iPad How-to Guide — What to Do When Your iPad is Not Charging

Photo courtesy of Computer Problems Tips

When you first bought your iPad, did you plug it into your PC and become frustrated when you discovered that it wouldn’t take a charge? Were you disappointed to discover that the iPad doesn’t charge through PCs and you have to plug it into the wall to get it to work? Most newer Mac computers (2008 and later) will charge the iPad. However, those of us who have a Mac are not immune to the trials and tribulations of the “Not Charging” message that can appear without warning. For anyone who has experienced, or will experience the “Not Charging” message on their iPad, we have a couple of suggestions.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a “Not Charging” message on my iPad when I plugged it into the 10 watt USB 2.0 power adapter that was plugged into my wall. Surprised by this development, I assumed there was something wrong with my plug and took my third-generation iPad to my office, where I plugged it into my computer and got the same message. “Oh, no,” I thought. Something is wrong. If this has happened to you, don’t worry. Nine times out of 10, there is nothing wrong. You just need to do a little trouble-shooting.

First of all, only plug your iPad into a PC if it is absolutely necessary. It will take hours to fill the battery up and you have to leave it in sleep mode (the iPad, that is). You see, even though your iPad may have a “Not Charging” message, it is charging. It is just doing it very slowly. In a pinch, leave your iPad plugged in, even if you don’t think it is getting a charge. You’ll at least increase the percentage a little.

If you have plugged your iPad into something that has previously worked to charge it, there are a few things to check out before making your Genius Bar appointment. The first, and most obvious is to make sure the power adapter is a 10 watt charger. The iPad, especially the third-generation one, will not charge with anything less than 10 watts. Next, make sure the iPad is properly plugged in (I know it sounds patronizing, but you’d be surprised at how often the problem is just an unplugged power source). Check the connection from the wall to the plug and the plug to the iPad. If you are sure that everything is as it should be, try another socket, and then try another cord. Lastly, plug another Apple device into the same cord. If you’re iPhone charges, but your iPad doesn’t, there may be a problem.

Once you’ve determined that it is not your power adapter, try turning your iPad on and off again. To shut your iPad down, hold the “Home” button and “Sleep” button at the same time for a couple of seconds. When the slider bar appears, slide to shut down the iPad. Wait 30 seconds and turn it back on by holding the Home and Sleep buttons at the same time. When the iPad is back online, plug it in again to see if that fixed the problem.

If you have been able to charge your iPad from your Mac previously, but are suddenly faced with the “Not Charging” message, when you plug it into the computer, check your connection first. Then, make sure the USB cord that you are trying to charge your iPad with is plugged directly into the Mac. Don’t plug the cord into a multi-cord hub that is plugged into the computer or the USB port on the keyboard. The iPad needs a lot of juice. If it is plugged into some third-party source, it may not send the amount of juice needed to charge the device.

If your USB cord is plugged directly into the computer and you still see the message, try blowing air into the iPad’s dock connector. You could also use a folded piece of paper to loosen dust particles. You should also make sure that none of the docking pins are broken. Those tiny little pieces of metal can be snapped off very easily.

There have also been some known issues with external 30-pin devices being plugged into the iPad that cause it to malfunction for a short period of time. For example, if you have recently used the iPad camera adapter, it may cause the device to charge improperly. The best way to remedy that is turning your iPad on and off again. However, sometimes, you just have to wait for it to clear out.

Just to summarize, here are some of the things that may be causing your iPad to show a “Not Charging” message:

  • Wall socket is bad
  • Not using a 10-watt power adapter
  • 10-watt power adapter is bad
  • USB 2.0 cord is bad
  • Device is plugged into a PC
  • Device is plugged into a multi-port USB hub or instead of directly into the Mac
  • Dock connector is dusty
  • Docking pin is broken
  • Device was recently used in conjunction with camera adapter.

If you try all of these methods and still can’t get your iPad to charge the way it should, you may want to make that Genius Bar appointment. There is also a lot of friendly advice on the Apple forums if your issue wasn’t resolved here.

From my personal experience, the problem went away after I blew air into the dock connector. I tried everything above, including turning the iPad off and on again, and nothing worked. After a short burst of air in the port, it started charging normal again.

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • http://www.facebook.com/andre.queree Andre Queree

    Many modern PCs will charge an iPad these days too. My old PC didn’t, but the one I built earlier this year charges my iPad2 without trouble.

    • lorygil

      Thanks for letting us know!

  • Deepak

    Thanks for the post. Sometimes some weird things help resolve the problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amilli.amilli.amilli Amelia Amellia

    Thanks for this nearly had a heart attack this morning when it kept saying not charging and the damn thing is only 3 days old.

  • Brandon Allen

    fixed my problem it was the wattage i had it plugged into a nook wall plug switched to apple and no issues thanx so much :)

  • Haloosh

    So far I have not yet been experiencing this kind of problem to my phone. But I would like to thank you for giving me this good guide for this will be so useful for me in case I have this kind of trouble to my phone.