iPad vs iPhone Charger - The Juice

Most people don't know that the iPhone charger and the iPad charger are different and it really does matter which one you use on you're device!


There is often a vast amount of understandable confusion when it comes to charging an iPad and/or iPhone and one can easily make this mistake as the correct charger and the proper way to charge your device is seldom discussed. Charging your devices the right way is important to maintain a healthy battery and prolong it’s life. There are a few simple rules to charging that will help you get the most out of your mobile devices. 

The first rule of charging is that any iPad or iPhone 4/4s should not be charged from you computer.  Computers distribute power in a different way from your wall outlet.  A computer does not provide enough wattage to fully charge your mobile device effectively. The device will charge from a computer but at a much slower rate then if you plugged it into the wall. The device is always straining to get the charge it needs from your computer, which puts a strain on the battery and depletes it over time. It is okay to connect your device to your computer to transfer your photos or sync your music, just try and avoid using it as charging method.

The second rule of charging is always use the right wall charger! Your iPad came with a charger that looks different from the charger that came with your iPhone. Please look at the photos below in the blog to see which one is which. You iPad requires a 10 watt charger and your iPhone requires a 6 watt charger. The iPhone charger should not be used to charge your iPad. This is for the same reason as rule number one. An iPad requires a 10 watt charge and the iPhone charger only puts out 6 watts, therefor your iPad will take much longer to charge from the iPhone charger and over time it will denigrate your battery life.  So you should always use the iPad charger for your iPad. 

The third rule of charging is that you CAN use an iPad charger to charge an iPhone with no worries. An iPhone requires a 6 watt charge and if you connect it to the iPad’s 10 watt charger it will only pull 6 watts. So there is no problem using your iPad charger to charge your iPhone. 

The syncing cable that comes with the chargers is universal so you don’t have to worry about which cable you are using as they are all the same. The only part that matters is the piece that connects to the wall.  One of the easiest things to do to keep yourself from getting confused is to take your iPhone chargers and hide them in a drawer, buy a few extra iPad chargers and put them around the house in locations where you charge your devices.  This helps to avoid the confusion and allows you to charge either iPhone or iPad form anywhere you have the iPad chargers located since you can use the iPad charger on any mobile device. If you have car chargers they are ok for emergency situations when your battery is low, but its always best to not plug your device into a car charger until its getting low as repeat charging from a car charger also puts a strain on the battery.  

If you would like to see the different types of chargers we have for your iPhone or iPad please visit us at our store. is located at 53 Greenwich Avenue and offers a class dedicated to helping you get familiar with your device, as well as over 35 other Apple related classes.

To book a class please call us at (203) 531-5720, or feel free to look at our full class catalog at MacInspires.com. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Cameron July 07, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Question: We just installed some AC wall plugs with built-in USB female plugs. The idea is to be able to charge devices without the external transformer. Do these USB jacks in the wall socket put out enough wattage to properly charge the iPad battery using the USB (male) - iPad (male) cable?
Kevin O'Connor July 07, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I'm not affiliated with the store but I thought I would give you an answer. In short, yes, any powered USB above about 2.5 watts (0.5 amps at 5V) will provide enough power to charge the device. Now, this is assuming the device is off or not being used. In order for a charge to occur you must be providing more power than is being consumed in order for the charger within the device to actually charge the battery. Should that not be the case you'll be consuming power from both the power supply and the battery and not actually charging it. It was a little misleading in the article to say it's harmful to the battery to charge using lower wattage than the iPad power supply provides, it's not. Well, most of the time it's not. So long as the device is actually charging, there is no battery drain. The only downside to charging at lower wattage is that it takes longer. That's the only negative (even Apple's documentation says so). Now, to address specifically those powered USB ports in your wall plate. I'm guessing you're using the U-Socket USB Wallplug. That's the most popular so I'll assume so (let me know if you're not though). That specific plug is providing the USB ports 2.1 amps at 5.0V. Using the good old P = I*V equation we get P = 2.1*5 = 10.5 W. Now that's assuming 100% efficiency through the iPad dock cable which is never going to happen. I would say at best you'll get ~10W. So it's essentially equivalent to using the iPad power supply (which provides 10.71 W).
Alethiologist July 07, 2012 at 08:28 PM
I prefer the magnetic charging plug on my MAC to the 30 pin plug on the iPhone. So much easier to use and easily disconnects if I inadvertently pull on the cord Rumor has it the next iPhone model will have a smaller charging socket so I hope they adopt the MAC plug
BCT July 07, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Thank you for writing about this. I did not realize the chargers were different until my iPad 1 crashed a year ago. Totally dead because I had been using the iPhone/iPod charger. The ever-helpful crew at the Apple store replaced the iPad for free and gave me the 10W charger to go with it. Lesson learned and loyalty inspired.
MacInspires July 10, 2012 at 09:24 PM
We love all of the thoughts, opinions and experiences people are sharing on this topic! There are many different opinions on the benefits of charging your devices from the appropriate charger. As we have found from our years of experience, it is always best to use the iPad charger to charge any of your iDevices and the iPhone charger for only the iPhone. We often express general best practices for what we have found to be the most successful way of taking care of the products we all love. Again, we love all of your experiences on this subject and we will have more tips coming in the next day or two.


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