Charging an iPhone or an iPad seems like a straightforward process, but it can be slow. However, many Apple fans don't realise that the speed of charging varies depending on the way you charge the device: there are simple tricks you can use to charge your iPhone faster. Armed with a bit of knowledge you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to charge up an iPhone's battery.
In this feature we look at how to charge up your iPhone (or iPad) quickly and safely, and some of the best ways to make iPhone charging a faster and more efficient process.
Pick the right charger
Tip number one: the tech specs of your charger or charging adaptor can make a big difference to charging speed. Not all iPhone chargers are born equal, and some charge much faster than others.
The iPhone chargers use a USB to Lightning cable*, which is attached to a USB charging point (adaptor). There are three different types of adaptor available:
-- USB socket on a computer
-- iPhone adaptor
-- iPad adaptor
These three different chargers have different tech specs:
-- Computer USB: 5 volts, 0.5 amps, 2.5 watts of power
-- iPhone charger: 5 volts, 1 amp, 5 watts of power
-- iPad Pro charger: 5.1 volts, 2.1 amps, 12 watts of power
This can seem confusing at first, but the figure that's relevant from a charging-speed point of view is wattage: this is a function of time, and defines the speed of energy transfer. The higher the wattage, the faster the charger can fill up your device's battery.
(We say 'can', because other factors may limit the charging speed, and in fact the "charger" is not the adapter, as that is to be found inside the phone, and it's that which regulates the charge coming from the adapter. Buying a 50-watt charger from a third-party accessory maker wouldn't necessarily result in proportionally faster charging times - or be a good idea for other reasons.)
So the charger you pick has a dramatic effect on the amount of time it takes to charge up an iPhone. Pretty obviously, you should always charge up an iPhone using the iPhone or iPad adaptor, rather than the USB socket on a computer: this is a far slower option.
(Of course there may be other reasons why you would choose to charge via your Mac - having your iPhone connected to your Mac allows for very easy file transfers, for instance, and only uses up one plug. But if speed of charging is your priority, you should plug your iPhone or iPad into the mains.)
Bear in mind that the adaptors above are the official Apple units; third-party charging products are likely to vary in their specs. If using a non-Apple adaptor you should check the wattage and see what it delivers compared to an Apple charger. It's possible that the two will offer significantly different charging speeds.
*Don't worry if you're still using the older 30-pin connection rather than Lightning. Its charging speeds are the same.
Remove the case
A lot of people swear by this simple tip for more efficient charging: take the case off your iPhone. But we're not convinced that it will produce appreciable benefits, at least on the speed front.
The problem you're avoiding here is heat buildup: you'll have noticed that iOS devices can heat up when charging (particularly when charging and running an app at the same time - so don't do that), and a case can make this problem worse.
Excess heat can cause issues with the battery capacity - but the main effect of heat is to cause the battery to wear out faster.
So taking off the case may not produce appreciable improvements in charging speed - but it could mean the battery last longer. So if you've ever noticed your iPhone or iPad heating up during a charge (we've noticed this more with iPads than with iPhones, but both can be affected), play it safe and take the case off when charging in future.