How to fast charge your iPhone or iPad

iPhone fast charge teaser image showing Apple USB power adapters and USB-C chargers

To juice up your iPhone XS, iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus significantly faster than the included five-watt USB wall brick, you’ll need either a 7.5-watt Qi wireless charger or a ten-watt or stronger USB-C power adapter to enable slightly faster wired charging. For best results, you’re wholeheartedly recommended to take full advantage of the convenient fast charge feature supported by 2017 iPhones and beyond. Here’s what you’ll need to use the fast charge option and how to fuel your phone faster without burning money on USB-C chargers and cables.

About iPhone fast charge

With the fast charge option, you can top up the battery in your iPhone XS, iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus from zero to fifty percent in thirty minutes when the phone is plugged into a compatible charger, like Apple’s own USB power adapters for iPad and Mac.

The fast charge feature is supported on:

  • iPhone XS (Max)
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • iPad Pro 11-inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch

Fast charging an iPhone requires at least a 15W USB-C charger.

Don’t confuse fast charge—the fastest wired charging standard for smartphones in use today—with faster charging that’s also available on older iPhones via a stronger USB brick.

ROUNDUP: The best USB-C adapters to fast charge your iPhone

There are actually five degrees of charging when it comes to speed:

  • Regular wired charging: Using the tiny 5W USB wall plug that came with your iPhone.
  • Regular wireless charging: Via any standard 5W Qi-compatible wireless charger.
  • Faster wired charging: Using an iPad power supply of 10W or 12W.
  • Faster wireless charging: With iOS 11.2 and an Apple-sanctioned 7.5W Qi charger.
  • Fast wired charging: Only possible with a USB-C power supply and cable.

Understand that fast charge rates gradually decrease as your battery gets recharged.

When your iPhone battery passes the fifty percent charge mark, the fast charge feature will begin drawing less power from the charger to help protect battery health. As a result, the speed difference between normal and fast charging won’t be as pronounced past the fifty percent mark as when charging your iPhone battery from dead to fifty percent.

Here’s how you can confirm that your iPhone is fast charging.

Is iPhone fast charge working?

You can tell if your iPhone is fast charging by listening to the chime iOS automatically plays when the device is plugged into a power outlet and battery power is below fifty percent.

Counting the chimes tells you all you need to know about the employed charging method:

  • 1 charging chime: Normal 5W wired or wireless charging, faster wired charging via the 10W/12W iPad adapter or faster Qi wireless charging via the 7.5W standard.
  • 2 charging chimes: Fast charging via a USB-C Power Delivery adapter.

You will hear an additional chime when your iPhone battery becomes eighty percent full.

Auditory feedback informs you that iOS has changed to the normal (and slow) charging rates. Well, now you know why charging from the eighty percent mark to full is by far the slowest.

You won’t hear any dings if you fast charge an iPhone with more than fifty percent juice.

It would be great if they made it like on Samsung phones where a handy message gets displayed across the screen to inform the user that they’re using fast charging.

iPhone fast charge or faster charging?

Here are the available iPhone charging methods and speeds:

  • Normal charging: Charging your iPhone with the included 5W USB power adapter.
  • Wireless charging: Both 5W and 7.5W Qi wireless charging are supported by iOS.
  • Faster charging: Faster than 5W or 7.5W, this requires a 10W or 12W iPad USB charger.
  • Fast charging: To fast charge an iPhone, you need at least a 15W USB-C charger.

To take advantage of the handy fast charge capability, you need a compatible USB-C power adapter and a Lightning to USB cable, which is currently manufactured only by Apple and priced at $19 a pop for a 1-meter version or $35 for a twice as long 2-meter variant.

Although slower than fast charge, the faster charging feature via an iPad power brick still outperforms the slow-as-hell charging via the default five-watt iPhone power adapter.

If buying a USB-C charger/cable isn’t an option, plug your iPhone into your iPad brick to charge it faster than with the default 5W charger or a 7.5W Qi wireless charger.

