The Fastest Way To Charge An iPhone (And Android)

Despite the proliferation of wireless charging technology, you’ve probably realized by now that wireless charging is slower than using a regular cable. But even when using a cord, there are significant differences in charging speeds, depending on the power adapter you use. In this review, I’ll answer the question: What is the fastest way to charge an iPhone Xs?

The short answer is, you need a USB-C Power Adapter with at least 18W to achieve the highest charging speeds.

Unfortunately, Apple still includes a mediocre 5W charging brick, even with its latest iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xr. Upgrading to an Apple USB-C power adapter and the required USB-C to Lightning cable is relatively expensive, but there are third-party options of comparable quality available, such as the iClever 30W Type C Wall Charger.

Note that Apple introduced fast charging with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. That means, if you own an older iPhone, you might still benefit from a more powerful power adapter, but you won’t be able to recharge your iPhone to 50% battery capacity in only 30 minutes.

The fastest way to charge an iPhone
Click on the image to watch the video on YouTube.

Reviewed Chargers and Cables

Various Apple and 3rd-Party Power Adapters
Various Apple and 3rd-Party Power Adapters
Product
iClever 30W Type C Wall Charger $15.99
Apple 12W USB power adapter (iPad) $49.00
Apple 30W USB-C power adapter $49.00
Apple 87W USB-C power adapter $79.00
Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable (1M) $26.99

Charging Speeds Compared

iPhone Xs Charging Speeds Compared
iPhone Xs Charging Speeds Compared (Source: MacRumors)

In 2017, Julie Clover of MacRumors did a test, comparing the iPhone X charging speed of various wireless and wired methods. Since Apple hasn’t announced any improvements in the area of quick charging with the iPhone Xs, I assume we can still rely on those test results.

Apple’s official statement is that you’ll need one of the following adapters to take advantage of fast charging:

  • Apple 29W, 30W, 61W, or 87W USB-C Power Adapter
  • A comparable third-party USB-C power adapter that supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD)

So according to Apple, you need at least 29W of power supply to fast-charge an iPhone 8 or newer. The question is, does using an 87W MacBook power adapter further increase the charging speed? Apple doesn’t say, but according to the MacRumors tests, a higher wattage doesn’t necessarily result in faster speeds.

5W Wireless 7.5W Wireless 5W Wired 12W Wired 18W USB-C 29W USB-C 30W USB-C 87W USB-C
60 Minutes 38% 46% 39% 72% 79% 78% 77% 79%
45 Minutes 29% 36% 30% 56% 68% 66% 65% 66%
30 Minutes 20% 27% 21% 39% 49% 49% 45% 49%
15 Minutes 11% 14% 11% 21% 28% 27% 26% 27%
0 Minutes 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1%

Based on Julie’s findings, you only need an 18W power adapter to get the fastest charging speed, which seems to contradict Apple’s statement.

Related: Yohann Wooden iPhone & Apple Watch Charging Stand

What’s not surprising is that using a 5W adapter results in the slowest overall charging speeds. 15 minutes will only charge your iPhone’s battery to approximately 11%. However, if you use a charger that provides, at least, 18 Watts of power, you can recharge your iPhone’s battery to over 26% capacity in the same timeframe.

How To Get The Fastest Charging Speeds

To charge an iPhone as quickly as possible, I recommend abandoning the 5W power brick and upgrading to a more powerful adapter. The good news is that you might already have a faster charger at home.

iPad Power Adapter

Apple 12W USB Power Adapter
Apple 12W USB Power Adapter for iPad

If you own an iPad, you can use the 12W power adapter Apple included with it. We had done that for years and long before Apple made fast charging available for the iPhone. The iPad power adapter doesn’t provide the fastest charging speeds, but it’s almost twice as fast as the iPhone’s 5W brick.

MacBook Power Adapter

Apple 12W USB Power Adapter
Apple 87W USB Power Adapter MacBook Pro

If you own a newer MacBook or MacBook Pro, you can use the included USB-C power adapter. I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it came with a 61W USB-C power adapter. That’s plenty of watts to get the fastest charging speeds my iPhone Xs supports.

All I need to repurpose my MacBook’s charger is a matching USB-C to Lightning cable. I didn’t own one, so I ordered one on Amazon the other day. At the time of this writing, there are only a handful of third-party cables available, but all of them have bad reviews. I have made the best experience with genuine Apple cable as they seem to last longer than most cheaper knockoffs, and I recommend you do the same until more reliable 3rd-party options become available.

Third-Party USB-C Charger With Power Delivery (PD)

iClever 30W USB-C Wall Charger with Power Delivery
iClever 30W USB-C Wall Charger with Power Delivery

For a third-party USB-C charger to fast-charge your iPhone, it has to support USB Power Delivery (USB-PD). iClever makes high-quality accessories, including a 30W USB-C charger that I can recommend.

The iClever wall charger has a single USB-C port and an LED that indicates if the connected device supports fast- or regular charging. From a safety perspective, it features protection again short-circuits, overheating, etc. It also has an 18-months replacement warranty, which is rare for consumer electronics.

Specifications

  • Input: AC 100-240V 50Hz Max 0.7A
  • Output: DC 5V/3A, 9V/3A, 12V/2.5A, 15V/2A, 20V/1.5A
  • Power: 30W
  • Size: 56 x 47.5 x 28mm / 2.2 x 1.87 x 1.1in
  • Weight: 70g/2.5oz

The iClever charger supports pretty much all USB-C devices on the market, and it can even charge a 12-inch MacBook. I’ll definitely keep one of these puppies in my travel backpack!

The Fastest Way To Charge An iPhone Xs

You probably already knew the charging speed of an iPhone depends on the power adapter you use. You likely also knew that the 5W adapter Apple includes with each iPhone sucks. What you might not have known is that USB-C power adapters offer the highest charging speeds and that you can re-purpose a MacBook power adapter, if you already own one. If not, I recommend giving the iClever wall charger a try. It’s much less expensive and Apple’s chargers, and it’s powerful enough to deliver the highest charging speeds.

What about you – Do you prefer the slower but more convenient wireless or faster, wired charging? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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