Update: Readers reporting similar problems on iPads and older iPhones. This gives credence to the idea that it is a software bug with iOS 12.
Update 2: Resolved in iOS 12.1 beta 2
We have received several reports of iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max owners noticing that their phones do not start charging when a Lightning cable is plugged in when the screen is off. Affected users find they have to ensure the screen is on and re-plug in their cables for charging to begin.
This issue has been highlighted in a video by UnboxTherapy (embedded below), who repeats the charging test on 8 different iPhone XS models. The majority of his phones exhibit the problem — the devices do not respond to the cable being plugged in as they should, with most kicking into action once the screen is woken up.
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Typically, when you plug in an iPhone with a cable, the screen lights up as it starts to charge with the battery indicator visible on the lock screen.
The symptoms of ‘ChargeGate’ are somewhat varied. Some devices do not charge until the screen is woken up, either by tapping the screen or using Raise to Wake. Some others do not charge until the device is awake and the cable is unplugged and plugged back in.
The UnboxTherapy channel tested a handful of different iPhone XS units in their studio, demonstrating the various problems that people are seeing. There are a flood of comments on Reddit and the Apple Support forums as well.
It’s not clear if this is a hardware or a software issue. It certainly does not seem to be impacting every iPhone XS model, so it could be a hardware issue with a certain batch or an intermittent firmware issue. People affected by the problem indicate that the iPhone works with wireless charging pads normally.
Some people have pointed to USB Restricted Mode being the cause. However, the security measures enforced by USB Restricted Mode should not affect simple charge bricks in any way. We’ll have to wait for Apple to clarify what is happening here.