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September 27, 2018

How to fast charge your iPhone

by John_A

The arrival of the new iPhones means there has never been a better time to grab yourself a slice of Apple’s pie, whether you’re looking to grab one of the newest iPhones around or take advantage of the lowered prices for older iPhone models.

But while Apple’s specs and iOS 12 ensure that your day-to-day performance will be silky smooth, there are parts of the experience that won’t be as fast as you’d expect. Apple’s iPhones have supported fast charging for a while now, but unlike many Android counterparts, Apple has never included a fast charger with an iPhone. Unfortunately, getting your hands on a fast charger for your iPhone 8 or above does require you to spend a bit more cash.

But there are a lot of chargers out there, and it might not be clear which one you should grab to charge your iPhone super-fast. Don’t worry, we’ve done the legwork and the research to find out. Here’s how you can fast charge your iPhone, from the 8 to the XS Max.

What is fast charging and why can’t my charger do it?

We’ve written a comprehensive guide to fast charging, but suffice it to say here that fast charging allows for power to be transmitted to your iPhone’s battery faster than would be possible with a slower charger or from your computer or laptop. However, while the phone is able to regulate the amount of charge that it receives, it needs to have a charger that can send it enough power.

How much faster is fast charging? Apple claims that fast charging will refill up to 50 percent of your iPhone’s battery in just 30 minutes. Charging speeds that fast mean you can say goodbye to overnight charging entirely.

But, the 5W charger that comes with most Apple iPhones is not able to fast charge. It’s able to supply power fast enough to recharge an iPhone eventually, but it’s not able to transmit charge fast enough to charge up anything larger, like an iPad.

Most iPads come with a 12W charging block instead. If you own an iPad you can use one of these to soup up your iPhone’s charging rate — there’s no harm in doing so, and it won’t harm your phone in any way, since the phone will never take more charge than it can handle. However, Apple’s iPhones from the iPhone 8 onwards are capable of an even faster rate of charging, and getting that speed requires an even stronger charger.

Apple’s official fast charger

While Apple doesn’t supply a fast charger with any of its iPhones, it does recommend a way for you to get access to fast charging easily by purchasing a new cable and charger for your device. This is far from the least expensive option, but if you’re happy to spend the money to get your charger straight from Apple, here’s what you need.

The cable

Unfortunately, the cable you received with your iPhone won’t cut it for fast charging. Apple’s fast charging system uses USB-C — the advanced version of USB that’s now used in many Android phones. USB-C is capable of transmitting power faster than older USB standards, and fast charging on iPhones requires a USB-C to Lightning cable.

Apple offers an official Apple USB-C to Lightning cable for $19, and getting your hands on one is as simple as popping into your nearest Apple Store or ordering from Apple’s online store.

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The power adapter

Like the official cable, the charger needs to be something a little special, too. It’s a 30W adapter with a USB-C port, rather than the usual USB-A port.

Happily, some of you might already have one of these knocking around — and that’s because it’s part of the charger that comes with many of Apple’s MacBooks. Most MacBooks made from 2015 and later use USB-C compatible charging blocks, and you can use one of these to fast charge your iPhone.

If you’re rocking a MacBook Pro, then you might have a charger that’s even more powerful than the 29W or 30W varieties, but Apple has confirmed that even the 61W and 87W versions are safe to use with your iPhone 8 or newer phone. Remember, the amount of power being drawn is regulated by your phone, so it will never draw more than it can handle — the charger can’t force your phone to accept a wattage it can’t handle.

If you don’t already have one of these adapters lying around, then picking them up is fairly easy. Like the cable, head over to your nearest Apple Store or head online and find the 30W USB-C Power Adapter for $49.

Please note: If you are buying an adapter just for iPhone fast charging, don’t buy an adapter stronger than 30W. iPhones can only take charge up to 30W, so a more powerful charger would just cost more money and not offer any extra benefit.

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The cheaper options

As you might have noticed, Apple’s fast charging package comes in at the princely sum of $68. While iPhones aren’t exactly budget devices themselves, that’s still a hefty amount of dollar. Thankfully, Apple doesn’t hold a monopoly where iPhone fast charging is concerned, and you can get cheaper options from elsewhere that will do much the same job at a much lower price.

Please note: We haven’t tested the below products, so use at your own risk.

You might struggle to find a reliable USB-C to Lightning cable for much less than Apple’s asking price, but it’s the charging adapter where you’ll find the biggest savings. You can grab anything with a USB-C port and enough power, but make sure it supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) and stick to reputable brands.

A good choice is this 30W USB-C wall charger. It costs just $26, saving you $23, is well reviewed and comes from Anker, a reputable accessory company. You should be fairly secure using this as your iPhone’s fast charger, and it will work perfectly with Apple’s cable.

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If you really need to avoid buying Apple’s cable for whatever reason, there are alternatives. Aukey’s USB-C to Lightning cable will save you a dollar, and will supposedly fast charge an iPhone. You might be able to find even cheaper cables, but we recommend being careful where cables are concerned, as a cheap or low-quality cable can cause major issues or even become a fire hazard.

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Look mom, no wires

Finally, what about fast charging via a wireless charger? Well, while it’s possible to get a faster charging wireless pad, the technology hasn’t yet reached the point where it can outpace the best wired chargers out there. However, if you’re still interested, check out our favorite wireless chargers to find some great options.

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