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Check for lint before trying to replace your iPhone’s charging port

My iPhone 5 recently stopped charging, unless I propped the phone upside down against an inclined surface like a lamp stand or a keyboard. I’m not in a position to buy one of those fancy new iPhones, so I shopped around in the internet’s DIY isle.

I found a well-reviewed set of iPhone surgery tools and even a well-reviewed replacement part on Amazon. Armed with those and an instructional YouTube video, I planned to replace the part myself.

Luckily, one of my many neuroses involves exhaustively reading through reviews before I buy anything from Amazon. It’s my favorite part of the site. I don’t even consider products with less than 25 or so reviews.

In a bricks-and-mortar store, you probably only have the staff to ask for advice, and they’re obviously biased. And if you’re anything like me, you probably know far more about the product than they do. Always take advantage of the availability of reviews on Amazon.

Anyway, with the necessary tools in my cart and the video queued up in the Watch Later section of my YouTube account, I headed over to read some reviews. That’s when I found this gem by Amazon user DullJack, who wrote:

First off, if you suspect your charging port is going bad, it probably isn’t. Grab a flashlight and a safety pin/needle, shine the light into the charging port and you will probably see a bunch of lint tightly jammed into the back of the port that is preventing the cable from fully inserting.

But I had looked in there and I didn’t see anything, DullJack. So what gives? He continues:

I looked into my old port before replacing it and it looked clear, but I didn’t shine a light into it.

Ah. I shined a light into it and alas, there it was. I turned my phone off (better safe than sorry when poking around inside your iPhone with anything sharp or metal) and gently used a paper clip to pull out more lint that I would have though could fit in there. Do this over a piece of white paper to get the full effect.

So. Much. Lint.

Then, I plugged it in with the reckless abandon I had used before the problems began. A small white Apple logo appeared in the middle of the screen. The phone booted up and the battery icon showed it was charging. I moved it around in all the common ways that had been causing it to stop charging.

Fixed!

I don’t use exclamation points very often on this site because that’s just not the tone I’m going for over here. But that one was obligatory. The sense of relief I felt upon learning I wouldn’t need to expose my iPhone’s innards to the harsh light of day is something only fellow geeks can understand.

Of course, exposing an iPhone’s innards to the harsh light of day is something only fellow geeks would even consider, too.

Let this be a lesson, well, several lessons, to you all:

  1. Always, always read the reviews before you buy online,
  2. Be absolutely certain the problem isn’t lint before replacing your iPhone’s charging port, and
  3. Amazon user DullJack is a gentleman and scholar deserving of the gratitude and respect of fellow geeks everywhere.