Rights & Money

Charge Your Smartphone Faster

How quickly your phone charges depends on what’s feeding it power

By Matt Smith


In a previous newsletter, we looked at ways to get the most out of your cellphone’s battery, but no matter how long the battery holds a charge, you’ll still need to charge it at some point.

Most phones come with a USB charging cord, but that doesn’t mean that you should rely on your computer for to charge your phone. This connection is useful in a pinch or when you need to transfer data but for the best charging results, it’s best to stick to plugging your phone’s charger into a wall outlet. (If you’re on the go and need to charge using a laptop, make sure that it’s turned on instead of in standby mode, as your phone will get a lot more juice.)

The reason to avoid relying on computers is that their USB ports don’t transfer nearly as much power as a dedicated wall chargers. Power is measured in watts; higher wattage chargers—such as the ones that come with iPads—will get you noticeably quicker results.

Although it may seem like a cause for concern, there’s no need to worry about damaging your phone with too powerful a charger. Your phone won’t take on more power than it can handle; of course, while this protects the battery, it also limits the maximum charging speed.

You can, however, run into trouble using an inferior charger. You don’t necessarily need to use the same one that came with your phone, but you should rely only on chargers from reputable manufacturers and avoid no-name brands.

Special “fast chargers” are also available, at increased wattage. Again, the amount of extra speed you’ll get depends on the phone, and you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right kind to get the maximum effect. Many of these fast chargers work with only one brand of phone, so it’s wise to check your phone’s documentation to be sure that you choose the right model.

A common bit of advice is to turn your phone off or put it on airplane mode when charging. While these are good ways to conserve battery, the difference either will make to charging time is pretty slim. This will, however, reduce the danger of your phone overheating while charging.

Photo: iStock/utah778.