How to Fast Charge iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR

iPhone USB Fast Charging Explained

Last year with the iPhone X and iPhone 8, Apple finally got around to adding fast charging support to its iPhones. It has continued that trend with the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max this year. Sadly, despite their premium price tag, Apple continues to bundle a paltry 5W USB-A power adapter with its iPhones.

This means that for the fastest charging experience, one will have to separately invest in a fast charger for their iPhone. However, don’t just go ahead and buy any fast charger for your iPhone since they will not be compatible with it. You will have to buy a specific kind of charger for your iPhone to enjoy fast charging on it. Confused? Read below then.

Fast Charging iPhone XS, XS Max, iPhone XR and iPhone X

USB-PD

There are not one but multiple fast charging technologies out there. Android OEMs have come up with their own fast charging technologies like Dash Charge and Warp Charge from OnePlus, Oppo’s SuperVOOC, Huawei’s SuperCharge, and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge is the most popular of the lot but it is not as fast as Huawei’s SuperCharge which can push up to 50W of power to a device.

The problem with all these charging standards is that they are all incompatible with each other. This means you cannot use a Qualcomm-certified Quick Charger to fast charge your OnePlus 6 or Google Pixel 3 and vice versa.

To solve these issues and to further expand the USB ecosystem, USB-IF — the body behind the USB standard — came up with its own fast charging standard called USB Power Delivery. This fast charging spec is a part of USB-C and it is capable of supplying up to 100W of power. USB-PD was designed with not just in smartphones in mind but other power hungry devices as well like laptops, monitors, DACs, and more.

Since USB-C is soon going to become the port for all types of connectivity, there’s a possibility of USB-PD becoming the fast charging spec of the future. Apple has already adopted USB-C as the only form of connectivity option across its MacBook, MacBook Pro, and iPad lineup. And along with USB-C, Apple also adopted the USB PD fast charging tech for its devices. The advantage of USB PD is that as USB-C becomes commonplace, so will USB PD.

This means that you can use your MacBook’s charger to charge your iPad Pro. Or vice versa — though the speeds will vary depending on the charger’s wattage and device capabilities. Similarly, you can use your MacBook’s charger to charge your Nintendo Switch and use the latter’s charger to fast charge your iPad Pro or iPhone. While these devices have different power requirements, since USB-PD is universal in nature, it will automatically negate the power required by a device. So, even if you use a 65W MacBook charger to charge your iPhone, it will only charge at its maximum capacity of 18W.

While the iPhone does not feature a USB-C port, it does support USB Power Delivery. And since all the various fast charging technologies are incompatible with each other, this means that you cannot use a Dash Charger or SuperCharger to fast charge your iPhone. You must use a USB-PD charger to fast charge an iPhone.

The Problem with USB Power Delivery

The problem is that USB-PD chargers are hard to come by and expensive. Worse, a USB-PD charger uses a USB-C connector instead of a USB-A port. This means you will have to use a USB-C to Lighting cable to fast charge your iPhone. These cables are expensive and hard to find. This might change early next year when MFi-certified cables from other OEMs hit the market.

Another issue with USB-PD charging for smartphones is that it is not as fast as other competing solutions. OnePlus’ Dash Charge and Warp Charge supply 20W and 30W of power respectively to a compatible OnePlus device and the charging speed remains the same irrespective of whether the device is being used or not. And it does so without heating the phone by much. The same is not true for USB-PD. For smartphones, it can only supply a maximum of 18W of power and the charging rate will drop if one uses their device during the process. Worse, the device will heat up as well since the voltage conversion process is done by the phone and not by the charger itself.

It is also important to note that USB PD or any kind of fast charging needs to be supported by phone also. Apple supports USB PD on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. If you charge any other iPhone with a USB PD charger, it will only charger at a maximum of 10W.

So Who Else Uses USB PD?

Apart from Apple, Google also uses USB PD to offer fast charging on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 series of devices. While Samsung does not officially support USB PD, its flagship devices starting from the Galaxy S8 can be fast charged using a USB PD charger. The company’s fast charger, however, is not USB PD compliant.

All other Android OEMs uses their own or Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0+ charging technology is compliant with USB Power Delivery which means a QC 4.0+ charger will fast charge a device supporting USB Power Delivery. However, QC 4.0+ has failed to attract OEMs and its adoption has been pretty slow so far.

iPhone 8, iPhone X, and iPhone XS Fast Charging Time

A fast charger will charge your compatible iPhone faster from 0-100. But the biggest benefit it will offer will be from 0-50 percent. Using a compatible fast charger, you can charge your completely drained iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, or iPhone XR to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. After that, to ensure the battery is not affected negatively by the heat generated, the amount of current being sent to the device is reduced thereby slowing down overall charging times. Nonetheless, an iPhone 8 Plus will charge to from 0-100 percent in around 120 minutes with a fast charger compared to 190 minutes with its stock 5W charger.

iPhone 8 Plus - Charging Time

The iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max will take a similar time to charge from 0-100 percent with a fast charger in around the same time (~120 mins).

How to Tell If Your iPhone is Fast Charging

Most Android devices will show a notification highlighting that they are being fast charged. Sadly, your iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, or iPhone XR is not going to show any such notification when it is being fast charged with a compatible charger. Given that the cable you are using might not support USB-PD fast charging, this is a big issue. So, if you are unsure whether your iPhone is fast charging or not, the best way to know is to keep a tab on its charging times. If everything fits right into the place, your iPhone should charge from 0-50 percent in just 30 minutes.

Fast Chargers to Buy for iPhone XS, XS Max, iPhone XR and iPhone X

With everything out of the way, if you are simply looking to buy a USB Power Delivery compliant charger to fast charge your iPhone 8 or iPad, check out some of our recommendations below. While Apple also sells a USB-PD compliant USB-C charger, it is extremely expensive. You can buy a third-party USB-PD charger and a cable in that price!

You will also have to buy a USB-C to Lighting cable which is relatively expensive. Apple sells one for $19.99 and its best to avoid third-party cables right now since they might not work properly.


Have any other question about fast charging your iPhone X or iPhone XS? Drop a comment and we will clear them for you!