If you happened to misplace your iPhone charger, you might be curious whether or not you can use a different USB charger that you have lying. Here’s what to look for when you’re wanting to use a non-iPhone charger with your iPhone.
Every smartphone comes with its own charger, mostly because each phone requires a different amount of amperage, wattage, etc. when it comes to charging them. However, what if you lose the charger that came with your iPhone, but have another one lying around that came from a different phone? Can you use it on your iPhone without any problems?
It short, most USB wall chargers will work with most smartphones, but there are a couple things you’ll want to be aware of if you plan on using a charger from a Samsung phone (for instance) with your iPhone.
Ideally, you should use the charger that came with your iPhone to charge it, but we’re human beings and occasionally we’ll misplace those small wall chargers with ease, and when you’re iPhone is down to its last couple of drops, you may have no choice but to use a spare charger from another device that you have lying around.
Here’s what you need to know when you use a non-iPhone charger with your iPhone.
Look at the Amperage
You may have noticed that all of your chargers have a block of small text on them, and you’ve probably never bothered reading it. However, it contains some important information about the charger itself, and if you’re thinking about using a non-iPhone charger with your iPhone, you’ll want to read the fine print.
Specifically, you’ll want to look for a number that comes before a capitalized A. In most cases, this number will be between 1 and 1.5, so you might see a charger that says 1.2A. This is how many amps the charger delivers to your gadgets. Amps is the measurement of the amount of current flowing through a cable, and the larger the number, the bigger the device probably is.
This means that most smartphones can charge effectively off of 1-1.5A, while tablets usually require a bit more (the iPad requires 2.1A to charge efficiently).
Comparing my iPhone charger with my Nexus 5 charger, I’ve discovered that the iPhone charger puts out 1A, while the Nexus 5 charger puts out 1.2A. This isn’t a huge difference, and I can use my Nexus 5 charger with my iPhone to charge it up — nothing will explode.
So you might be asking yourself, since the Nexus 5 charger has more amperage, wouldn’t it charge an iPhone quicker than an iPhone charger? Not exactly, While the Nexus 5 charger could technically deliver more power than necessary for the iPhone, devices only draw as much power as they need. Thus, an iPhone would still only draw 1A from the 1.2A charger.
Voltage & Wattage
While the everyday user doesn’t technically need to know what voltage and wattage is, we think it’s still something that all people should know about.
The only time you really need to worry about voltage when it comes to charging your iPhone is when you’re traveling to a different country. The US uses a completely different system than Europe, so you’ll have to get a voltage converter if you want to use your American gadgets across the pond.
Otherwise, all USB devices rely on the 5V standard, so all USB chargers for all smartphones use 5V. Thus, this is something you don’t really need to worry about.
The same goes for wattage, although Apple markets their various chargers by labeling them with their respective wattages. The iPhone charger is 5W, while the iPad charger uses either 10W or 12W. Wattage is nothing more than a measurement of volts multiplied by the amperage, and since all USB devices use 5V, you really only need to take a look at the amperage to get an idea of how much power it can deliver.
Let’s think of all these electrical terms as water flowing through a garden hose. Voltage is the amount of water pressure. So if there’s more voltage, water shoots out of the hose faster. Amperage is the amount of water that comes out of the hose. More amperage means a bigger hose, and more water can flow through at a given time. Finally, wattage is simply the total amount of water flowing through the hose and at what speed it’s traveling at as it exits the hose.
With USB chargers, we really only need to focus on the size of the hose (amperage). Most smartphone chargers are rated at 1-1.5A, which is enough to charge a phone sufficiently. However, if you’ve ever plugged your phone into your computer to charge, you might have noticed it charges a lot slower. That’s because USB ports on most computers have a max output of only 0.5A, so you can charge an iPhone through a computer’s USB port, but it’ll take a bit longer to refill the juices.