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Can you really charge an iPhone faster with a more powerful charger? We investigate

Can you really charge an iPhone faster with a more powerful charger? We investigate

We are all a spoiled bunch, aren't we? Just think about it – we cook our food without having to chop wood and light fire, we can fly to another continent in a matter of hours, we can access the collective knowledge of the world from a tiny computer that fits in a pocket. Yet no matter where you turn, there always seems to be someone complaining about how much their smartphone sucks; about how waiting a couple of hours for it to recharge is just way too much. The iPhone 6s, for instance, takes two and a half hours to recharge from zero to full. That's bearable, if you ask us, since most people recharge their phones overnight anyway. To others, this might seem like eternity.

Speaking of the iPhone and charging, it has been known for a while that the more recent iPhone models can charge faster than usual under certain conditions. All it takes is a charger more powerful than the one included with the phone in the box. But how much of an impact would that make? That's the question we wanted to answer, so we recharged an iPhone 6s from various power sources and measured how long the process took.

Lab coats – on! Let's get testing

For the purpose of our testing, we drained our iPhone 6s' battery until the phone turned itself off. Then we plugged it to one of several chargers. As alternatives to Apple's stock charger, we used an iPad charger, a MacBook Air's USB port, a Samsung power bank, and a very powerful third-party charger by Anker. For the record, we only did a single recharge test per day to avoid straining the iPhone's battery. Here's a breakdown of the figures we got at the end:

ChargerMaximum rated output
(current and power)
Recharge time
Stock iPhone 6s charger1 amp
5 watts
150 minutes
Anker 40W 5-port
desktop USB charger
2.1 amps
10.5 watts (per port)
136 minutes
Stock iPad Air 2 charger2 amps
10 watts
135 minutes
MacBook Air
(2013 model)
1.1 amp
5.5 watts
147 minutes
Samsung 10,000mAh
power bank
2.1 amps
10.5 watts
155 minutes
source: PhoneArena.com

Тhe good news is that using a beefier charger really does make a difference, as our test results show. But the not-so-good good news is that the iPhone 6s charged only 15 minutes faster than usual, and that in the best-case scenario. That's a boost of only 10% – underwhelming given the power output of some of the alternative chargers used.

So what's going on here? 

Powerful chargers may charge the iPhone 6s only slightly faster

Common sense suggests that an iPhone 6s would charge twice as fast when plugged to, let's say, an iPad's charger. The tablet's power brick is twice as powerful compared to the iPhone's stock charger, after all. But what's going on behind the curtains is a bit more complicated than this. You see, a smartphone is designed to draw only as much power as it can handle safely. That goes for the iPhone 6s as well. In other words, it doesn't matter if your charger is rated at a million watts when the phone being charged can receive only 5W or so. 

Then there's the rate at which a smartphone, the iPhone 6s included, draws power from the source. It varies. In general, an empty or near-empty smartphone battery can be safely charged at high power. Once it reaches a certain charge level – around 80%, in Apple's case – the charging rate is slowed down to prolong the battery cell's life. 

Can you really charge an iPhone faster with a more powerful charger? We investigate

In conclusion, it is perfectly fine to charge an iPhone 6s from a charger other than the one it came with. This can be an iPad charger, another smartphone's charger, a third-party charger, a laptop or a computer – it doesn't really matter. (Although using no-name counterfeit chargers is definitely not a good idea.) As long as the charger can provide power from a USB port, it should work. Just don't expect to see your iPhone charge dramatically faster, no matter how powerful of a charger you're using. 

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posted on 09 Mar 2016, 03:25 7

1. Unordinary (unregistered)

It's time to take a page from Samsungs book, and take a page from Samsung.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 03:29 2

2. VirginSeventyTwo (banned) (Posts: 7; Member since: 03 Mar 2016)

iPhones and iPads with latest model are always stack up with others when it comes to battery life, denials gonna deny!!

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 03:39 10

5. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4783; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

Battery life has nothing to do with this article. This is about charging times, not the battery from a single charge.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 03:41 7

6. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2974; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Wassup AkoSiKuting?

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 05:27

16. Wiencon (Posts: 2022; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)

Why are you replying to him every time? :P

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 06:59

21. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2974; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Trying to expect a reply, really need some comic relief lately.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 03:31

3. Lenny86 (Posts: 263; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)

Apple gotta get rid of these crap chargers they made in the last years.

They last for two-three months max(cables).Wireless would really welcome from there in the iPhone 7!

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 03:50 2

7. HonestRealist (Posts: 196; Member since: 25 Jan 2016)

Perhaps you should take better care of your s**t? I have at least 8 lightning cables that are still in great condition. I use 10w iPad chargers for everything btw. And another thing is I only want wireless charging when it truly is wireless, that docking station conductive buillshit is more cumbersome than anything else.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 04:19 12

8. Unordinary (unregistered)

But why do you have 8 lol?? Because the first 4 are in bad condition?

