iPhone Fast Charging Topic: Facts, History, and Recommendations

Looking for a fast charger that's compatible with your iPhone and not sure where to begin? We break down what you need to know about fast charging the latest iPhones, including the new iPhone 13, so you can fast charge at the fastest speed possible for your device.

Since the release of the iPhone 8, Apple has enabled fast charging for their newer iPhone models. Before, Apple provided a 5W USB plug in the box, but since 2020, they no longer provide any charger in the box and only provide a USB-C to Lightning cable. In order for fast charging to work with the iPhone, you need a USB-C charger and a USB-C to Lightning cable. Apple already provides the cable to its customers, but the charger has to be purchased separately. So which charger is best for the iPhone? This article discusses some of the various quirks of iPhone fast charging and how not every iPhone fast charges the same.

iPhone Fast Charging Enabled with the iPhone 8 Release

Before 2020, you could potentially fast charge the iPhone 8 and newer at 18W. Apple did not provide an 18W charger, only a 5W charger. But you could technically use a 30W charger or even a higher wattage MacBook Pro charger and still get 18W charging for your iPhone. Apple stated that this would allow the iPhone to charge up to 50% in 30 minutes. 

Apple Upgrades Fast Charging to 20W

In 2020, Apple released their own 20W charger, signaling that the new iPhone 12 releases got a fast charging upgrade from the previous 18W. The iPhone 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max could potentially charge at 20W, while the iPhone 12 mini could charge at the maximum of 18W (like previously), but usually the iPhone 12 mini would charge at around 15W.

Fast Charging for iPhone 13

In 2021, Apple did not release any new chargers along with the new iPhone 13 models, suggesting that the iPhone 13 models would be similar to the iPhone 12 models in terms of max fast charging speed. However, some test results on the iPhone 13 Pro Max in particular show that the max charging speed has increased.

Charging the iPhone 13 Pro Max with various Apple power adapters shows that the peak charging power is around 27W. This means that to get the fastest charging speed possible for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, you will need to get a 30W (or higher) USB-C charger. For example, the Apple's 30W charger supports iPad, iPad Pro, and the MacBook Air (2018 and newer). 

Fast Charger Recommendations

Based on fast charging test results, here are the recommended chargers for each iPhone model. (Detailed test results below.) Note that you could technically use a higher wattage USB-C charger than what we list to fast charge these devices, but we list the charger based on the maximum speed you can get.

For the iPhone 13 mini and 12 mini, the 18W charger is what we recommend.

For the iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max, the 20W charger is what we recommend. You could also use a 25W or 30W charger, but there will be no significant difference in charging time.

For the iPhone 13 Pro Max, we recommend a 30W charger.

Need a future-proof fast charger that will charge all the iPhone models at the maximum power possible? Check out the ZMI zPower Turbo Cube Gallium charger.

Test Results and Things to Note

For the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the peak power using various Apple power adapters are as follows: 

5W adapter (peak charging power 5W), 12W adapter (peak charging power 10W),  18W adapter (peak charging power 18W), 20W adapter (peak charging power 20W), 30W adapter (peak charging power 27W), 61W adapter (peak charging power 27W), 87W adapter (peak charging power 27W), 96W adapter (peak charging power 27W)

Test results of fast charging with various iPhone 13 models:

iPhone 13 mini when charged with a 20W charger reached a peak power around 15W and was completely charged in 87 minutes.

iPhone 13 with 20W charger peaked around 20W+ and was completely in 89 minutes.

iPhone 13 Pro with 30W charger peaked around 23W and was completely charged in 89 minutes.

iPhone 13 Pro Max with 30W charger peaked around 27W, stayed at that level for about 27 minutes and reached 100% in 86 minutes. 

From these test results, we can see that the overall charging time (from 0 to 100% full) is around 90 minutes, regardless of iPhone 13 model. However, since the larger iPhone models have larger batteries, they will need to charge at a higher wattage to get a similar charging time as the smaller iPhone models.

Also, benefits of fast charging the iPhone are usually felt in the first 30 minutes of charging. For example, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is able to charge at around 27W for around 27 minutes, but it is unlikely to maintain the peak power for much longer than that. Fast charging the iPhone 13 Pro Max is also affected by usage. When you are using the iPhone while charging, the iPhone is more likely to reach peak charging power, whereas if you are charging the iPhone on standby with the screen off, it will fast charge at a lower wattage.

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