Everyone wants their phone to charge faster, especially if they’re about to head out and are worried that their handset will last the day. There are ways of making any phone charge faster, but ultimately, you’re at the mercy of the limits of the phone’s capacity to take in power quickly, as well as your method of charging. The best wireless chargers might offer handy cord-free charging, but they're not the speediest way to charge your phone, for example.
We’ll get on the ways that everyone can make their phone charge faster in a moment, but first a quick explainer of why phones charge at different speeds.
A word about wattage
Without getting deep into the weeds of electric currents, some phones — typically the more expensive ones — offer fast charging which means the rate at which their battery fills can dramatically increase when paired with the right charger.
The OnePlus 10 Pro (opens in new tab), for example, supports 80W fast charging, which means that with the supplied charger, you can go from less than 5% full to 100% in under half an hour.
Unfortunately, the magic comes from both the charger and phone combining. In other words, if your phone is older or cheaper, then it’ll likely be capped at a slower charging speed. You can’t plug a 45W charger into a phone with 5W charging speeds and expect it to fill up faster — it likely won’t cause damage, but it will still cap at the slower speed.
So, with that in mind…
1. Use a power outlet and the fastest charger your phone will support
Your power outlet is almost always faster than using a USB outlet on your desktop or laptop. USB ports, at best, will only put out around 2.5W.
That said, as mentioned above, not all chargers are created equal, and while very few will be slower than your computer’s USB port, it’s important to get the highest wattage charger that’ll match your phone.
Just Google your phone’s model and “watts” and you should figure out what its charging speed is. The iPhone 8, for example, is up to 18W, while the Samsung Galaxy S7 (opens in new tab) is 15W. Something like the Motorola Moto G5 maxes out at 10W. Then you just need to find a charger to match your watt capability.
2. Don’t go wireless
Wireless charging is more convenient than using a wired charger, but it’s almost always slower. So if time is of the essence, ditch the convenience for raw speed and plug it into the wall.
3. Stop using your phone while you charge it
It may sound obvious, but if you’re really keen for your phone to charge as quickly as possible, you need to put it down. Otherwise, you’re just using the incoming electricity to run the screen and power the processor for your busy work.
Checking social media or streaming to your TV won't help your phone charge quickly, but even if you’re not actively using it, it’ll still draw power. Consider putting it into Airplane mode to cut it wasting power on Wi-Fi on LTE or, better still, turn it off completely until it’s required. That’ll give you the most power in the battery for when you need it.
4. Keep it cool
If you’re trying to charge your phone on a hot day, it’s worth moving it to a cooler room to charge. Batteries are sensitive to heat, and if a phone detects it’s too hot, it’ll slow charging speeds down to a safe level.
The sweet spot is in the 68-77°F range, so don’t leave it on a window ledge in the sun or near a warm radiator. You might even find you need to take it out of its case if it warms up your phone when in use.
5. Make yourself less reliant on home charging
Okay, this isn’t technically a way of making your phone charge faster, but if you constantly find yourself worrying about whether it’ll top up in time, you may want to make yourself less vulnerable to battery shortages.
The obvious way of doing this is to buy a portable charger. Just charge it up, pop it in your bag, and it’ll always be there if your phone needs a bit more juice.
Alternatively, if your phone used to have a stellar battery and now doesn’t, it may just need replacing. Sadly, most phones don’t have user-replaceable batteries these days but contact the manufacturer or a local repair store to see if they can help you out.
Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. He often writes for T3 and Tom's Guide. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.
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