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 04:33

11. HonestRealist (Posts: 196; Member since: 25 Jan 2016)

Maybe even more, I buy alot of s**t, every iPhone annually since the 4s, the iPad mini 1, 2 and 4 the iPad 4th gen and Air 2, an iPod touch that's collecting dust in my dash, and when upgrading I often hand it down to family, without the charger of course.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 04:33 2

12. Lenny86 (Posts: 263; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)

So you use 8 in same times.I use only one,for two iphones and an ipad.LOL
These oem cables are crap!

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 04:39

13. HonestRealist (Posts: 196; Member since: 25 Jan 2016)

No, I use 2, the rest are all neatly packed away, some brand new, one for my phone and one for my iPad. I take care of my s**t. Like an adult should.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 05:28 1

17. Lenny86 (Posts: 263; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)

Good for you.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 05:42

19. HonestRealist (Posts: 196; Member since: 25 Jan 2016)

Take notes, learn to respect and look after your things, and it could be good for you too.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 07:26 3

22. Hitokage (Posts: 103; Member since: 01 Mar 2015)

Apple's cables are just really bad. Most everyone I know with an iPhone has had several chargers break, some of which not too long after they got them. They're not really designed with durability in mind (unless they've changed that with the A9 generation of devices)

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 09:00 1

24. AlikMalix (unregistered)

One Hundred Percent Agree!!! I have all of my original Apple chargers from iPhone 5 thru iPhone 6s. The third party cheap ones don't last long, true, but my Apple original charging cables are really good. And the wireless thing - I rather Apple take their time - make it truly wireless than put out that pad-charging and call it a day.

I'm also still using my 5s headphones with my 6s as they're still good (6s EarPods are still in box). Granted, I use wireless BT more than half the time but still.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 14:54

29. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 14501; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

Wireless charging is never goign to be funny wireless with something like solar power. The fact is bruh, you still need a source for the power and last I checked it called a power outlet.

It is as wireless as you are goign to get. Beaming power and beaming something like a wifi signal have the same effects. The farther away the less effective. The problem with power is it is not a loss-less entity. As soon as it leaves the source, it loses its strength.

Its like a bolt of lightning. There is no doubt that if a bolt directly struct you, it could potentially kill you. But if that bolt struct another object first and then hits you, it will lose much of its intensity which means you are more likely to survive the hit, though again it could still kill you.

The point is, electricity is strongest from a source then when it isn't.

posted on 14 Mar 2016, 00:46

32. HonestRealist (Posts: 196; Member since: 25 Jan 2016)

Techie, techie, techie... Sigh... Don't you know the tech ALREADY exists for true wireless charging? And that Apple is working on it?

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 03:35

4. BobLawblaw (unregistered)

Well ba-jaysus..

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 04:21

9. tyrionTheWise (unregistered)

Isn't the air 2's charger 12W. At least mine is.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 04:22 1

10. duartix (Posts: 311; Member since: 01 Apr 2014)

This is a useless lab test, when they don't measure how long does it take to charge up to 80%.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 05:04

15. EcoCare (Posts: 443; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)

True, but the 15-minutes difference shows that it's not that important anymore. Probably it's just 5 minutes faster in fast charging phase.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 04:44

14. legiloca (Posts: 1460; Member since: 11 Nov 2014)

I use an iPad 3 stock charger for my iPhone 6S Plus and it finished 125 minutes compared to 165 minutes from its own charger. Well, 40 minutes is well worth the change

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 05:40 5

18. Diezparda (Posts: 889; Member since: 23 Oct 2013)

Well then i'm not the typical person who charges my phone overnight, i wake up early and charge my device for 1 hour and then leave for works. Quick charge seems so important to people like me, thats why i prefer Samsung or other android device that supporting quick charge.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 05:55

20. blehkwide (Posts: 20; Member since: 24 Feb 2016)

Mine charges up in an hour 40 minutes. Maybe my iPad charger is faster.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 08:09

23. Iodine (Posts: 1395; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)

Of course it does, it can draw more power from it.

It's been so since iPhone 6. It's far more pronounced on the Plus as its got more "iPad" sized battery. You should test the Plus one too.
It's even more pronounced on the 6S as they have smaller cells that supposedly still can draw the same amount of power - charging is even faster.
The result you got is bit too long i would say, saw an iPhone charging much faster than that.
And lastly fast charge is really obvious with the smart battery case and it's new battery technology, the difference between regular and 12W charge is huge.

But doesn't matter anyway as most still think it takes 4 hours or more and no fast charge exists.

posted on 10 Mar 2016, 11:08

31. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4783; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

So your casual observation is more solid than their testing?

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 09:42

25. natypes (Posts: 1106; Member since: 02 Feb 2015)

What is this, the special olympics for charging?

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 10:51 2

26. sobit81 (Posts: 38; Member since: 18 Apr 2015)

Use one more powerful and will explode, that is what iphone does. Crap telephone.

posted on 09 Mar 2016, 12:10

27. warrenellis93 (Posts: 238; Member since: 21 Jul 2011)

I can charge my s5 faster with my lenovo tablet charger through the micro usb port (i dont have the 3.0 quick charge cable for my s5) . I dont know the specs on either charger but it is a lot faster.

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