Can You Use An iPad Charger for An iPhone?

Apple products all work really well together, making it common for households to have multiple devices that will each come with cords. 

It might be more convenient to be able to simplify your cord collection and use the same chargers for multiple devices.

But will an iPad cord work with an iPhone and vice versa?

Can You Use An iPad Charger for An iPhone?

You can safely use an iPad power adapter and cord for charging an iPhone. iPad chargers typically have a higher power output than iPhone chargers, often resulting in a faster charge. The iPhone will regulate how much power it accepts from the charge cord, protecting your device from damage.

Apple chargers appear very similar but actually come in various levels of power wattage. 

Taking a closer look at the specs of the charger in comparison to your device’s needs will show when an iPad charger will work, and when it might be preferred.

iPad Chargers

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A power cord sold with an iPad is identical to the power cord for an iPhone – the lighting connection is the same. 

The only difference you may find would be on the USB side. 

The more recent charge cords have USB-C connections rather than USB-A. 

USB-C cords have been popularized with the introduction of fast charging with Apple products. 

The cord’s USB type does matter, but mostly for ensuring it will connect to the power adapter. 

The brick-shaped power adapter that plugs into your wall is the most important factor when looking at power output from a charger.

Most iPhones before the iPhone 11 came with a 5W USB power adapter.

However, iPads come with power adapters that range anywhere from 10W to 20W.

If you don’t know how much power your adapter puts out, check the certification label that should be found on either the top or the bottom of the adapter.

This label has a lot of fine print, but a quick glance for a big number with a ‘W’ next to it will let you know what you are working with.

Depending on the iPhone year and model, the power output from the iPad USB power adapter may be more than your iPhone is designed to accept.

Don’t worry, it is still safe to use the charger even if the power output is high. Your iPhone will automatically limit how much power it is accepting based on its capacity. 

Technically, the phone is drawing in the power it needs from the charger, rather than the charger pushing power into the port.

This way, you can essentially use a charger with any power output. (source)

Charging Speed

If the power output of the USB adapter is lower than the device’s capacity, it will take longer to get a full charge. 

If the power output is higher than the device’s capacity, your iPhone will automatically limit the intake. 

Additionally, Apple products have smart charging technology that stops the power intake after a full charge. 

The device will always protect itself from any potential damage that could theoretically come from an overload of power input.

Using an iPad charger for your iPhone may even charge your device even faster. 

Newer iPhone models designed for fast charging will charge faster using a higher power USB adapter in comparison to the standard 5W. 

You may have noticed that the most recent iPhones don’t come with the classic 5W power brick in the box anymore.

Apple recommends using a power adapter with at least 20W to allow for fast charging capabilities on the iPhone 12 and newer. 

Many of the recent iPads use a 20W USB power adapter.

In this case, it would actually be recommended to use your iPad charger for your iPhone.

Of course, you could always purchase a higher power USB adapter from Apple separately.

If you are buying a different brand, the Apple website recommends checking for specific specs to make sure your fast charging will work.

You need a USB-C power adapter with 50-60 Hz, 100-240 VAC, 9 VDC, and a minimum power output of 20W. (source)

Apple’s ‘fast-charge’ technology claims to be able to get your phone to 50% battery in just a half-hour for the iPhone 8 and newer. 

To get the benefits of this guarantee, you have to be using the right adapters. 

All fast-charge products need a USB-C connection. 

You can use anything from the 18W all the way up through Apple’s 96W power converter. 

After the iPhone 12 however, the 18W won’t give you fast-charge and you will need at least 20W for those extra benefits. (source)

Apple Charger and Device Compatibility

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If you go the other way around and use an iPhone charger on an iPad, it will have the opposite effect. 

Even the earliest iPads came with chargers that were at least 10W. 

A simple 5W iPhone charging brick will be able to safely charge your iPad, but it will likely take much longer to reach a full charge. 

So, If you are picking only one charger to use for both devices, definitely go with the highest power option.

There is no risk of damage with the higher power, and you can rely on a faster charge speed.

If the plug fits, you can generally use any apple charger on any apple device. 

This includes iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, Apple watches, Airpods, and iPods. 

Obviously, a MagSafe Macbook cable will not fit into a lighting port. 

You will need the correct cable for whatever device you are wanting to charge, but that cable can be connected to any USB power converter that you have without risking any damage.

Mixing and matching chargers can adjust charge speed and various adapters may or may not work with any fast-charge technology your device has. 

If you want those benefits, double-check the certification label on the adapter.

Just like the iPhone, the rest of the Apple products will draw in power from the charging cable in the amount that is safe for the device. 

As you might be able to predict, charging a Macbook with a power adapter intended for an iPhone will take a long time. 

But if you’re in a pinch or don’t care about speed, you can safely use any wattage of power adapter with the right Apple cable to charge any Apple device. 

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