iPod, iPhone & iPad Cables and What Charges What – Explained.

Apple devices, apple ipad, iphone, ipod touch

So you have an iPhone and an iPad and you swear the Apple cables look the same. Well you are right. Apple ships the same cables/cords with the iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone. But, isn’t there always a but? The difference is in the voltage needed to power each.

iPod, iPhone & iPad Cables & How to Charge Explained – What I Can Use to Charge What

Here’s the deal with pictures – for us right-brain visual types who need photos to learn!

iPod Touch & iPhone

iPod Touch and iPhone

You can charge your iPod Touch and iPhone using the apple cables with your computer OR with the 5 watt USB power adapter for the iPod Touch, iPhone or the iPad.You can also use the 10 watt USB power adapter (that came with the iPad) to charge your iPod Touch or iPhone – it will NOT increase the speed in which your devide charges.


iPad Charging

You can charge your iPad using the apple cables with your computer – though you may receive a "Not Charging" message on your iPad. What does the "Not Charging" message on your iPad mean? It simply means your USB isn’t providing enough voltage to efficiently charge your iPad. Your iPad WILL STILL CHARGE – just at a very very slow rate, especially if you are using it while charing on a computer. This message does not happen everytime, so if you are showing that your iPad is charging, no worries!

You can charge you iPad with the 10 watt USB Apple power adapter that came with your iPad, as well as the 5 watt USB Apple power adapter that came your iPhone or iPod touch… BUT it will charge at a very slow rate. The Apple iPad needs the 10 watt USB power adapter to fully charge in the intended amount of time.

Facts About Charging the Power on Apple Devices:

  • The iPad fully charges in 2.5 hours – when charged with a 10 watt USB power adapter.
  • The iPhone and iPod touch also charge fully in 2.5 hours – when using a 5 watt USB power adapter.

Apple iPhone & iPad Cords – Buy in Buik

And a side note, I love you Apple but you are expensive, and this girl is cheap. I buy my cords in bulk from Monoprice. Say what you will… they’ve always worked just dandy for me. Sometimes, I feel like Apple gnomes sneak in at night and steal my cables.. therefore I must always have 6 stashed away in a drawer.

An Apple Gnome who steals iphone cords while you sleep

  • Show Comments

  • Stephen

    I think you might be confusing volts for amperes. All USB devices (and thus chargers) run at 5 volts DC.
    The difference is in the amps provided by the various sources.

    A standard USB 2.0 port on a computer will provide 500ma (1/2 of an amp.) Multiply to get wattage:

    V x A = W —- so 5V x 0.5A equals 2.5 watts. If you try to draw more from a computer's USB port, it may detect it as an overcurrent and shut the port down.

    With AC/DC adapters it's a bit different: they don't always follow the USB spec even though they have a USB port. Some may put out as much as 2.1 amps (such as the iPad charger) giving you a total wattage of 10.5 watts.

    The real problem comes in when a charger isn't regulated: it will provide as much current as the device can take until something melts, fries or smokes.

    There is no danger the other way around (as you mentioned); if you have a charger capable of putting out 2A but the device only wants 0.5 or 1A then that's all it will use.

    The new USB 3.0 spec ups the data rate to 4.8Gbps (from USB 2.0's 480Mbps, or a 10x increase) while also increasing the available current to 1.5A (a 3x increase.)



    • Nathan

      So the big question: How does the iPad detect its charger? Is it shorting D+/D- as with the USB Battery Charging 1.1 spec, or doing some sort of droop detection on Vbus? If I want to make my own charger, how do I trick the iPad to use the full 10W?

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