Everything You Need to Know about Fast Charging Your iPhone

Waiting for your iPhone to fully charge can be a real pain sometimes. And it’s only getting worse as smartphones are getting bigger, more powerful along with bigger batteries as well. If you try charging with an older 5W charger, your pain only gets worse and you are going to be waiting a very long time, you could even compare that to some forms of medieval torture. Fortunately, manufacturers are also working on new, faster charging technologies to help you get the most out of the iPhone and ensure that you keep up with our fast-paced world.

1. What is iPhone fast charging?

fast charge iPhone

At the 2017 Apple Event, Tim Cook announced that you could fast charge your iPhone 8 or later.

The words “fast charge” imply everything – the ability to deliver power in a faster way, or to charge your phone quicker. Instead of the old charging standard (5W) and the APPLE 2.4A charging protocol (12W), now the iPhone has adopted the USB PD fast charging protocol, which enables charging that are 3 times faster than the old 5W standard.

2. How does iPhone fast charging work?

For a long time, the standard charging solution that Apple offered for iPhone users was the 5V/1A power adapter, which meant that the maximum output from the charger to a connected device was just 5W. So even though some iPhones were capable of handling 12W (5V/2.4A) or higher, they could only get 5W at a time, which inevitably prolonged the time to recharge the phone.

Charge rate differs between different power adapters

All in all, your iPhone can only take in as much power as the power adapter can provide. And the power of the adapter is decided by the amperage and voltage. Many iPhone users have gone on to purchase third-party power adapters that can supply higher current, for example, 5V/3A, to reduce the charging time. If you use a 5W (5V/1A) power adapter to charge iPhone X, you can recharge up to 20 percent in 30 minutes, but if you use an 18W (5V/3.6A) charger, you can get up to 50 percent in 30 minutes.

To fast charge your iPhone, you need to use an adapter that complies with this fast charging standard.  

3. What is USB PD?

Among a bewildering range of fast charging protocols, the Qualcomm Quick Charge and the USB Power Delivery (USB PD) from the USB Implementers Forum are two of the most popular ones. The Qualcomm Quick Charge was the first fast charging standard, widely used in Android phones including the Samsung Galaxy line; while the USB PD standard is relatively new and adopted by Google and Apple. Apple first introduced the USB PD fast charging standard to the iPad in 2015, then the iPhone in 2017.

USB PD fast charging

The USB PD standard provides a slightly higher power output, up to 100W maximum. Unlike the Qualcomm QC, it’s used in tablets and laptops as well. So, it is expected to see a greater adoption of the USB PD fast charging standard in more devices in the future.

4. What’s PDO?

A USB PD charger or power adapter can deliver a range of voltages, from 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 19V all the way up to 20V, with each voltage being named PDO1, PDO2, PDO3 and so on. The PDOs differ between different chargers. Take the Apple 29W PD charger as an example. It can only deliver two types of voltage: 5V and 14.5V, so the PDO1 of this charger is 5V, and PDO2 is 14.5V. Before the charger delivers power to the device, they negotiate and find the voltage that both devices support. Say an iPhone supports maximum 10V input, if you use the Apple 29W PD power adapter to charge up this iPhone, then the power adapter will only deliver power at PDO1 5V.

first phase and second phase charge rate

Usually iPhone PD fast charging will involve both PDO1 and PDO2 from the power adapter. Because PDO2 has higher voltage than PDO1, PDO2 is used at the start to deliver an initial boost of power for a short period of time. When the battery reaches a specific point, the charger switches to PDO1 and the charging rate becomes visibly slower. It’s not a secret that the rate of charging will decrease when the battery of iPhone reaches around 80%.

5. Which iPhones support USB PD fast charging?

To date, the iPhones that support USB PD fast charging include: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the latest iPhone 11 series. The iPhone 8 can draw a maximum of 12W power, a bit slower than later models which can handle as much as 18W. To enjoy this faster and more convenient way of charging, you need a power adapter that supports USB PD and a Type-C cable.

6. Does fast charging damage the iPhone battery?

There is no doubt that fast charging an iPhone creates more heat than normal charging, but this does not necessarily mean that fast charging will harm the battery.

