB firmly plugged into your device. Those are made to bend pretty easily in the event of any trauma – like your phone getting yanked quickly off the charger – and once they’re bent, they’re toast. Also, look inside the front end of the connector. You’ll find a line of tiny little prongs. Those are made of relatively soft metal, because if one gets slightly out of line, you don’t want it damaging your phone’s port.

In short, lots can go wrong with a USB cable and they are manufactured to be wimps about it. Grab a new USB cable, and you should be good to go. This and this alone probably constitutes 90% of slow-charging problems. If you swap cables and keep experiencing problems, though, then feel free to move along to…

Possibility 2: You have a weak power source


If you’re using your PC to charge your phone, then your phone is going to charge very slowly. Even with USB 3.0, the standard energy output is only .9A (.5mA for USB 2.0). And that’s under ideal circumstances; any damage to your USB cable or ports can knock that meager flow of energy even lower. Likewise, if you’re using wireless charging, you’re going to get a pretty glacial charge as well. No one’s arguing that wireless charging isn’t cool – it certainly is – but we’re kind of butting our heads against physics and safety at this point. Long story short, it’s just plain faster to plug your phone in.

Wireless-chargers-testingRelated: Best wireless chargers – how they work and perform17

So yeah, there’s your solution. A lot of device owners use inefficient methods because they just think “charging is charging,” but currently the fastest way to get your battery back to full is to use a dedicated wall charger and physically plug your device into it. If you’re doing this and you still have sluggish charging, the problem might lie in your home’s wiring (if it’s a particularly old building), or it could be that…

Possibility 3: You have a bad adapter


Yeah, that little blocky thing that plugs into the wall. Maybe a power surge left it a little wonky or it got kicked around during a move. Once again, this device is made to take on the brunt of any trauma rather than your phone, so they tend to not be the most stalwart little devices. Grab a new one and get back to charging full-speed.

Possibility 4: Your phone may be outmoded

It can be a touchy subject, but it might be time to update your device. Modern devices have processors that support more rapid charging, and some devices have turbocharging capabilities. If your phone feels like it’s charging slower compared to people who have newer devices, this might be your issue.

However, even if you’ve got a solid device that you know used to charge faster (not only compared to your peers), the sad reality is that things fall apart. The center doesn’t hold. Hardware decays. The falcon cannot hear the falconer, and phones are not immune to the inexorable pull of entropy dragging everything to the ultimate heat death of the universe.

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Also, you could have a bad battery.

Possibility 5: You have a bad battery

lg g4 vs lg g3 aa (9 of 16)

There have been many instances of manufacturers issuing recalls for whole batches of batteries. Search online to see if your phone’s model came with a bad battery, and see if you can acquire a replacement from your provider. Also, like your phone in general, batteries just get old and bad.

If you happen to own a device such as the LG G4, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4, good news! If your battery has gone bad, you can purchase a new one from Amazon and pop it into your phone right away when it’s delivered. If you own a device with a non-removable battery such as the Galaxy S6, Note 5, or Moto X Pure Edition, though, you’ll have to send the device in to the manufacturer to get it replaced.

samsung galaxy s6 edge unboxing aa (19 of 20)See also: 5 tips to improve the Galaxy S6 Edge’s battery life23

Possibility 6: The Enemy is You

Take a look in the mirror, because it’s time for some introspection. How addicted to Facebook are you? Do you have a Candy Crush Saga problem? Do you habitually play with your phone while it’s charging?

A surprising number of smartphone users aren’t aware that the biggest drain on their phone’s battery is the screen. Keeping that gorgeous display lit up with high-resolution Facebook drama will use up battery even as your phone soaks it up. If you combine this with one of the other problems above, you might find yourself in a situation where you are using battery power faster than your phone can take it in.

If you need your phone to charge quickly, give it a rest while it’s on the charger.

Possibility 7: Background apps are sapping your battery

nexus 5x first look aa (11 of 28)

Although your screen is the number one battery sucker, you might have some sneaky apps running in the background that are constantly draining power, causing your phone to charge slower. In addition to charging sluggishly, does your phone also feel like it runs through its battery life faster than it used to? If so, this may be your issue. Apps in Android often boot themselves up or run in the background after only being opened for a moment. Although this used to be a bigger problem than it currently is–Android is getting better and better at efficiently managing resources–having a rogue app or two can give your phone’s performance a nasty hit.

The easiest solution here is to grab a good task manager and check it frequently to see what’s running when it shouldn’t be. When you locate a misbehaving app, try uninstalling it and see if your battery life and charge speed is improved over the next few days.

Possibility 8: Your USB port is obstructed

nexus 6p first look aa (7 of 23)

Your phone spends all day rattling around in your pocket or purse with all manner of lint, dust, and particles. It’s pretty common for a USB port to get a little bit of that trash lodged inside of it. If you plugged in your charger without noticing, it may have packed the obstruction in even deeper, which might be preventing your charger from making a good connection.

