The iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max all have positive coverage surrounding their refreshed design, camera upgrades, and 5G connectivity. One piece of negative press you might've seen, however, is about the charger. Specifically, that there's a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box but no power adapter. That means you'll need a charger, and we've got some good recommendations for you.
Apple's reasoning for leaving a power adapter out of the new 2020 iPhone models is that it's more environmental-friendly. Leaving out the power adapter and EarPods means less packaging material for the box, and that means less waste. It also means more products can be shipped simultaneously, reducing carbon emissions in its "global logistics chain."
According to Apple, there are over two billion Apple-branded power adapters out in the world, and you likely have one of them. But that number likely includes chargers for Mac computers, Apple Watches, and other Apple products — not just iPhones. Since there's a Lightning to USB-C cable included, you can't take advantage of its faster charging speeds unless you own a USB-C power adapter.
If you have a newer MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini, or Mac Pro, you can use the USB-C port on your computer to charge your late-2020 iPhone. If you have an iPad or Mac or had an iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, you might already have a USB-C charging brick, such as Apple's 18W, 20W, 29W, 30W, 61W, 87W, or 96W power adapters — those will work with your cable. And if you have a third-party USB-C power adapter or Qi wireless charging pad, that'll work too.
But if you don't have a wireless charger or any USB-C ports to power up your new iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max, you'll have to get one. And that's another revenue stream for Apple, but there are plenty of good third-party options available. Even if you have something USB-C compatible, you might want to consider picking up one of the options below. You may need fast-charging capabilities, whether wired or wireless, or just a more portable option.
Let's just come out and say it: Apple's MagSafe Charger is cool. Just like the MacBook chargers of the same name, MagSafe Chargers snap on and off the back of your device with ease. You get the convenience of wireless charging, but with a more secure connection. No more waking up to see your iPhone didn't charge overnight because you left it just a hair shy of the sweet spot.
What's even better is that the MagSafe Charger will fast-charge your new iPhone at up to 15 watts. Compare that to all of the Qi wireless chargers on the market that, despite the number advertised, max out at 7.5 watts charging speeds for iPhone models. However, it doesn't come with a power adapter itself, so you have to buy the MagSafe Charger and Apple's 20-watt USB-C power adapter (see the next option).
At this time, Apple's MagSafe Charger is the only one on the market. However, as with all Apple accessories, third-party options are in-the-works. If you don't want to drop $39 on a MagSafe Charger, look out for possible cheaper choices down the line.
One benefit with USB-C is fast charging. We're talking 0% to 50% in roughly 30 minutes. The thing is, any old power adapter won't work here — you need something with enough output to really get your iPhone charging quickly.
Prior to October 2020, the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max came with an 18-watt USB-C power adapter, which was plenty powerful for quick charging. So if you have one of those, you're good. If not, the company upped its fast-charging USB-C iPhone power adapter to 20 watts. How could you say no to an extra two watts?
If you want the MagSafe Charger above, you'll also need to pay for this to plug the MagSafe into a power outlet, though, other USB-C power adapters may work.
If you're looking for something other than Apple's 20-watt power adapter, consider an Anker charger. The Nano power adapter offers the same 20-watt output as Apple's but in a smaller form factor. Apple hasn't released the official specs for its 20-watt model, but if we look at its 18-watt option, we see that Anker's is much more compact at 1.81 inches by 1.08 inches by 1.08 inches versus Apple's 2.64 inches by 1.26 inches by 3.27 inches.
The above chargers will all power up your new iPhone without a hitch, but what about the other USB-C devices in your life? If you want something that can even charge a MacBook Air, you might want to look at Amazon's 30-watt USB-C charger.
Amazon's adapter gives you an additional ten watts of power for only $6.99 more than Apple's charger. That $6.99 likely won't charge your iPhone any faster, but it will charge something like a laptop much faster. Sure, you can plug a 20-watt charger into your MacBook Pro, but it'll take a long time to reach 100% power.
We're not saying 30 watts is perfect for a MacBook, either, but if you're looking for an affordable option to charge the most amount of USB-C devices around, this one might be your best bet. Amazon also sells a 65-watt model.
Maybe you're not just looking for a USB-C power adapter that works well with all your devices. Perhaps you're looking for something that charges all of your devices at once. Then consider this four-port charger from AI Aikenuo, which offers two USB-C ports and two USB-A 3.0 ports.
Charge your iPhone and MacBook with the USB-C ports, and an Apple Watch and Bluetooth mouse with the other ports, all of which can get up to 18 watts each. It's the perfect option for anyone who has a mix of old and new charging technologies in their lives (which is likely most of us).
If you're in the market for a traditional Qi wireless charger, know that you have a couple of styles to choose from. The first is a wireless charging stand — a stand will let you look at your iPhone comfortably while it's charging. This is a great option if you're at your desk and want to see updates on your iPhone or if you're someone who likes to fall asleep watching videos.
Belkin is actually coming out with one that works with MagSafe and can charge your Apple Watch and AirPods at the same time. Until that shows up, we recommend this popular PowerWave wireless charging stand from Anker. It's only 7.5 watts, but that's the max an iPhone can charge at with a supported Qi charger. Unlike most of the other PowerWave chargers, this model comes with a power adapter, so you don't have to worry about getting one of those separately.
The other option for Qi wireless chargers is a pad. Wireless charging pads are great for anyone who wants to plop their iPhone down next to them on the couch or by their bedside. They aren't particularly convenient for watching content, but they offer the ability to interact with your iPhone since it's effectively lying down on the table.
Our recommendation? This charger from Yootech. It comes in three different colors (black/black, black/blue, black/red), although you won't see the color much with your iPhone resting on top of it! It also supports the faster 7.5 watts charging speeds, which is a must for any wireless charger, or it's just not worth it. However, it does not come with a power adapter, so you'll need one of the USB-C power adapters above to plug it in.
Keep Your Connection Secure Without a Monthly Bill. Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for all your devices with a one-time purchase from the new Gadget Hacks Shop, and watch Hulu or Netflix without regional restrictions.