A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Phone Charging Too Slow? This Could Be Why

It could be because you won't stop using it so much... or it could be something else.

Smartphone Is Connected to Fast Charger Adapter through USB Cable on Orange Background Top View
inspire finder/Shutterstock

Why, oh why, won’t my phone charge?

We’ve all been there. Your phone is nearing the dreaded 0 percent, so you pop it onto a phone charger—only to find that your phone is charging at the speed of a snail. What gives? We talked experts to find out just why your phone is charging so slowly—read on to find out, plus what you should do about it.

USB cable with smartphone on wood table

Faulty charging cable

When the least expensive USB cables available from Apple will run you $19, it’s hard to resist an alternative when you’ve lost or broken your charging cable. So, when you’re checking out at the pharmacy and see an assortment of USB cables tangled together in a plastic bucket next to the register for only $5, it’s especially tempting—they’re all so colorful! But those knockoff chargers only bring “accessory not supported” alerts and misery, and can actually damage your device’s battery. This magnetic iPhone charger offers an easier, wireless, way to give your phone an extra boost.

damaged charging cord
Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Damaged goods

One of the primary reasons that chargers purchased directly from Apple or Samsung are more efficient is because they’re much more durable and better protect the internal wiring delivering the charge. If you are like me and don’t like to replace items unless you absolutely must, you’re not going to like this bit of news: a worn, broken cable might function, but it’s only a matter of time till it doesn’t, so you’re much better off buying a new one. I know what you’re thinking—but why!? It still works! “Since some strands in the wire are still intact, it may allow a charge, but the cable is now effectively thinner at the point of damage, and less electricity can flow through,” says Geek Squad Agent Derek Meister. Less electricity means a slower charge. Maybe take some preemptive action with this hack that guarantees your phone charger will never break.

Cable phone chargers, Earphone and mobile phone on wood background, Top view.

Charging block

Like the charging cable, the power adapter you use plays a large part in the process: the more watts it can supply, the faster the charge. According to Meister, Apple’s 18W power adapter can fully charge your iPhone in 90 minutes, while a standard 5W adapter will take double that amount of time. Similarly, Samsung’s 45W wall charger can power some of their products to 50 percent in just 20 minutes. “Before you rush out to buy the biggest wattage charger you can find, know that each phone has its limitations,” says Meister. “The latest iPhones won’t use anything more than 18W, Google Pixel 20W. Even the smaller Galaxy Note10 will only use 25W of that 45W charger.” Don’t miss these phone battery and charger myths you have to stop believing.

USB cable for smartphone on wood background.

Power source

Plugging your phone into a wall outlet is infinitely faster than a USB port or car charger, as long as you’re using the appropriate power adapter and cable. USB ports typically output between 1 and 2.1 amperages, while the standard wall outlet will produce 20 amperages. While they definitely have an added air of convenience if you’re on the go, your laptop or car battery won’t charge your device nearly as quickly as a wall outlet. They just weren’t built to muster the same amperage. Beware these 8 places you should never charge your phone.

Cable phone chargers and mobile phone on wood background, Top view.

The enemy…is you

Do not use your phone while charging it if you are really in a rush to reach 100 percent! This is self-explanatory: it’s going to take longer for your battery to accumulate a charge if you are simultaneously demanding things from it. You cannot pour from an empty cup! Meister recommends placing your phone on airplane mode and investing in a quick charge block for when desperate times arise, in addition to these tips to charge your phone faster.