Using a bright light and perhaps magnification, look around inside your phone’s USB port for anything that shouldn’t be in there. If you see something that obviously doesn’t belong, grab a thin, pointed object and carefully try to remove it. Remember playing that board game Operation as a kid? We’re in that kind of territory here. Be very careful not to damage any of the port’s components, or you could end up with a bigger problem than you currently have.

I recommend using a plastic (not wooden) toothpick if you can find one. Alternatively, giving your port a good scrub with a dry, brand new toothbrush is a very effective and safe way to make sure it’s free of any blockage.

Possibility 9: Your USB port is damaged

Oh boy. This is what we were hoping it wasn’t. If you’ve made it this far, and your phone still isn’t charging correctly, then you may have broken or bent a pin inside your phone’s USB port. At this point, you should really consider taking your phone to a professional for repair. If you got insurance from your cellular provider, then you may be able to get this issue repaired for cheap or free. Take your phone by a shop and get a quote on a repair job.

Possibility 10: Your USB port is corroded


Yes, you might also have some corrosion in there from sweat or humidity. Corrosion is particularly vicious little problem, because it creates a film over the connective hardware that prevents a proper charge, but even worse, if you don’t get rid of it, it can keep eating away at your device, causing larger and larger issues.

Taking your phone's life into your own hands is risky business

Once again, you should really consider professional help at this point. Going forward, you risk voiding your phone’s warranty and doing serious damage to the device. However, if you decide to take your phone’s life into your own hands, and you are comfortable and familiar with the process of disassembling and reassembling mobile devices, then you should know that many corrosion problems can be dealt with using just white vinegar and rubbing alcohol.

Disassemble your device to expose the area of corrosion. The intricacies of this process outstrip the scope of this article and will vary from device to device, so once again, unless you’ve done this before and the phrase “disassemble your device” doesn’t make your stomach jerk viscerally, take your phone to a professional. For those moving forward, most corrosion can be removed by using a cotton swab dabbed in distilled white vinegar. Rub down all the corrosion you see with a light touch, and be careful not to get vinegar into the uncorroded areas. I probably don’t have to say this, but getting vinegar into your phone is bad.

Once you’ve coated the corrosion with vinegar, wait 5-8 minutes, then use the tip of a paper towel to remove the vinegar. Repeat this process until there is no sign of corrosion. This accomplished, dab the area with rubbing alcohol on the tip of a cotton swab and let the device air-dry for half an hour. Reassemble your phone, and you should be good to go!


Whew, I think that just about covers it. If you’re getting a slow charge, I hope you found the solution you needed on this list. And I hope it didn’t have to come to you sitting with all your phone’s parts spread around you like a mobile autopsy.

Did we miss anything? Have you experienced any problems with crappy charging that don’t appear on this list? Got a better solution to one of the problems listed above? Let us know in the comments!

  • Daggett Beaver

    Wireless charging: That eliminates all of the USB/USB port problems.

    • Marc Perrusquia

      And swapping batteries.

      • Karly Johnston

        You still have to charge the battery with the USB port.

        • Marc Perrusquia

          Spare batteries usually come with charging cradles for them. My Note 4 and G4 have them. Don’t have to use a USB port to charge those. Makes me really miss the removable battery on my s6 edge+.

          • Karly Johnston

            The charger has a port… the point is, pulling the back off a phone and hauling around a battery is less convenient than using a powerbank or charger case. The only advantage is when it comes time to replace the battery but few want to keep a phone that long.

          • Daggett Beaver

            A battery charger or a wireless charger has a port, but you don’t have to keep plugging it in and unplugging it, so you’re not likely to damage anything.

          • Karly Johnston

            Like pulling a battery in and out of a phone isn’t likely to damage anything? I broke three different backs on the old EVO 3D and the contact pins. If you can’t plug in a phone without damaging it, you should move back to the zoo.

          • Marc Perrusquia

            I can turn that same stupid comment right back at you. If you can’t pull a battery out of a phone without damaging it you should move back to the zoo.

          • Karly Johnston

            Is that why there is a secondary market for Samsung replacement back covers? I dont see one for usb port replacement…

          • Marc Perrusquia

            Pretty sure most people buy new back covers because they lost the original or want another color back….

