You're charging your new iPhone wrong—here's how to fix it
You paid a lot of money for a fast-charging iPhone. Here's how to actually get it.
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When you got your new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X you were probably pretty stoked to get your hands on the latest and greatest from Apple. I know I was, but when I first plugged my iPhone X into the same power cable I’d been using for my 6S, I was mildly annoyed at how slow it was charging. This is supposed to be the top of the line technology, people! I shouldn’t have to wait for a battery boost!
But it turns out it wasn’t my phone at all. No, it was the way I was charging it. The old USB-to-Lightning cables you’ve been using for your iPhone, iPod, and iPad won’t cut it if you want to charge your new iPhone faster. And the cable that came with your new phone? Yeah, that won't do the trick either.
With the right fast-charging accessories, you can charge your phone from dead to 50% in just about half an hour. Give it a full two hours and you’ll have a 100% charge. That’s pretty dang quick. So let’s talk about how to actually achieve fast-charging nirvana.
The right accessories will give you the fast charging you crave
In order to take advantage of the promised fast-charging capabilities of Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup, you need to use a USB-C-to-Lightning cable. Not only that, but you’ll need a USB-C wall adapter that can handle the same amount of power.
The bad news is that you probably don’t have this stuff lying around already, and they don’t come with your new iPhone either. But the good news is that Apple isn’t the only one that makes the products you need, so you’re not going to have to shell out all your savings for their often-overpriced accessories.
You have to use Apple cables, for now
Currently, you’re stuck with Apple’s USB-C to Lightning cables, as there are no authorized third-party options. They come in 3- and 6-foot lengths. There are third-party cables that fit this description, but since they’re not authorized, they will not deliver the same fast-charge capabilities, so don’t waste your time. Hopefully this will change in the future, but we have to work with what we’ve got for now.
- Get the Apple 1-meter USB-C to Lightning Cable for $25
- Get the Apple 3-meter USB-C to Lightning Cable for $35
There are more (cheaper) options for adapters!
For the charger, you need a minimum of 29W and support for USB-PD (USB Power Delivery). Apple’s proprietary wall adapter features one USB-C port and costs $49, which is a bit steep for a single port. I’m personally a big fan of Anker’s tech accessories, and they make a few great options. The first has a single USB-C port and 30W of power delivery for full fast-charging capability. It only costs $28, nearly half of what Apple charges for their version.
The second Anker charger costs the same as Apple’s, but this one includes a USB-C port and four standard USB ports and a total 60W power capability so you can charge more than one device at a time. Anker boasts what they call PowerIQ, a technology that helps to divert the maximum available power to each connected device, though this may slightly slow your fast-charging speeds if you’re diverting power to multiple places.
You can fast charge wirelessly (with the proper equipment)
If you also want to take advantage of wireless charging without sacrificing charging speed, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right accessories for the job. If your wireless Qi charger claims to handle fast charging, but doesn’t live up to expectations, odds are you’ve got the same issue as above—the wrong cable and adapter.
We tested a number of leading options and found the Samsung Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad to be the best option for this capability. Is it the sleekest, prettiest choice? Definitely not. But as long as you pair it with the right wall adapter (included) it will do exactly what you want. It's also got a rubber ring that helps keep your phone in place and a fan to keep the device from overheating while it's working.
Do you actually need fast charging?
I spend most of my days plugged in, whether I’m in front of my computer at work or unwinding in my living room. The majority of my time, I’m within arm’s reach of a phone charger or wireless charging pad. Sure, I go to the gym and spend time out in the real world too, but never for so long that I’m worried about my phone dying. Because of this, I rarely run my battery down to the point where I might be facing the dreaded “low power mode” prompt. For me, fast charging is a luxury, but not a necessity.
But if you spend most of your time running around, whether you work on your feet or you’re raising a family or you just get up and do things more than I do, this might be pretty useful. Just imagine you get home from the grocery store with a nearly dead phone battery, but you still have to head back out and pick up your kids. So you plug your phone into your fast-charging cable and by the time you’re done putting the food away your phone is back to at least half a charge. That can be a serious lifesaver in a pinch.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.