How to Charge Your iPhone Faster
Whether you just ordered a shiny new iPhone 12 or are still hopping along with an older model, you’re probably all too familiar with the dinky 5W iPhone adapter that takes takes hours to fully charge your battery. The good news is, it doesn’t have to take that long. With the right fast charger, you can fully power up in less than half the time you’re used to. Here’s what you need to know.
Does Your iPhone Support Fast Charging?
iPhones have long supported faster charging with a 12W iPad adapter, and Apple improved on that by introducing fast charging via USB Power Delivery (PD) with the release of the iPhone 8 in 2017. With USB Power Delivery, newer iPhones can theoretically support charging up to 22W. That said, the difference in charge time is negligible if you use an adapter that exceeds 18W—and it’s worth noting Apple already includes an 18W adapter in the box with the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.
But considering Apple isn’t including a power adapter with the iPhone 12, you’ll need to either use an old (and potentially slow) power brick you have sitting around or pick up a new one, and it’s important to make sure your new adapter supports the fastest charging speeds possible.
Essentials for Fast Charging
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a fast charger. First and foremost, you want to make sure the charger supports PD. A USB-C port is also essential for the fastest charging speeds.
Since all but the latest iPhone 12 models ship with a USB-A–to-Lightning cable, you’ll want to invest in a good USB-C–to-Lightning cable. This is an area where you don’t want to skimp, as we’ve seen some unintended consequences from using off-brand cables. For most people, Apple’s own USB-C–to-Lightning cable (starting at $19) will do the trick, but we also like some of the cables out there from reputable brands such as Native Union and Nomad.
Once you’ve got the basics covered, you’ll want to assess your needs. Do you frequently charge multiple devices simultaneously? If so, it probably makes sense to buy a charger with multiple ports.
When multiple ports come into the mix, it’s important to understand the total power output for the adapter. Some chargers will clearly list the power output for each port, but most will simply provide the total power output for the adapter. Watch out for underpowered ports that lead to longer charge times.
Should You Buy a GaN Charger?
The majority of chargers on the market use silicon semiconductors. Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a relatively new alternative to silicon that offers a lot of benefits: GaN chargers are smaller, more efficient, and require fewer components than silicon chargers. They’re also more expensive. Ultimately, traditional silicon chargers are fine for most people. If you’re looking for the absolute slimmest option on the market, however, it’s probably going to be a GaN charger.
With that in mind, we’ve selected our favorite fast iPhone chargers you can buy right now. Pick the the one that best fits your budget and needs and you won’t be disappointed.