How to charge your smartphone or tablet faster
With so many phones and tablets not supplied with USB chargers these days, it's possible that your current charger isn't charging your phone or tablet as fast as it could be. Here's how to charge your phone or tablet faster, even if it doesn't support Qualcomm Quick Charge. Here's how to charge your phone or tablet faster.
First off, it's important to understand how the tech works, since not all chargers are created equal.
You've probably noticed that your phone or tablet will charge much slower when it's connected to a PC or laptop's USB port than when it is to a mains power adaptor. And you may have noticed your phone will charge faster when connected to the charger that came with your tablet. That's because different chargers have different power outputs.
While a PC's USB port is specified at 2.5W for USB 1.0 and 2.0 and 4.5W for USB 3.0 (so always use a USB 3.0 port in preference to USB 1.0 or 2.0 when available), a phone charger might be rated at 5W and a tablet charger 10W, for example.
We calculate the wattage by multiplying the current (the number of amps) and the voltage. So, if your charger is specified at 5V, 1A, it can supply 5W. If it is specified at 5V, 2A it can supply 10W.
Nowadays there's also Quick Charge, which we'll come on to later.
How to charge your smartphone or tablet faster: Can I use a phone charger with a tablet; can I use a tablet charger with a phone?
You can use any USB charger with any phone or tablet, with the only caveat that if there isn't sufficient power available you may find your device won't charge - this is often the case with iPads, which will not charge from a PC's standard USB port.
Note that your device will draw only the power it requires. If you plug a 10W charger into a phone that accepts only 5W, it will still draw just 5W and won't charge any faster than it would with a lower-specified charger.
However, many phones and most tablets will accept a higher input. Check the spec of your phone and your charger now to see whether you could be benefitting from faster charging.
How to charge your phone or tablet faster: What else can I do?
Several tips are often bandied around that claim to allow for faster charging. One of those is to remove its case. We're not convinced by the success of this tip, although you could argue that by avoiding excessive heat build-up you will prolong the life of your device's battery, allowing it to operate at maximum performance for longer.
Another potentially useful tip, if you can bear to go offline for an hour or two, is to put your phone or tablet either into Flight mode or switch it off during charging. This may charge your device quicker because it isn't busy doing any other tasks that would otherwise place a drain on the battery.
How to charge your iPad or iPhone faster from a Mac
This tip is Apple-specific, and applies only to iDevices connected to an Apple Mac or MacBook's USB port. Whereas Macs with USB 2.0 ports offer 2.5W of power, and those with USB 3.0 ports 4.5W of power, Apple claims that one of those USB 3.0 ports is able to offer 5.5W - which means using this will be comparable to using the 5W charger that came with your iPhone (but not the 10W charger that came with your iPad).
Note that this is possible only when the iDevice is the first Apple device plugged into the computer. If you have an Apple wired keyboard or mouse you will need to remove these, hook up your iPhone or iPad, and then reconnect the keyboard and mouse. This won't work if you're running Windows through Boot Camp.
For more advice on how to charge your iPad or iPhone faster see our sister site, Macworld UK.
For the most efficient charging from a PC's USB port, make sure the computer is powered on and the screen is awake. If you're using a laptop's USB port, keep it plugged into the mains.