Bad habits when charging iPhones

Charging Your iPhone the Wrong Way? Break These Habits Right Now

These tips and tricks can help you charge your iPhone faster.

Nelson Aguilar

Aug. 16, 2022 6:00 a.m. PT

Charging your iPhone isn’t as straightforward as plugging it in — as much as it seems like it should be.

The most common way of charging your phone is with a wall charger, and that’s a good way to do it, but there are so many other ways to charge your phone that can be better… or worse. It really depends on what kind of charger you have, where you charge it and what settings and features you have turned on or off on your phone.

If you need to charge your iPhone, you should do it in a manner that’s both efficient and effective, and these tips and tricks will help you do that so your iPhone can charge faster than before. Here’s what you need to know.

On the go and need to charge your iPhone? Check out Apple’s MagSafe portable battery pack for the iPhone and this list of the best power banks in 2022.

Read moreBest iPhone in 2022: Which of Apple’s Phones Is Right for You?

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Stop using that old charger

The quickest way to charge your iPhone is with a fast charger: a 20-watt power adapter with a USB-C to Lightning cable. As long as you own an iPhone 8 or later, you can fast-charge your phone from dead back up to around 50% battery in about 30 minutes. If you have an hour to spare, you can fully charge it. Even just 10 minutes of fast charging can boost your battery by double digits, so if you’re short on time, always go for the fast charger option.

Read moreBest iPhone 13 Fast Chargers at the Lowest Prices We Can Find

Apple no longer provides power adapters when you buy a new phone, only the cable, but you can purchase Apple’s 20-watt power adapter from Apple and Amazon. According to Apple, you can also use other compatible fast-charging power bricks, but you’ll need at least a 20-watt brick to fast-charge an iPhone 12 and later.

Mkeke USB-C charger
Mkeke makes a 20-watt charger for under $11.Mkeke

A wireless charger is also a good idea, but it has to be this model

The second-fastest way to charge your iPhone is with Apple’s MagSafe charger and a 20-watt power adapter, but for this to work you must own either an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 13 to get the faster 15-watt wireless charging. If your iPhone is dead, you should get to around 30% battery in about 30 minutes of wireless charging.

However, this doesn’t mean you can use any Qi wireless charger, which is the industry standard, for fast charging. While the MagSafe charger supports 15 watts, a Qi charger only gives you up to 7.5 watts — which is much slower than a MagSafe, and only slightly faster than the traditional 5-watt wall charger. Be aware that magnetic wireless chargers that aren’t MagSafe-certified will also charge at the slower 7.5-watt speed.

A MagSafe Charger on a phone in a person's hand
The MagSafe charger can be fast, but only in certain scenarios.Patrick Holland/CNET

Please stop using your laptop or desktop computer to charge your phone

Your laptop is a convenient way to charge your iPhone, especially if you spend most of your day in front of a computer and want to keep a close eye on any incoming text messages and notifications. Unfortunately, your computer will always charge your phone slower than any wall charger or wireless charger out there.

Your computer’s USB port, whether it’s a bigger and older USB-A or the newer, smaller USB-C, cannot deliver the same amount of power as any wall outlet can — even a 5-watt power adapter. And that’s especially true if you have an older computer with a faulty USB port or an incompatible charging cable, both of which can slow down the charging process even more.

MacBook Air M2 2022 laptop
Using a MacBook is an easy way to charge your iPhone, but it’s slower than any wall charger.Dan Ackerman/CNET

And please stay off your iPhone while it’s charging

This goes without saying, but if you want your iPhone to charge as quickly as possible, try to stay off of it as much as possible. If you’re streaming videos or playing mobile games while charging your iPhone, the battery will charge much slower, so just leave it untouched if you can.

This easy tip will definitely speed up your battery charge

Even if your screen is sleeping, your phone is still working in the background, constantly refreshing applications, sending out notifications and turning your screen on — all of which wastes battery. If you want your iPhone to charge quicker, the best thing to do is to turn it off.

If you don’t want to turn it off, you can also do this

If you don’t want to turn off your iPhone, but still want to help it charge faster, you can turn on airplane mode, which disables all wireless transmission functions like cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth — all of which consume power. If they’re off, your iPhone can charge quicker. And this way, you can also quickly turn airplane mode off to quickly check on any text message or phone calls you might be waiting on.

Airplane Mode on the iPhone
Airplane mode will stop notifications from coming in, but will preserve battery while you’re charging your iPhone.Jason Cipriani/CNET

3 iPhone features and settings you definitely should tinker with

You know all of those tips that help you preserve battery in the first place? You can use those same features and settings to help your iPhone charge faster if you don’t plan on turning it off.

  • Low power mode. Turn it on to reduce or affect battery-consuming features like 5G, display brightness, auto-lock, background app refresh, automatic downloads and more.
  • Dark modeThe jury is out on exactly how much dark mode actually saves battery life, but turning it on while you’re charging your iPhone doesn’t hurt, especially if every percent matters.
  • Lower your screen brightness: The brighter your screen, the quicker your battery drains, so turn it all the way down while it charges.
Low Battery Mode on the iPhone
Apple’s low power mode helps conserve iPhone battery life. Sarah Tew/CNET

This iPhone feature might be working against you

Apple has a built-in tool that helps prevent your iPhone battery from degrading as fast, but this same feature also makes your device charge slower. While the feature typically only slows down your iPhone during long periods of charging, and usually overnight, it still might be worth disabling when you’re charging your phone. Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health and toggle off Optimized Battery Charging to turn off this feature.

It might just be time for a new iPhone battery

In the same settings page where you can disable optimized battery charging, you can also check out your battery’s health. If you see a message, like “Your battery’s heath is significantly degraded,” you should look into making an appointment with Apple to replace your battery. A degraded battery doesn’t hold charge as well, so it’ll drain more quickly. A new battery will improve your overall battery life.

You can check out how much it will approximately cost to replace your battery on Apple’s iPhone Battery Service website. The price depends on your service coverage and the make and model: for the iPhone 13 series, the estimate is $69.

Battery Health setting on the iPhone
Go to Settings > Battery to check out your battery health.Victor DiCarlo/CNET

First published on Aug. 5, 2022 at 4:00 a.m. PT.

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