Fast charge rates

Apple’s 39W USB-C power adapter takes about one and a half hours to completely charge an iPhone 8 Plus from dead vs. more than three hours for the 5W brick. Using the 12W iPad charger or a bus-powered USB 3.0 port on a Mac will take just 15 minutes longer to fully recharge your iPhone 8 Plus than with the 30W USB-C fast charge method.

To put it differently: fast charging using Apple’s 30-watt USB-C charger and cable is indeed faster over the 10/12W iPad charger or a USB 3.0 port on your desktop, but only marginally.

A chart showing iPhone fast charge speeds with various adapters

iPhone 8 Plus takes 2.5 hours to achieve full charge via Apple’s gratis 5W power adapter

Although Apple’s 61W and 87W USB-C bricks were designed for the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks, charging your iPhone using one of those doesn’t pose a safety hazard.

You’ll, however, see marginal improvements in charge rates when using a 61W or 87W brick.

  • Apple 12W USB power adapter: 37 minutes to 50 percent
  • Apple 30W USB-C power adapter: 33 minutes to 50 percent
  • Apple 61W USB-C power adapter: 29 minutes to 50 percent

As you can clearly see for yourself, the Apple 30W USB-C brick is probably the best value for money for those looking to dip their toes in the fast charge waters. To ensure the fastest possible charging rates, you’re advised to purchase Apple’s strongest 87W brick or, better yet, use an existing USB-C power supply that shipped with your Mac notebook.

Apple chargers

Your iPad, depending on model, came with either a 10W or 12W adapter. As we mentioned earlier, you can take advantage of this adapter to safely charge your iPhone faster.

To take advantage of the fast charge option, however, you’ll need one of Apple’s own USB-C adapters listed below or a recommended third-party model.

Here are the USB power adapters from Apple:

The 10W and 29W versions are no longer sold—hence, no links. In June, the 12-inch MacBook 29W adapter was quietly discontinued and supplanted by a new brick with 30 watts of power. At $49, it’s the most affordable Apple USB-C power adapter for fast charging.

Barrier to entry

Unfortunately, Apple does not include the necessary USB-C chargers and cables with iPhones so customers are required to spend extra cash to take advantage of this capability.

As we mentioned, Fast charging an iPhone requires at least a 15W USB-C charger.

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If you’re gonna fuel up your devices the Apple way, picking up your USB-C charger and cable from Apple will set you back $74: $49 for the charger and $25 for the cable. There are certainly more affordable thid-party alternatives out there, but if you’d rather purchase your USB-C charger from another company, be sure that it’s Power Delivery-certified.

That’s because the market for USB-C chargers is very fragmented.

A fragmented third-party market

Not all cables and chargers are made equal—some may limit power delivery and charging speeds—although we recently saw some encouraging improvements in terms of USB-C charging.

Specifically, Anker’s PowerLine II ($19.99 on Amazon) and Belkin’s USB Type-C cable ($29.99 on Amazon) each support both 100W Power Delivery and USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer speeds at 10Gb/s. Anker, Belkin and Nomad were some of the first major brands to manufacture a USB Type-C cable with the best of both worlds.

Various USB-C cables that work with the iPhone fast charge option

Whatever you do, stay away from dirt cheap chargers that lack Apple’s “Made for iOS” (MFi) certification because they may easily damage your iPhone battery or the phone itself.

If you’re on a shoestring budget, spending money on a USB-C charger or cable is probably out of the question. If that’s your case, just use a 10W or 12W iPad charger for two times faster iPhone charging without buying extra things.

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Wirelessly, you can charge with up to 7.5 watts of power, which is about 50 percent faster than charging the phone with the included 5W USB charger, the slowest in Apple’s offering.

Summing up

Do yourself a favor and don’t buy any equipment for fast charging if you own an iPad. Using the 10/12W iPad brick will let you charge your iPhone faster than with the default 5W charger or the 7.5W Qi wireless charging standard.

People who are proud owners of both an iPad and iPhone may see sense in buying an Apple 30W USB-C power adapter. Not only will 30 watts of power recharge your tablet and phone noticeable faster, but you’ll have a spare USB-C charger to carry in your bag or purse.

Wanna charge your iPhone faster without spending extra $$$? The iPad brick will do the trick.

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