When I charge my iPhone 4 on my laptop, it starts charging but then it keeps going on and off charging even though it's not touched. It charges fine with a plug charger or with any computers I use at college.

  • I'm having this problem (seemingly) totally randomly. Sometimes it happens when my iPhone (6S plus) is plugged into my Macbook Pro, sometimes it's when it's plugged into an outlet on a power strip (via a USB charger block thing). Sometimes it charges just fine, sometimes it does the constant on/off thing. There seems to be no rhyme or reason about WHY it's happening. It tends to do the "on/off" dance in a consistent pattern for a while, and then it will stop - just charging normally for about a minute - and then goes back to the "on/off" dance again. SOOOO annoying! – Michael Wood Mar 31 at 2:46
  • The port isn't dirty, the cable isn't broken, the Macbook Pro is charged up. Every "solution" I see online is NOT the problem in my case. It feels like a software glitch or something. Someone explain what's happening... PLEASE! – Michael Wood Mar 31 at 2:46

Running this in terminal worked for me: (it will ask for your user's password)

sudo killall -STOP -c usbd

This pauses the troublesome process instead of killing it altogether like other answers suggest. The difference is that macOS won't try to reopen it automatically and cause the issue again.

Running sudo killall -CONT usbd will resume the process, should anything require it.

Tested on: iPhone 7 (iOS 11) + MacBook Pro Late 2013 (10.13.6)


Besides software issues, there's a good chance that the cable is at least partially damaged so it might work for dumb power chargers but not with a MacBook that also relies on the USB data pins.

  • 1
    This worked for me, while killing usbd (in Activity Monitor) didn't. – Adam Aug 20 at 23:06

Force quitting the process usbd made this bug finally go away on my 2017 MacBook Pro.

  • 1
    Please don't cross post the exact same answer: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/298573/… – Allan Apr 17 at 13:10
  • 1
    This worked for me. – kenchew Jun 22 at 10:56
  • This worked for me too. Thank you! 👍🏾 – Rob Bednark Aug 1 at 23:05
  • This worked for me, but the process usbd did not appear for me in the Activity Monitor. There was a USBAgent process, but force killing that did not fix it. However, running the other fix did work: apple.stackexchange.com/a/334005/173756 [sudo killall -STOP -c usbd] – supergra Sep 28 at 23:19
  • And THANK YOU for cross-posting the answer, please continue to do so. – supergra Sep 28 at 23:21

Your computer is not giving it enough power

  • How do i give it more power? – Aamir Ali Jun 22 '15 at 1:33
  • You can't through your computer. Either use a newer computer or use the wall charger – Mitchell D Jun 22 '15 at 7:33
  • This is a new laptop that i purchased only a few weeks ago and the only reason i need it connecting to my laptop is because i need to update my itunes – Aamir Ali Jun 22 '15 at 12:19
  • You should still be able to update the content on your phone through iTunes even if the phone isn't charging. Have you tried with a different USB cable? – Mitchell D Jun 22 '15 at 12:20
  • It starts to connect to my laptop but then goes off and on constantly, nope as i just bought this usb cable a few weeks ago aswell. – Aamir Ali Jun 22 '15 at 12:28

You probably have a buildup of lint/debris in the phone's charger (lightning) port. Use a plastic or wood toothpic to gently scrape inside the port. Do not use a paper clip, or any other metal obeject! I had the same issue with a two year old iphone 6 and retreived enough lint to knit a sweater. It charges without interuption now.

  • man, this helped me. I have iphone cable that I used only for iphone debugging (50 times or so) and it just started going on/off when I connected it today - I even thought apple might determine cable age and disable it, but then I found your answer and it helped a lot. thank you so much. I also suggest inensively plugging USB in/out several times after cleaning – godblessstrawberry Mar 7 at 12:30

Ankit Chhajed's solution allowed me to find a workaround. This isn't really a solution since Apple still has a software bug, but you can do the following:

  1. Stop iTunes (very important)

  2. Find and kill the "usbd" process in process list (must not be running)

  3. Attach iPhone

I purchased a Lifeproof Fre Power case for iPhone 6s (Feb 2016). You must use a micro USB cable to charge the case, not a Lightning cable. I had the same problem as Aamir Ali. Drove me nuts.

But you are right. Use a powerful charger and the "ON/OFF" charging problem goes away. Same cable at home didn't work with cigar lighter charger in truck/auto, even though it is a 5.4 Amp Belkin model. Or so they state.

When powered through top-quality and high amp chargers the problem goes away. The cable type or model does not seem to matter. Only the power source.

Lifeproof has been "nice", but has no good technical answer for this problem. "You must use our cable and charger." Hmm.

This happened to me with iPhone 5c. The way I charged was under a stack of books (6 or so). We went to the Apple Store to see if we could get it fixed but they said that getting it fixed would cost more than the actual phone. So I ended up just getting a whole new phone. But if you don't want to do that then like I said you could charge it under a stack of book with one on the bottom

I have found a solution to this problem (I was also struggling with this for a while). It's basically because the macbook is trying to create a data connection with the iphone through the usb port. Here are some things that seems to work in my case:

  1. Using a USB extender and then connecting the iphone to it.
  2. Or Force quitting itunes and then plugging in the iphone.
  3. Or Ejecting the iphone from the itunes.

I have come to understand that it is not a problem due to the cable, nor due to a broken USB port (so stop changing that). Just stop the data connection process between the iphone and mac using the above 3 ways or any other way you find. Let me know if it works.

Thanks.

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