Juli Clover of MacRumors did some incredibly useful testing and wrote a helpful article on MacRumors to compare and contrast the different ways to charge an iPhone X. I suspect that many of her conclusions carry over to other models of the iPhone as well, and her tests confirmed many of the things which I have seen more anecdotally. If you are interested in great tips for iPhone charging — and pretty much every iPhone owner falls into this camp — I strongly recommend that you check out her article, which also includes some great graphs.
Normally I would save a link like this for my Friday In the news post, but I wanted to take some extra space to highlight some of the most important take-aways from this article, most of which I can also confirm from my own experiences:
- The charger that comes with the iPhone is slow. The iPhone has long shipped with that small, almost cube-shaped 5W charger. It charges the iPhone very slowly. For the iPhone X, it gets you up to an 11% charge in 15 minutes and 39% in 60 minutes.
- USB-C charging is 2x to 3x faster. Back in early 2016, I reviewed the combination of Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter and USB-C to Lightning Cable, which together cost around $75. In that review, I pointed out that it is the fastest way to charge an iPad Pro. But the iPhone X can also take advantage of USB-C charging, and it can get you almost three times the charge of a 5W charger after 15 minutes and about two times the charge of a 5W charger after 60 minutes. If you need to get the maximum charge to your iPhone X in the shortest amount of time, this is the way to go. And while this Apple combination will cost you $75, Clover notes that you can pay about half as much by using reputable third-party devices. If you own an iPad Pro. I think it is well-worth the $75 investment to get the fastest charge on all of your iOS devices.
- Higher-wattage USB-C doesn't make a difference. Although I reviewed Apple's 29W USB-C Power Adapter, Apple also has a 87W USB-C Power Adapter that comes with the 12" MacBook, and third party USB-C adapters come in 18W. For the iPhone X, the test results are the same for all of those.
- The 12W charger is a nice sweet spot. Apple's 12W charger, which is included in the box with an iPad, will charge your iPhone much faster than the 5W charger that comes with the iPhone. It's not quite as fast as USB-C, but it is much less expensive. It may even be free, if you own an iPad and thus already have one. Even if you buy another one, it only costs $19, and you can use the same USB-to-Lightning cord that came with your iPhone. So for either free or $19, you can charge almost as fast as USB-C without spending the $75 for the Apple USB-C products (or about half as much with third party products). If you don't think it is worth spending the money for USB-C, this is the perfect alternative.
- Wireless charging is slow, but the 7.5W version is a little faster. The iPhone X and iPhone 8 support what Apple calls wireless charging, the ability to place the back of the iPhone down on a charging plate and let it charge without plugging in a cable. Some consider it a major convenience, even though it isn't the fastest way to charge. Most of these wireless chargers are 5W and charge at essentially the same speed as that slow 5W plug that is included in the box with an iPhone. Some Apple-approved devices are 7.5W, and when Apple releases its AirPower wireless charger in 2018 it will also support 7.5W. Those 7.5W chargers are a little faster than the 5W version — not a big difference, but enough that if you are going to buy a wireless charger, you might as well buy the 7.5W version to get more bang for your buck.