Before undertaking any of the more time consuming solutions below, these are a few fundamentals to get you started.
- Try a different charger. This may be as simple as a bad cable or power brick.
- Restart your iPad. This can clear any minor software hiccups.
- Is your iPad also getting really hot? Even when it’s not charging? This might be an issue with the software.
Power Source Wattage Too Low
Ever notice all the text printed on power adapters? The information here is not just model number and manufacturer specific data; it also includes the adapter's specifications–what voltages can it change to what? The amount of power the charger can output is strongly related to the rate a device can charge.
- Look for this text on the part of your charger that goes into the wall. It should contain several important bits of information.
- Input Voltage: Not specifically important in this case, but it is typically the first item in the string of things you’re looking for. It will likely indicate 100-240V AC.
- Output Voltage and Amperage: These will be listed together. The adapter may be capable of outputting multiple voltages, including 5V DC, which is the typical voltage for USB charging. Higher voltages may be utilized on larger devices, or to support fast charge standards. Each individual voltage should have a correlating Amp rating.
- Wattage: Some manufacturers, like Apple, list this right on the adapter. But if not, you can calculate it yourself! Wattage is simply Volts multiplied by Amps. In the case of a basic Apple iPhone charger, the USB brick is rated for 5V and 1A. Therefore it would be a 5 Watt charger (5x1=5).
- Save some brain cells and use a wattage calculator if your numbers aren’t as easy.
- iPads inherently have a higher power consumption than an iPhone. They require at least a 10 Watt charger in most cases. Connecting less than this may result in an “iPad Not Charging” message.
- This means the iPad knows a charger is present, but it does not provide enough power to charge the battery. In fact, the battery may continue to drain depending on workload.
- There are a bevy of reputable non-Apple alternatives, but not all chargers are equal. Look for the “Made for iPad” branding to point you toward more reliable manufacturers. These need to contain protections in the cable to qualify for this certification. Repeat use of substandard chargers can damage your iPad’s charging mechanisms.
- Apple’s proprietary Lightning Port is based on the decades old USB 2.0 spec. In addition to lackluster data transfer speeds, charging is only supported at 500mA (that’s only .5A)! Your computer’s USB port is effectively a 2.5 Watt charger. It’s fine as a desperation move, but be forewarned–you’ll be waiting a while.
Debris in Charge Port
Although iPhones are significantly more susceptible to this, even iPad charge ports seem to attract debris. It’s an expected side effect of everyday use. If the speaker and microphone grilles at the bottom of your iPad are clogged with dust, chances are your charge port is too.
- Inspect the port using a flashlight. It is common for bits of lint or rubbish to get caught and compress into the back of the port.
- If you’re unsure, check your cable's fit when it’s connected to your iPad. Does the housing on the cable sit flush with the bottom of the iPad? It should. If it sits askew, or there’s a gap where you can still see the metal of the charger, a good cleaning is in order.
- If your charge port has signs of burn or corrosion, skip ahead to Faulty Lightning Port.
- If there is debris in the port, use a toothpick or other nonconductive probes to clear it. Insert the point straight to the back and gently scrape out residual debris. Be mindful of any pins, and pay attention to corners where stubborn crumbs can get trapped or hide.
- The USB C connectors on newer versions of the iPad can be especially tricky. Try splitting the tip with a knife if a toothpick is too large. Half a toothpick can usually reach the most recessed crevices of a charge port.
Poorly optimized or buggy software can be a battery killer. If the onset of your battery issue is sudden, it may be that an app updated or your iPad installed a patch. The newer version could contain more resource-intensive features, or a bug that unintentionally runs your battery dry. If your iPad is consuming a lot of energy, it will appear to be charging slowly because the rate of power consumption is close to the rate of charge.
- Have any apps updated recently? In the App Store, select your profile by tapping your avatar (or initials) in the upper right corner. Apps needing update will be shown here under the “Personalized Recommendations” settings. Recently updated apps will be listed beneath those.
- Check battery usage in the Battery menu within Settings. Beneath Battery Health and any usage graphs is a breakdown of all energy-consuming apps and functions.
- Quit any app that seems a likely offender and see if it affects battery life. Uninstall any apps that seem likely to be at fault. If battery life improves, try reinstalling the app.
- A fresh OS install is a drastic measure to address battery life, but it could still be helpful, especially if some corruption is contributing to the issue.
- This will remove any data on your iPad. Be sure to have a backup of your device and connect to iTunes to perform the reset for the most reliable results.
Faulty Lightning Port
If you’ve cleaned all the gunk out of the port, or everything looked spotless from the start, but it’s still taking ages to charge, the port might be faulty.
- Does your cable only work if you get it in the proper position? Does this persist with other known good cables? Chances are the port is worn or damaged. Your best bet here is to replace the charge port assembly.
- Perform a visual inspection of the device’s internals. Look for any sign of damage. Tears are unusual if the device has never been repaired before, but it’s possible.
- Faults in the lightning port assembly can often be attributed to liquid entry. iPads are not rated for water resistance. The bottom edge specifically has plenty of places for water to get in.
- Check the part for your specific model if you determine your port needs replacement. Many iPad Lightning Ports require some advanced soldering techniques to replace.
Unlike the AA Alkaline batteries you put in your TV remote, the battery in your iPhone is a little more complex. In addition to the battery cells, where all the energy generating chemistry occurs, the battery also contains a management board. Certain types of failures within this board could cause slow charging.
- iPads do not get the same “Battery Health” data that iPhones now have baked into their settings as of iOS 11.3, so you’ll need assistance from a third-party tool to get any data about your battery's status.
- If you are not convinced of your battery’s good health, get a second opinion. Coconut Battery has been used by iFixit forum regulars for years to get more battery info. You will need a Mac to run it, but it gives far more detail.
The Tristar chip on an iPad logic board is responsible primarily for USB related functions. But it is also integral in the charging process. It detects items connected via the Lightning port and has electrical lines of communication to the charging chip. It is also the chip most commonly damaged on the board.
Tristar faults are commonly a result of electric damage. Many in the repair community believe this is due to damage from substandard chargers,
- These issues manifest in many ways; slow charging is only one of them. You can use a multimeter to easily test some functions of Tristar.
- This repair requires the ability to solder tiny components onto a circuit board. If this isn’t something you can do yourself, many independent repair shops can. Ask around to find a board level specialist in your area. Even shops that don’t work on boards may be able to point you to someone who does!
- This issue is so common there are tools designed solely to test the functionality of this chip. They are a bit pricey for one time use, but handy to have if you are a serial fixer.
Faulty Logic Board
The logic board is the hub for most of an iPad’s functionality. Any number of the small components on the board may have failed or become damaged. It is a safe assumption of cause if nothing else on this page has worked.
- Check for obvious signs of a board issue - burned or cracked components, liquid residue, corrosion, or bend. If there are signs of liquid, the iPhone Liquid Damage Guide might help.
- Replacing the logic board is often the most practical solution for a DIYer whose board has failed.
- Contrary to popular belief, the board itself can be repaired. However, it requires specialized tools and microsoldering know-how. If you’re curious and want to know more about getting into micro soldering, here’s some good reading and some good watching to get you started.