How to Fix Your Broken Phone USB Charging Port


TL; DR: If you are on the verge of rage-quitting your phone because you think the charging port is broken, try this one weird trick before giving up: CLEAN IT WITH A SEWING NEEDLE! Then start periodically cleaning with a reusable air duster and/or using magnetic chargers. 🧲⚡️

I saved Mr. Stuff's Pixel 3 Android phone from the dustbin of discarded devices after he was convinced the USB-C charging port was broken. The charging cable no longer *clicked* when plugged in, headphones didn't work either, and wireless charging was painfully slow. Enter: Me and my aversion to replacing electronic devices too often. 

The Problem: Over time (in our case, literal years), all manner of dust, lint, and general crap gets stuck and accumulates inside the phone's charging port. The problem is compounded by the fact that each time you plug in your phone charger or headphones, you are shoving the crap even further into the port and packing it into an impenetrable Wall of Crap that eventually physically blocks the USB cable from connecting to the USB charging port.

The Solution: Clean out the crap! Mr. Stuff first tried a toothpick and managed to get some crap out, but not nearly enough. Air cannisters may also not work at this point, if the Wall of Crap is too deeply and tightly packed. Alas, this is where Mr. Stuff gave up, but where you, dear Reader, shall persist! Here are my Tiff Tips: 💁🏻‍♀️

👉 Use a thin, sharp sewing needle + a lot of patience. 🧵🧘🏻‍♀️

  • Be gentle! Take care to not damage any part of the port with the needle. You might also want to turn off your phone before cleaning.
  • The needle should be thin and long enough so it can easily fit all the way to the bottom of the port without needing to be jammed in.
  • Use the point of the needle to loosen the Wall of Crap. Be persistent, as the Wall of Crap may be very densely packed. Once the crap is sufficiently loose, fish it out with the needle itself or blast it out with a compressed air cannister. Or more environmentally-friendly, a reusable air duster.
  • Once you think you've gotten a bunch of crap out, keep going! There is probably more crap to go! I was continually surprised to find more crap after having already gotten out many bunches of crap.
  • I knew to stop when I could feel the point of the needle gently scraping the bottom of the port all the way around the prong.

Then, enjoy the sweet satisfaction of feeling the charging cable finally and at long last *click* back into a clean, crap-free port. 🎉

To keep the port clean going forward, (i) periodically use a resuable air duster so the crap cannot accumulate, or (ii) start using magnetic charging cables so the port is always plugged to prevent crap from getting in at all.

And if all that doesn't work, then I am sorry your port might actually be broken. 😕