The iPhone has gone through many changes over the last decade, but one thing remained unchanged until last year - the 5W power adapter. Since iPhone 6, every iPhone model has been fast charging capable, which means they can actually be charged using a 12W or higher power adapter.
We're expecting significant changes this year, too, with the new iPhone 12 Series. You may have heard that the 5W power brick will not be included in the iPhone 12 box and that as an alternative, Apple will release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory.
But is it necessary to buy a fast charger to speed up your iPhone's charging time, and is the 20W charger only for iPhone 12 or newer iPhones?
Can You Use the 20W Charger to Charge All iPhones?
Apple has various USB power adapters, including the 5W brick and fast charging options. But how fast can you charge an iPhone? Before we get to the bottom of this question, let's take a look at available Apple iPhone fast chargers.
Fast Chargers You Can Use With Your iPhone
Apple provides power adapters of 10W, 12W, 18W, 29W, 30W, 61W, 87W, and 96W. While some of them are included in iPad and Macbook boxes, they are all considered "fast chargers" that shorten iPhone charging time. The downside is that these higher wattage adapters are larger and heavier.
To fast charge, you need a fast-charging phone and power adapter. Besides, a USB C to Lightning cable is required if you want to charge your iPhone (Lightning) with the fast-charging adapters (USB-C) from Apple. The charging power and speed depend on the minimum output of the two devices. If an iPhone supports 18W fast charging, then the maximum charging capacity is 18W, even if you use a 96W charger.
The Fast Charging Power of iPhones
iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and later iPhone models support the USB Power Delivery (PD) fast charging standards. However, their fast-charging power varies. iPhone 8 has the lowest power of 12W, while later models can handle up to 18W. While 18W seems pretty fast, Apple doesn't have an edge in this area compared with most other phone makers. Last year, Samsung launched its fast 45W charging stand, while Xiaomi showcased its 100W super-fast charging technology.
Although still behind in the race for super-fast charging speeds, Apple has upgraded slightly from 18W to 22W with the iPhone 11 models.
How Fast is Apple's 20W Charger?
The 20W fast charger is not a bad choice if you want to fast-charge your iPhone 12 or earlier iPhone model.
What’s the iPhone’s Charging Time with the 20W Charger?
Image credit: inviolabs
The standard 5W adapter takes 3.5 hours or more to charge an iPhone 11 entirely. Assuming the iPhone 12 has a similar battery size as iPhone 11 and adopts the same fast charging technology, the 20W fast charger will be able to charge up to 50% in 30 minutes, and up to 100% in 2 hours and 8 minutes or so. Want to charge faster? You can grab a charger of 30W or higher, though the difference is hardly noticeable.
Is 2 Hours+ iPhone Charging Time Enough?
It depends. Say you have to leave in ten minutes, and your iPhone 11 only has a 10% charge, how much can you charge before you need to go? Using a 20W charger provides an extra 20% of power to the battery (17% with an 18W charger). However, 30% won't reassure most people, so taking a power bank is the only option.
The truth is, many people feel irritated having to wait hours for their phone battery to increase, and then start to panic when it shows a low-ish 20% or even 50%. Low battery anxiety is real, and it's not so much about knowing that your battery is about to die, but because you have no idea when you may be able to recharge.
We all want our handsets to have a larger battery and last longer than 12 hours, but most phone makers (and consumers) have no interest in compromising smartphones' sleek look for large phone batteries.
However, the Vivo IQOO 5 Pro, announced last month, supports a whopping 120W charging power with their specifically designed power adapter. Yeah, you heard it right—120W fast charges up to 50% in just 7 minutes and 100% in 15 minutes.
This option certainly gives you more freedom compared to standard charging. While you can do other things while waiting for your phone to charge to 80%, it's sometimes impossible. Power banks can be taken with you to charge on the go, but they're often cumbersome and inconvenient to use.
Super-fast charging further shortens the charging time of your phone to set you free sooner. You don't need to find time to charge your iPhone; in the time it takes you to brush your teeth and shower, your phone is ready to go.
But It isn't Everywhere Yet.
To enjoy super-fast charging, you have to use specific power adapters and cables, which might only be compatible with particular phone models. Many phone makers, big and small, are developing super-fast charging on their own, using their technology. For example, a super-fast charger from Samsung probably won't work with a phone from another brand. Universal compatibility has yet to exist, and will likely be a long time coming based on the limited number of smartphones that currently support super-fast charging.
The 20W power adapter aside, Apple also offers other adapters that can fast charge your iPhone. The 30W chargers work too, and they can also charge other devices like your iPad or even laptops.
Just make sure you use the correct fast charging cable and charger. The iPhone 14 series and older models are equipped with a Lightning port while the iPhone 15 uses USB-C as charge for power.
Fueled by the public's unabated enthusiasm for cell phones and growing concerns about charging and battery, we will start to see fast charging more often on the phone market. It still has a long way to go, though, before it becomes as universal and economical as regular charging.
More on iPhone charging:
- Everything You Need to Know about Fast Charging Your iPhone
- Fast charging will damage your cell phone battery life? How to fix it?
- Why is My Phone Charging So Slow on Wireless Chargers?
- iPhone battery life too short? You’ve been charging it wrong the whole time