The iPhone X's Charging Situation is Complicated

Here's what you need to know.

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Apple’s iPhone X is here, and with it comes a plethora of new ways to charge your phone. Chances are, though, you’ve got a USB power block lying round in a spare drawer somewhere. There’s good news and bad news for those that want to put their old charging hardware to good use.

The short answer is yes, if it worked with your old smartphone, it’s probably going to work with the iPhone X.

But you’ve just blown at least $999 on the latest in smartphone technology, which only just hit the shelves last Friday, so it seems a little late to get budget-conscious. You’re going to want to get the most out of the new phone — so, yes, you can use an old charger, but there are alternatives.

Included in the box is a five-watt power adapter, which will charge your iPhone X at a leisurely pace. If you have one lying around, you can swap it out for an iPad charger that provides more power for faster charging speeds. The strength of the adapter depends on the model of iPad, but the current one comes with a 12-watt adapter.

Of course, while old charging blocks will work, you’ll probably have to use the provided cable. With the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012, Apple switched away from the 30-pin dock connector from the iPod days and started using the nine-pin Lightning plug. Smaller and reversible, it allows for sleeker phone designs without sacrificing internal performance. The cable included with the iPhone X is the same as the ones that have been shipping since the iPhone 5, meaning you can use a number of old cables, providing they’re not too old. Worst case scenario, you’ll need the $29 adapter.

The new iPhone X is displayed at an Apple Store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

There are benefits to upgrading the cable, though. Those that want to plug their phone into a new MacBook, or another device with the new shape USB-C ports, will need to fork out for the $25 Lightning to USB-C cable.

The other benefit of the USB-C cable is it enables the use of even faster charging blocks. The iPhone X supports fast charging to reach up to 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes with supported adapters. These include the Apple 29W, 61W, and 87W USB-C Power Adapter. Alternatively, you can use a third party USB-C adapter, as long as it supports USB Power Delivery (or USB-PD).

Update 11/13: A previous version of this article referenced Apple’s iPhone adapter takeback program. It has been updated to reflect the fact that Apple no longer offers this service.

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