How To: Charge Your iPhone’s Battery Faster

How To: Charge Your iPhone’s Battery Faster

It’s no surprise that with faster processors, HD screens, increased web browsing and fancy camera software that the batteries in our smartphones are struggling to keep up.

Most smartphones these days require a recharge everyday to keep them going, which can become quite inconvenient when you’re on the go or when time is not quite on your side.Thankfully, there are easy to implement measures you can take to speed up how quickly the battery in your iPhone recharges, to ensure your iPhone is ready to go when you are.

Before we get into how to speed up the recharge process, it’s important to understand why your smartphone charges slowly:

Why Your Smartphone Charges Slowly

As a general rule, there are two major factors that determine just how quickly your device charges. These two factors are the maximum amperage (the strength of an electric current expressed in amperes) of the USB socket or wall charger, and how your device handles the transfer or power from the socket/charger.

How to charge iphone fasterNo matter what kind of charger or socket you use, they all have a max amperpage. The average is usually between 500 milliamps (mA) and 1.5 amps (A). Most PCs and laptops (unless specified otherwise) use 500mA sockets, with the exception of USB 3.0 sockets, which are around 900mA. Wall chargers differ in terms of their max amperage (this is usually written on the charger), but they are usually between 0.5A and 2.1A. The max amperage dictates the theoretical charging rate of your device, which will give you a rough indication of how fast your device will charge.

However, while there is a defined max amperage, it is only through negotiation that your device actually decides how much power it wants to draw. Basically, when your device is plugged into a charging socket or wall charger, the USB controller in your devices talks to the USB controller attached to the socket/wall charger (or if there is no controller available, your device reads the voltage flowing across the four USB points). It is from this information that your device decides how much amperage to draw and thus how quickly it will recharge.

It’s hard to know how your device decides how much power to draw, as each device will be different. For example, an iPhone will only recharge at its max speed if the right driver is in place for power negotiation, otherwise it will fall back to slow charging. On the other hand, you’ll find it difficult to quickly charge an Android device when plugged into a laptop or PC that also wants to initiate a data connection, which then reduces the max draw over the power lines.

If your device uses a lithium-ion battery (which at present is most devices), the device will reduce their power draw as the battery reaches capacity, to preserve the longevity of the battery.

You can check how much power your device will draw by using a tool like the Practical Meter. The Practical Meter is a small dongle that shows you how much power your USB device is drawing, which in turn shows how quickly it will recharge.

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Turn It Off

airplane_mode_on_the_iphone_2A basic, common sense tip (but one that bears repeating), is to turn off your iPhone while you are charging it. The rationale behind this, is that by switching off your device it’s not using any power while the battery is recharging, which of course results in the battery charging faster.

You can also simply put your phone into Airplane mode, which will turn off all radio signals:

Settings > Airplane Mode

This will stop your iPhone from looking for cellular and Wi-Fi signals by turning off all of the wireless radios inside. This means that you won’t be able to receive calls, use data or use GPS, however, it also means your device won’t be running any background processes that use any of those radios for power while your phone is charging.

However, for some having your phone switched off or on airplane mode even for just a second is not an option, particularly if you’re waiting for an important call. If this is the case, instead of heading straight for the power button, to reduce the amount of energy your phone is using, turn off bluetooth and wi-fi and put your device to sleep.

If this is not an option either, even just not actively using your device will help. Just hit the sleep/wake button on the top right of your handset to lock the screen and leave it alone until it is charged.

Use a Wall Charger

how to charge iphone fasterWhile charging via USB is usually the more convenient option, using a wall charger is much more efficient in charging the battery. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Apple’s official advice on charging is to “connect the device to a power outlet using the USB cable that came with the device and an Apple USB power adapter.”

As explained above, wall chargers have a higher amperage when compared with USB ports, which means there is a much greater chance than your device can draw more power, which means a shorter recharge time.

Speed Up USB Charges

pl865733-soft_visible_sync_charging_cable_flashing_usb_cable_compatible_with_iphone_5In short, getting your smartphone or tablet to charge quickly is something of an arcane art. If you have an iPhone or iPad, be sure to charge it with your Apple PC or use the Apple-provided wall wart. If you have an Android device, be sure to install any manufacturer-provided drivers and use the manufacturer-provided wall charger (or the official “fast charger,” if there is one).

So, by now you know that wall chargers are the more effective method of charging your device, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice and USB is the only way to go.

The good news is, you can speed up the charging process when using a USB port:

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    • When charging, try to avoid syncing your iPhone at the same time.
    • Remove all other USB devices that might be drawing power.
    • Prevent your computer or laptop from going into standby or hibernation mode while you’re trying to charge your phone. If the computer does go into standby or hibernation mode, this could actually drain your handset’s power and stop the charging process in some cases.
    • If you have a Mac or Macbook air, your iPhone will charge faster using their USB ports.


Battery Maintenance

To stop your device’s battery from deteriorating, you will need to look after the battery. The state of the battery determines how much charge it can hold, so, if the battery has started to deteriorate, the amount of charge the battery can hold reduces, which means a longer charge time.

How to charge yor iphone fasterKeep It Cool

Despite all of our advances in technology, mother nature still has a little bit of influence in the digital world.

Temperature plays a significant role in a battery’s ability to hold a charge, with extreme temperatures reducing its effectiveness in retaining a charge. As stated by Apple “heat will degrade your battery’s performance the most”, with their advice guiding people to keep your iPhone out of the sun or a hot car. Be aware that certain cases or covers can trap heat, which means that when charging your iPhone it’s usually better to remove it. To ensure temperature is not a factor in how your battery holds a charge, the official advice from Apple is to keep your iPhone as close to room temperature as possible.

Power Cycle Once A Month

Contrary to popular belief, draining batteries right down to 0% and then recharging them actually does more harm than good to the lifetime of the battery.

A study by Battery University shows that this was good for older devices that used Nickel-Cadmium batteries, however, today’s smartphones and tablets use Lithium-ion batteries benefit more from topping up the battery rather than completely draining it.

In fact, Battery University’s study showed that someone who drains their battery fully every time before charging it again will only get 300-500 charge cycles from their battery. If you charge your phone every time the battery dropped below 50%, this would increase to 1200-1500 charge cycles, while charging it at 75% battery increases the charge cycle to 2,000 – 2,500.

Depth of Discharge Number of Charge Cycles
10% (drain to 90%, then recharge) 3,750 – 4,700
25% (drain to 75%, then recharge) 2,000 – 2,500
50% (drain to 50%, then recharge) 1,200 – 1,500
100% (drain fully then recharge) 300 – 500

With a greater depth of discharge, you’ll get fewer charge cycles from your battery. Topping up your phone’s battery on a regular basis will prolong its lifetime. Table from Battery University