How to charge the iPhone 15 now that Apple has switched to USB-C


Apple switched from its classic Lightning connector to USB-C in the iPhone 15. If you are upgrading from a years-old iPhone, this may mean you need to get hold of a new charge adapter.

In the iPhone 15 box, you don’t get one of these adapters, just a USB-C to USB-C cable.

Wondering what to buy? There’s good news.

If you have a somewhat recent MacBook or iPad, you can use its power adapter to charge your iPhone. The question here is simple: do you have an Apple power plug with a little USB-C slot on it? You can use that.

The official Apple charger for the iPhone 15 series is the Apple 20W USB-C power adapter. This costs £19 direct from the company, and it’s a pretty neat design.

You may have encountered it before — the stalks that plug into the wall fold into the body of the adapter for easier storing. It also helps you avoid the horror movie moment of standing on these exposed legs while wandering around in the dark at home.

But is it the best charger to use?

Best iPhone 15 USB-C charger

Apple says the iPhone 15 family, right up to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, has a fast-charging ceiling of 20W (20 watts). It said the same about the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 series.

This was not quite true of the older generations, and we don’t expect it to hold with the new models either.

iPhone Pro Max models can typically charge up to around 27W, the smaller iPhones up to 23W.

If you use, for example, a MacBook charger instead of a 20W iPhone charger, you will see charging times shorten a bit.

However, there’s no need to splash out on one of those. Apple has used a common standard, called USB-PD (USB Power Delivery) since 2015 in iPads, since 2017 for iPhones.

This means you can use all manner of third-party adapters safely, including plenty of those made for Windows laptops that have USB-C charging.

Makers of lower-cost power adapters we’ve recommended or used in the past include Belkin, Urgreen, and Anker. You just want to make sure the adapter has a power rating of 27W or higher to get the best charging speeds out of your iPhone 15.

What is the best iPhone 15 wireless charger?

Want to charge your phone wirelessly? This situation is a bit different, thanks to MagSafe, Apple’s wireless charging brand.

While iPhones use the common standard Qi to actually transmit power from the socket to your iPhone, only MagSafe wireless charging pads will charge an iPhone 15 at maximum speed.

That max speed? 15W. Using another wireless charger, regardless of its stated power, will only get you 7.5W charging.

Buying a wireless charger for your iPhone is a minefield, as this half-speed charging fact will usually be hidden in the small print. Pads will often be labelled “MagSafe compatible” but will not actually be MagSafe pads, and will charge at half-speed.

MagSafe uses magnetic to align the pad with your iPhone, supposedly for optimum efficiency. But it also means Apple can charge licensing fees to any other company who wants to make MagSafe products. The scarcity of true MagSafe products suggests these fees are very high.

As does the pricing of third-party MagSafe chargers, like the £109.95 Belkin Boost Charge Pro 2-in-1 Charger Stand. For now, your best bet is to buy the official AppleMagSafe charger pad (£35-45 online), if you want to wirelessly charge your iPhone 15. Well, unless you’re happy with slow charging, in which case you can spend much less on any standard wireless charging pad.

iPhone charging tips and tricks

There’s one other hidden new feature of the iPhone 15 series — reverse-cabled charging. This means you can plug in your AirPods or Apple Watch charger into the phone’s own port to give them a battery boost.

We’re yet to test if other similar low-power gadgets, like Sony true wireless earphones, will charge, too. However, it seems likely they will, as long as they only draw a small amount of power. This is not a way to charge your iPad.

Some hoped Apple would bring reverse-wireless charging with this generation, but it has not. Reverse-wireless charging is already available in phones from Samsung, Google, and Xiaomi, among others.