An Apple store employee told me I was charging my iPhone wrong

As rumors abound that Apple might dispense with its Lightning port, I dream of the day.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Video: Uh-oh: Your iPhone's battery doesn't get a break with wireless charging

It haunts me every day.

I've not been able to talk about it with friends, though my wife noticed and began to ask if I had, you know, problems.

I can only speak publicly about it now because of two convergent snippets of rumor.

The first says that Apple's AirPower charger might arrive in September. (Or, you know, some time soonish.)

Read also: Counting down Apple's Lightning connector deathwatch

The second declares that Cupertino might be finally laying its proprietary Lightning port to rest.

For so long, Apple has told us what a marvel the Lightning system was and how perfectly it works with, well, dongles and profit margins. And now it might revert to something other manufacturers use, like USB-C?

What's that? My problem? Oh, yes, sorry. Thank you for caring.

It was like this: I bought a new iPhone 6 a few years ago, and it worked quite swimmingly. Until, that is, it showed erratic behavior when charging.

Sometimes it would charge. Sometimes, it wouldn't. And sometimes it would charge for some minutes and then stop.

I took it to an Apple store, which naturally diagnosed that the port had enjoyed water, and the phone was now useless. So, I replaced it with another iPhone 6.

All went well until the charging pattern repeated itself. After a few months, the new iPhone 6 was more mercurial than government policy. It was like a child sticking its tongue out at me and laughing in my face, as its own was covered in dribble.

My natural course of action is to blame myself. But I couldn't work out what I was doing wrong.

Lessons in charging, Apple-style

So, I went back to the Apple store.

I explained my problem to an Apple Genius. I even showed him by plugging my iPhone 6 into a store Lightning cable.

"There's your problem," said the Genius.

"Yes, it's not charging."

The Genius looked at me as if I'd demonstrated the intelligence of an inebriated vole.

And then the words that have haunted me ever since: "You're charging it wrong."

I was lost for syllables.

Before I could find even something guttural, the Genius grabbed my phone and began a demonstration.

"Look, you're far too aggressive," he said.

Then, he placed the charging cable pin on the very edge of the Lightning port. He gave it a gentle push and in it went.

The phone pretended to charge a little and then stopped.

"Yeah, you've wrecked the inside," said the Genius.

"What? Why? How?" I asked, a touch too pleadingly.

Read also: Here's why Apple will soon lock your iPhone Lightning port after inactivity (TechRepublic)

"You're too aggressive. These ports weren't designed for shoving. It's a gentle process," he said.

Then, he took out his own iPhone and, with a watchmaker's gentle precision, he showed me.

"Pin on the edge, then slide. See?"

I thought I saw. I knew I was being made to see.

But what was I to do now? Why, replace my phone, of course. The vole may not have been inebriated, but he was still a vole.

I thanked the Genius with a gruesome mixture of gratitude and apology.

After the lesson, hope. Then, tragedy.

I now had a new iPhone 6, two years after it first came out. Well, the iPhone 7 wasn't exactly an 007-caliber gadget, was it?

I took my new iPhone 6 home -- my third iPhone 6 -- and was determined not to fall into old habits.

I started to perform the Genius's gentle-handed maneuver. After all, he'd made me do it several times before leaving the store. Everything went fine.

Until a year passed. Suddenly, and you're not going to believe this, the phone started being just as erratic as the previous pieces.

If not more so. Sometimes, it wouldn't charge. But, if I turned the Lightning cable pin over, it happily complied.

Until sometimes it didn't.

I have tendencies toward obstinacy. This wasn't going to defeat me. And, occasionally, it doesn't. The phone charges at first insertion. If it doesn't, a little nudge on the pin can get it going.

At other times, however, it doesn't matter whether I turn the pin over or not. It doesn't matter whether I straighten the cable, lay it flat, or hum plainsong from the times of Chaucer. Or even buy a new cable.

I can hear you screaming that I should descend into a bottomless hole. Or, failing that, upgrade. And, of course, despite my long holdout and battles against the fates, I'm sure I'll either get an iPhone X or wait for its first and second cousins to arrive some time soon.

My wife has begun to laugh at me, of course. She's a diehard Samsung Galaxy owner. She says it's the people's phone. However, I'm sure she doesn't use the Apple people's gentle pin-on-the-edge technique.

Read also: Apple killing the Lightning port may be the next step to a truly wireless iPhone (CNET)

And so I continue to berate myself over my lack of Lightning-charging finesse, hoping that charging my next phone will be easier than my last three.

There is, though, one kink with my story: I have two iPads. I've never had a problem charging those.

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