          • Karly Johnston

            More likely they broke it…

          • omshhaol

            Actually, on my S4 which I had for just over 18 months, I had to replace the back TWICE… Mainly because I was switching batteries. Mind you, I was also using a charger just as often)…

            And no, I don’the live in a zoo… But more importantly, you should keep in mind that the S4 (as on example) Haslam a pretty things plastic battery cover…

          • Marc Perrusquia

            Wow you’ve clearly never used a battery cradle sweetheart. It has an additional pass through usb port that you can CHOOSE to use. It charges the battery with connection points. The idea is that you have multiple batteries charged and just swap them out. You do realize it’s an OPTION to use them. And last time I checked a spare battery is a fraction of the size of a decently sized powerbank. It doesn’t hurt to have an extra OPTION. I swap batteries on my G4 all the time you literally go from 0 to 100 in seconds. A lot more convenient then a powerbank or a ugly bulky charger case. The G4 also has quick charge if I want to use that. My s6 edge+ only has quick charge, and no removable battery and that gets annoying really fast. Next time think, or at least do some basic research before commenting.

          • м ч × Φ м α † ● s ı s

            why does it get annoying?.. for me personally would be annoying to have to turn it off and on again, I don’t even like to reboot my device -let alone turn it off to remove the case, peel off the back cover, replace the battery and ‘reassemble’ it again to turn it back on and wait while it boots.. Do you really consider all that more convenient than just plugging it? can you do all that while walking or at a crowded place? or in the middle of an important conference call that would disconnect everyone because you’re the one who placed it? (spoiler: you can’t).. I even have my usb cable always ready slightly sticking out from a specific place of my bagpack, so if/when my battery is about to die I just pull it and plug it and keep going -no further hassle, no interruption to my music or calls or downloads or whatever.. YOU do some thinking next time, please, I don’t think it’s a matter of “basic research” but taking your own experience into account or even imagining possible scenarios you might be faced with.. besides, unibody designs don’t get all scattered around when they fall and you don’t have to turn them back on bc the battery fell out

          • omshhaol

            What would be the point of buying an additional battery and a cradle (or both in one package) if you are gping to limit yourself to using a charging cable?

            And the reason a spare battery is typically smaller than a power bank is that the battery, can only carry a charge for… (wait for it)… one battery… Whereas a powerbank can often carry a charge that will be suffificient for multiple full battery charges.

  • Guest123

    There’s also a possibility that the cable used is not a fast charging cable.

  • Tuomas Raunio

    Correction: 500mA from usb 2.0, not 0.5mA

    • TDN

      Wowser! Can’t believe I missed that, that would be some slow charging.

  • Fifth313ment

    If a cable goes bad it will sometimes show as charging via USB rather than AC, where it can get a full fast charge. My OG Note 3 cable will only connect via USB even when its connected to the stock adapter. Pop in a third party USB cable, attach it to the same adapter and walla, it now says charging via AC! So go into the settings and battery info and see how its charging. :)

    • Florence Cunningham

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    • omshhaol

      For fiture reference, it’s “voila”… not “walla”

      • Fifth313ment

        And “fiture”, is actually “future” so we’ll just call it a wash. What do you say? LOL!

        • omshhaol

          Only if it makes you feel less stupid! LOL
          (Mine was an unintentional typo… you, intentionally typed in the wrong letters and assumed you were right).

          • Fifth313ment

            It was a joke, both were jokes and one was a typo. And I understand you know how to spell “future” but it was a joke on my part and an easy way to explain everyone can and does make mistakes and that it does NOT make them stupid. If you would like to have a conversation about HVAC parts and devices I would be more than happy to make you look and feel stupid. And I’m sure there s something that you know that I won’t. Well you know what happens when you “assume” something… LOL

  • David

    Usually I reduce the charging current what my phone consumes with a custom Kernel, I don’t get all of this fast charging shit… We have now sealed non removable batteries everywhere and everybody try charge them as quickly as possible.. Batteries don’t like being charged fast, thats the worst what you can do if you want to use this battery over years. The sience is not so far to give us long lasting and fast charging batteries for now.

    • Google Jobs:::Earn $97/hour

      Last tuesday I got a top of the McLaren F1 from earning $16020 this last four weeks and also 15-k last-month . this is definitely the coolest work I have ever done . Without any question it’s the most financially rewarding Ive had . I started this 4 months ago & practicaIIy straight away began to bring home over $97 p/h .Visit weblink to start immediately.
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    • Me too. I have reservations about using fast charging. That should be applying much stress to the battery chemicals.

  • SilentPatriot

    I ran into an issue with my Galaxy S3 where it was unable to keep up with the demand of tethering to several devices on a standard 500mA wall-charger + USB cable, which resulted in the battery swelling up badly. The originally included wall-charger that went bad (loose connector) was AC-only and rated 1A+. I ended up replacing it with a 2.4A AC-only one on sale for under $10 that solved the problem.

    • omshhaol

      I’very never has MD an S3 (started with the S4) but my understanding is that all Samsung mobile devices have always been designed to require 2.0 Amps to work and charge within their design limitations. So 500mA is far too small of a current to charge and keep the device operating while tethered (or using WiFi or Bluetooth)…

  • Abd

    Possibility 11:

    You have an iPhone !

