A few years ago, Apple started adding USB-C fast charging support to its iPhones (iPhone 8 and newer) and iPad Pros, but then cruelly forced anyone who wanted to take advantage to buy a $19 USB-C to Lightning cable. And to rub salt in the wound, until early this year, Apple refused to let third party companies make MFi-certified alternatives. But that’s finally starting to change, and as you’d expect, Anker came to play.
Our readers’ favorite cable maker just started selling a 3' USB-C to Lightning cable for $18 on Amazon. That’s still a lot for a Lightning cable, and only $1 less than Apple’s alternative (though, this being Anker, we’ll hopefully see some deals later on), but it’s the most affordable USB-C option we’ve seen to date. And since it’s based around the company’s ultra-durable PowerLine II design, it promises to last longer than Apple’s first party cables, and even includes a lifetime warranty if it ever does stop working.
Anker sent me a pre-release cable to try, and true to the company’s claims, I was able to charge my iPhone X from 0% to 50% in just under 30 minutes using a 29W USB-C Power Delivery wall charger, and all the way to 100% in about 90 minutes. Perhaps just as importantly, it means I can finally plug my iPhone directly into my MacBook Pro to charge, without any extra dongles or wall chargers.
Current iPhones max out at 18W when charging over USB-C, compared to 12W over regular USB. You can also use more powerful USB-C Power Delivery chargers to charge your iPhone if you’d like; they don’t pose any risk, but they also won’t provide any additional benefit. Gizmodo did a great comparison of charging speeds using various chargers to test this, if you’d like to see how different chargers compare.
If you don’t own any other devices that charge over USB-C, 18W chargers are pretty affordable. But if you own a USB-C laptop or a Nintendo Switch, it may be worth investing in faster chargers like this tiny 30W brick from Anker, or RAVPower’s thin new 45W GaN charger. Again, they won’t charge your iPhone any faster than an 18W Power Delivery charger, but they’ll be able to charge a lot more devices at full speed.