In fact, the temperature monitoring module inside the iPhone will control the input power based on the real-time temperature of the battery. When it’s too hot, the iPhone module will lower the power delivery rate to make sure it’s under 50 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the iPhone will gradually reduce the input power when the battery reaches 50%, to maximize the lifespan of the battery. When it reaches around 80%, charging becomes significantly slower. This is precisely why some iPhone users think that their iPhones stop charging at 80%. You can learn more about this issue from our previous blog: Why Your iPhone Stops Charging At 80% (& How To Fix It)

iPhone charging stops at 80%

7. What kinds of Apple power adapter can fast charge your iPhone?

So far, Apple produces 18W, 29W, 30W, 61W and 87W USB-C power adapters. The higher the power adapter is, the more it costs. Since the best an iPhone can support is 18W, you should go with the 18W Apple power adapter. The higher-power adapters are for the iPad or MacBook. If you own an iPad and an iPhone, then you just need one power adapter that meets the standard of the bigger device. It’s fine to charge the iPhone with the iPad or MacBook charger. 

Apple chargers that can be used to fast charge iPhone

8. Is it OK to use the third-party power adapter to fast charge your iPhone?

The simple answer is Yes. Apple has been offering the 5V/1A charger for a long time even though their iPhones could handle more. The change was not seen until last year when Apple released the iPhone 11 series. An 18W USB-C power adapter is now included in the package, although sadly only with the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. Not surprisingly, many iPhone users who want to enjoy fast charging have to revert to alternative methods. They either purchase another original Apple power adapter, which, to be honest, is quite expensive, or they turn to third-party chargers.

charger in the iPhone package

There are two things you need to verify before purchasing any third-party power adapter to fast charge your iPhone.

fast charging power adapter

First, make sure the power adapter supports the USB PD standard, the standard that the iPhone follows. Second, check the wattage of the power adapter. The total wattage may not be printed on the device or box of some chargers. But don’t worry, as long as you can find the voltage and amperage, you can do some quick math to calculate the total wattage: Amperage X Voltage=Wattage. A charger of 5V/3A can deliver total 15 wattages, but if you have an iPhone 11, you would need a more powerful charger to get the most out of it’s 18W fast charging.

9. Do you need fast charging cables?

As discussed above, the USB PD fast charging standard works through a Type-C connector. The Type-C (or USB-C) is the latest type of USB cables, with the new chip technology that enables higher current delivery.

Unfortunately, iPhones are still using the Lightning connector that doesn’t work directly with the USB-C power adapter. Instead of switching the Lightning connector to the universal USB-C connector on the phone (which, by the way, is another story), Apple offers USB-C to Lightning cables. And of course, there are third-party manufacturers making the comparable kind of cables because they know even iPhone users cannot resist the competitive price, attractive designs or other things that Apple didn’t make.

USB-C to Lightning cable

Having said that, not all USB-C connectors support the USB PD fast charging standard. All USB-C connectors have the same look, but some of them are not equipped with the necessary chip technology inside. So double check if there is PD output icon or markings before you purchase a third-party fast charging cable.

10. Is there any way to fast charge your iPhone without additional cables and chargers?

As an iPhone user, you probably have more than one Apple device. Do you have to purchase an extra cable and charger just to enjoy fast charging? None of them are cheap, unfortunately, and just think of the mountain of cables and various chargers you have already collected! Is there a way to fast charge your iPhone without adding yet more mess?

Fortunately, the answer is Yes, we have found the perfect solution – the Air Omni.

Plug in to enjoy 18W fast charging

Air Omni convertible Lightning connector

The Air Omni features a Lightning connector that supports the USB PD 18W fast charging standard and you don’t need any additional cable or fast charging charger. Just connect the Lightning interface on your iPhone with the connector and enjoy 18W fast charging. This powerful machine also boasts a USB-C connector, and more importantly, you can switch between both connectors with one single push of a button.

No more mess, anxiety-free

Air Omni PITAKA

The Air Omni saves you from adding not just one, but multiple cables and chargers. It’s a powerful 6-in-1 wireless charger that can support up to six devices at the same time, whether they are wired or wirelessly, iOS or Android, smartphones or any other device. Anything and everything you need can be handled with just this, the ultimate multi-device charger.

In Conclusion

To experience iPhone fast charging, you’ll need an iPhone that supports fast charging, an Apple certified USB-C to Lightning cable and a USB-C PD fast charging power adapter that meets the wattage requirement of the iPhone. Neither cable or charger is cheap, and Apple doesn’t offer them for free unless you have an iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, buying additional cables or chargers don’t just cost extra money but they also create unnecessary mess.

Thankfully PITAKA has come up with an ideal solution-- the Air Omni.

The reliable and versatile Air Omni charging platform offers a hidden Lightning connector to fast charge your iPhone at the maximum 18W speed. You can also fast charge the iPhone wirelessly.

Order now!

Claire

About the Author

Love of tea, movies, video games, and writing. I've been writing hundreds of online articles over the past few years, mainly about technology. If I'm not writing, you can probably find me reading or playing video games.

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