    • Seth A. Yellin

      #Android <3!¡ ∆∆∆ -_¿ #Originality

    • countryangel.50

      LMAO!!!! GOOD ONE!!!!!! STILL LAUGHING!!!!!

  • dontpanicbobby

    “The center doesn’t hold. Hardware decays. The falcon cannot hear the falconer, and phones are not immune to the inexorable pull of entropy dragging everything to the ultimate heat death of the universe.

    Also, you could have a bad battery.”

    +10 Geek cred

    Nice article John.

  • John Bullerjahn

    Your tip about the bad cable was an excellent one, as was the one about the adaptor.

    Here’s my question. My father ln law recently gave me a bunch of cords as well as a whole bunch of adapters, but they are from different phone brand’s. Can Motorola adapter be used to charge an lg3 or do they need to be brand specific? Thanks, John Bullerjahn. [email protected]

    • omshhaol

      The criteria that would make a difference are current (Ampere, Amp or A), voltage (volt or V)and Jack type (the last one is easy to figure out)… As for As & Vs most adapters will supply anywhere between 3.2 to 5 volts… and that ought to work with most phones (although it might not be the most efficient, meaning the phone might take much longer to charge). The last but most important element in the flow of energy from the source (wall outlet, cigarette adapter…etc) to the charging port. That is referred to as current and it is measured in Amps. Check your phone’system instruction manual and the really tiny print on the adapter and try to match the latter to be as close as possible to the former for optimum charging efficiancy.

  • Curter

    possibility 12: You upgraded to Marshmallow !

    • midbros

      yah i also facef the same prblm ftr upgrade to marshmallow

      • Chris Ogloff

        Strange, I haven’t had this problem with Marshmallow at all on a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. That would indicate something is buggy with your phone’s particular version of Marshmallow.

        • Rafal Warachewicz

          note 4 has same problems

          • Chris Ogloff

            Every different device has to have an Android ROM specifically for that device model. So it still is probably that. Sure, you could probably put a stock ROM on there but you’d likely lose features that the device has, such as with your note 4 you wouldn’t be able to use the pen without a Samsung ROM.

      • Same

    • Nah told your mother I wasn’t interested. Already have a girlfriend.

  • sajairaj

    Possibility 13 – you have installed battery doctor or du batter saver and then uninstalled it. And the residue files will make sure that you are having a slow charge compelling you to believe that those apps actually helped you. And forces you to install it again.

    • omshhaol

      Hahaaaa… Be nice to apps that help you otherwise Santa Clause will add you to the naughty list?

  • Giit

    my ASUS memopad 8 had this problem, then it stopped charging altogether, it ended up being the mini usb charging port had come loose :'( so, I stopped using it for almost a year, then one day got very brave, took teh thing apart, and patiently soldered the dangling piece back on, now it’s back to charging slowly ^^ but hey, at least it’s charging! :D I’ll have it pro repaired when I have some spare $.

  • kolonel2

    Still trying to figure this out — I’ve bought brand new 28/24 cables (several) of varying lengths (3′ – 15′), with brand new 2A wall chargers from three different companies. My Nexus 5 reports at best, 600mA charge (using Ampere application) using all combinations of these cables. However, if I plug the phone into an old 2A “Blackberry” wall charger, Ampere reports 1500+ mA.

    What do I have to do to get this kind of charging out of my 2A chargers?

  • Rajasekar

    Is USB charging affects the battery life?

  • kalyan

    Yup, These are possible and leading issues,

  • Rio

    My samsung j5(2016) takes 7 hoirs to charge 0 to 76%. Is that a problem or normal?

  • Rio

    My samsung j5 2016 takes 7 hours to charge 0 to 76%. Is that a problem or normal?

    • Help

      yeah that is horrible, i’m not kidding either you should leave your phone alone when it’s charging and restart it too

    • Marcelo Gingins

      If it is normal, then Samsung isn’t doing things right.

    • gurudeep p

      ur device is suffering wth a disease, called bloatware..lol

  • David German Dukardt Manzone

    Possibility 12: 5V 500mA

  • Thanks for sharing useful article John. I faced battery charges problem when I am the new android user. but after following few step guided by you, I solved the issue.

  • Nader

    I have note 4
    It charges normally untill it reaches 91% then it takes hours to full charge (100%)
    Notice that my phone is in fast charging mode

  • Michael

    my phone wont increase charge unless its switched off

  • Marcelo Gingins

    Galaxy tab s 8 here, charging times are awful from day one, my father has the 10.5 model, same bad charging times and I’ve found many many complains on the internet. Actually when I use the tab plugged, the battery goes down because it uses more power than it charges. It is time for Samsung to do something in this department.

  • Marcelo Gingins

    Face it! Android hates you!

  • Thanks for sharing awesome tips John. I am using battery case on galaxy s7 edge device and i am facing the same issue.