How to Tell If Your iPhone or iPad Is Charging When Off or On (iOS 16)

Is your iPhone charging? What about your iPad? I’ll teach you how to decipher the iPhone charging symbol when dead from battery drain and in general.

What to Know

  • If your iPhone or iPad was dead from battery drain, check for the empty battery charging icon in the center of the screen. 
  • Otherwise, check for the charging symbol over the battery life icon at the top of your screen. 

Long battery life and quick charging are two features that iPhone and iPad users like me enjoy on a daily basis. There are various ways that an iPhone can be charged. When your phone is on, it's easy to confirm that it's charging by checking the battery icon. However, if your phone is completely out of juice and you can't see the iPhone charging icon, how do you know if your phone is charging? What about your iPad?

Jump To:

How to Tell If Dead iPhone Is Charging (Or Powered Off)

If your iPhone has run out of battery completely, plugging it in will begin the charge. However, the screen will remain off until there is enough charge for it to power back up, so you may find yourself wondering, "why isn't my iPhone charging?" While it may seem like your iPhone won't charge after the battery is drained completely, this most likely won't be the case. Here's how to decipher the iPhone charging symbol when dead or powered off:

  1. Make sure your iPhone is plugged in, and that the charger is plugged into a power source, such as a wall outlet.
  2. Check the large battery icon in the middle of your black screen. A completely dead iPhone screen may be black at first; give it a second to charge to see if the charging icon appears.
  3. If the icon only shows the empty battery, as shown in the image below, then your iPhone is charging and will power on soon.
  4. If the icon shows an almost empty battery and a charger, as seen below, then your phone is not charging and you may need to verify your charger cable and power source.
Comparison of battery icons between charging and not charging

Pro Tip: Did you know that there are many ways to charge your iPhone? Learn how to charge it wirelessly, without a charger, and more.

Related: How to Charge iPhone Correctly

How to Tell If iPhone Is Charging When On

For more iPhone battery charging tips, don't forget to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. iPhone charge symbol is a lot easier to understand when your phone is on! The steps below show how it looks if you have Battery Percentage toggled off. 

  1. Make sure your iPhone is plugged in, and that the charger is plugged into a power source, such as a wall outlet.
  2. Check the battery icon on your screen.
  3. A charging iPhone screen has a lightning bar in the middle.

    is my iPhone charging
  4. If the icon doesn't have the lightning bolt symbol or is white, then it is not charging.

    is my iPhone charging

If you don't see the iPhone charging screen at this point, check all cord connections to verify that everything is as it should be and that there are no problems with the charger cable itself. Another tip if your iPhone isn't charging is to try another power source, and remember that certain outlets may only be powered when light switches are on!

If you have Battery Percentage toggled on, the lightning bolt will be to the right of the percentage:

Battery Percentage Toggled On iPhone Charging Symbol

When you first plug your charger in or place your iPhone on a wireless charger, the lightning bolt will appear to the right of the charging icon:

Charging Icon if Battery Percentage is Toggled On

After a few seconds of charging, it will appear inside the battery icon:

iPhone Charging Icon

How to Tell if iPad Is Charging When Off or On

You can use the same steps to check if your iPad is charging as you would for iPhone. The iPad charging symbol when dead looks the same:

how to tell if dead ipad is charging
Image credit: aiconsmith /

Just like the dead iPhone charging symbol, a dead iPad screen that shows an almost empty battery and a charger is not charging. If you only see the battery and no charging chord, it is charging. A dead iPad screen may take a while to turn on, even while charging. Be patient and it will happen! Voila, now you know how to tell if your iPad is charging when dead!

Once your iPad is on, you can check the battery icon on your screen. If there is a lightning bar in the middle, then your iPad is charging.

iPad Charging Symbol

As you can see, knowing whether your device is charging can be as simple as understanding the battery icon on your iPhone or iPad. However, it's one of those things that many people would never recognize unless they had already learned what to look for! If you still experience your iPhone not turning on or charging after you've read this article, there may be a more serious problem, so it's best to contact Apple support or visit the nearest phone repair shop.

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.