iPhone 3G

Second generation of iPhone. Model A1241 / 8 or 16 GB capacity / black or white plastic back. Repair is more straightforward than the first iPhone. requires screwdrivers, prying, and suction tools.

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Why won't my iPhone turn on unless it's plugged in?

Hi there,

I purchased a used iphone but it won't turn on unless it is plugged in to the wall (it won't turn on if plugged in to the computer, and thus, itunes won't recognize it).

When plugged in to the wall, it shows the apple logo, and then immediately goes to the 'connect to itunes' screen. However, when you unplug to connect to itunes, the screen goes black and it won't turn on.

What do I do? Would a battery replacement help?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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I seem to have found myself with this problem, my phone was running iow4.3 and I jb so I thought it was that, I did a factory restore and it did t work, I can only use the phone if it's plugged it.

I haven't put it in rice because I don't think it's gotten wet

Should I just replace the battery ?

by rjnior

That's what I would do. It sounds like your battery and it gives you a solid starting point. This way you know that your battery is not part of the problem and it makes it easy for any further troubleshooting, if that should be necessary.

by oldturkey03

yep, this battery if original is probably at the end of it's life.. 3years old?

by pollytintop

I have the same issue and it is the result of water damage. Did yours get wet at all? I was able to fix my issue by leaving it plugged in for about 14 hours. Miraculously fixed it. After replacing the battery though I am not getting the same issue.

by Nick Summy

Hey Nick, thanks for your response. I'm not sure about the water damage (the seller says no, but I bought used and it looks like the iphone had previously been opened and tampered with). I tried leaving it plugged in for over 14 hours - no success. Based on your suggestion, I've ordered a new battery so we'll see if that works. Any other suggestions are welcome!

by james

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5 Answers

Chosen Solution

Hey there. I have repaired many iphone's with this exact same problem. First I try a new battery (most of the time that fixes the issue). If the battery does not work, than try a new USB doc port. Sometimes you have to replace both. Also make sure that the two gold battery contacts on the logic board are cleaned off. If still no luck, than you probably have a bad board.

Good luck.

-Nick c

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Hi Nick, whilst it's fab you gave advice, we aren't allowed to advertise our own companies etc. You're welcome to put a link on your profile page. I've deleted your link from here. Cheers

by pollytintop

Good eye Polly.

by Majesty

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Most Helpful Answer

Hi. I had this exact same problem after replacing a cracked screen. The first couple hours it turned on just fine, but would randomly shut off, and the same the next morning. So I took the phone apart to make sure all connectors were cleaned with alcohol and firmly in place and that none of the screws were loose.

But now It would power on and work perfectly only when plugged into a wall, but would immediately shut off when unplugged and would do nothing when plugged into the computer. What was even more frustrating is that the phone did show the battery, it's % (almost full), and showed charging.

One last try, I opened up the back and took out the battery, as I unscrewed the tiny grounding piece near the vibrator, I wasn't sure if I had it the right way. I checked the pictures in the guide it looked like it might be upside down, so I flipped it, put the battery back in and presto, my iPhone worked again, WOOHOO!

Funny how it can be something so simple sometimes.

I've spent hours looking for an answer to a problem and have it be where I can't even find the subject, let alone a solution. So hopefully this will be helpful to someone.

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I had this problem iphone 3GS would only turn on if plugged into mains. The button on top does not work so used on screen button to lock but then couldnt switch back on. I seem to have got around this by turning off the auto lock timer to never. I then switch on with mains and then unplug. The screen eventually turns itself off but I am still able to press home button to switch on again. Strange but true!

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My phone had starting exhibiting the same behavior after dropping it I eventually found that applying pressure to the bottom right of the phone resolved the problem. I tried applying a binder clip over the area and the phone started working as expected. It seems like there is some kind of contact not being made with the battery and the pressure is perhaps closing that gap. In the end this provided me a working phone until I can get a replacement.



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Don't get a cheap battery they have usually cycled 200 times plus. Pay the silly money for an original Apple battery.


Whooo just remembered Don't forget to clean the end on the grounding pin. Oils on your fingers will effect it :-)

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james will be eternally grateful.
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