For starters, you should avoid charging your iPhone with your computer.
You look down at your iPhone and realize that it’s very close to dying. It definitely won’t last you the rest of the day, and it’s not looking good for the next few hours either. And the worst part is that you’re on your way out of your home and into the world, where you might not have a chance to charge your device.
You could quickly charge your iPhone right then and there in the few minutes before you head out, but will it be enough to last you? Possibly, if you use the right tools and maximize certain features and settings.
Let’s go over several ways you can quickly get that battery charged up enough to help you get through the next hour or so — or even longer. A few methods are tried and true, such as turning on Airplane Mode to cut down power drain associated with being on a cellular network, and others are newer, like using a wireless MagSafe charger.
These methods can be mixed and matched, too, and hopefully can get you at least enough power to get you through essential tasks.
If you have a fast charger, use it
The quickest way to charge your iPhone is with a fast charger: connecting a 20W 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 percent 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.
Unfortunately, Apple no longer provides power adapters when you purchase a new phone, only the cable, but you can purchase Apple’s 20W 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 20W brick to fast-charge an iPhone 12 and later.
Mkeke makes a 20W charger for under $9. Mkeke
A wireless MagSafe charger is a good idea if you don’t have a fast charger
The second-fastest way to charge your iPhone is with Apple’s MagSafe charger and a 20W power adapter, but for this to work you must own either an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 13 to get the faster 15W 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 15W, a Qi charger only gives you up to 7.5W — which is much slower than a MagSafe, and only slightly faster than the traditional 5W wall charger. Be aware that magnetic wireless chargers that aren’t MagSafe-certified will also charge at the slower 7.5W speed.
The MagSafe charger can be fast, but only in certain scenarios. Patrick Holland/CNET
Don’t use a laptop or desktop computer
Your laptop is a very 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 5W 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.
And don’t use 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.
For better results, turn your phone off while you’re charging it
Even if your screen is off, 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.
You can also put it in Airplane Mode while it’s charging
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.
Use Low Power Mode, Dark Mode and turn down your brightness
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 Mode: The jury is still 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.
Apple’s Low Power Mode helps conserve iPhone battery life. Sarah Tew/CNET
Disable the Optimized Battery Charging feature
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.
Maybe it’s time for a new 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.