Technology Explained

4 Tips To Increase Smartphone Charging Speeds

Mihir Patkar 03-04-2014

Updated by Gavin Phillips on 04/22/2017


Faced with a low battery warning right before you need to leave? These neat tricks can help you charge your smartphone faster than usual so you aren’t left with a brick in your hand.

Now, these hacks are not going to get you more battery life out of the phone How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice Battery life is one of the biggest struggles of modern-day electronics. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all deal with it -- so what can you do to maximize the amount of time you get per charge? Read More . We are going to concentrate only on the speed of charging, so that when you have a plug point nearby, you’ll know what to do!

Switch It Off Or Switch Off The Right Settings


It’s simple logic. If you switch your phone off, it doesn’t have to look for Wi-Fi networks, hop on a 4G network or even mark its location on GPS. Since the phone is turned off, the battery has to do nothing but charge itself. An alternative proposition is to put your phone on Airplane Mode to speed up What Is Airplane Mode on iPhone? Everything You Need to Know What is Airplane Mode on iPhone? We explain what Airplane Mode does, when you should use it, and how it comes in handy. Read More the charging process, but you must refrain from using it while it’s charging — your screen is the biggest battery drain.

This is the easiest advice to follow but most people will ignore it through fear. “What if someone wants to get in touch with me and my phone isn’t turned on?” If you need to receive calls, keep your cellular reception enabled, and switch off everything else, especially your data connection (3G/4G) EDGE, 3G, H+, Etc: What Are All These Mobile Networks? Are you on the fastest mobile network? If not, where do you fall on the spectrum? These mobile network symbols can be confusing, but don't worry because we'll clear it up for you. Read More . Also, turn your screen’s brightness to its lowest setting and keep the screen off for as long as possible.


Use The Right Power Adapter and Cable


This can’t be stressed enough. All gadgets work with different chargers, so the power adapter that comes with your smartphone is what you need to charge your device. Ryan Dube has explained how chargers work Why Can't I Charge All Gadgets With the Same Charger? Not all devices can be charged with the same charger. In fact, not all phones can share a charger either -- even if they're from the same manufacturer. But why? Read More in detail, so I’m going to stick to just what you need to know: pay attention to the amp rating. Your charger will have something like this written on it: 5.0V->1A.

That 1 amp of current is what most smartphones need. If the charger has a higher amperage rating, don’t worry — your phone will still charge, but at a faster rate. If the rating is lower than 1A, then your phone will charge slower than it probably should. Note that this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but is true for most modern smartphones and tablets.

It’s also important to use the right cable with your power adapter. Again, it’s best to stick with what you received in the box Understand USB Cable Types and Which One to Use Why are there so many different USB cable types? Learn the differences between USB connector types and how to buy the best cable. Read More .


Use A Wall Plug Point, Not A USB Port


The great part about your smartphone is that it can be charged through your laptop’s USB port. But this charges your phone a lot slower. There are a few reasons for this.

First, just like we talked about with power adapters, USB ports usually only charge at 0.5A, so it’s going to take more time compared to a 1A power adapter. Even a USB 3.0 port only goes up to 0.9A at its maximum — and chances are, you aren’t going reach that. Second, if you connect your iPhone to your Mac, for instance, it’s going to start syncing immediately, which causes your phone to charge even more slowly.

If you absolutely must use a USB port, then ExtremeTech recommends spending $25 to grab yourself a Practical Meter, which is a little gizmo designed to optimize charging through a USB port. And yeah, you can also use it in conjunction with any wall adapter too!


Remove Cases and Covers, Find A Cool Spot


While you don’t need to always remove the cases and covers when charging a smartphone, it’s beneficial to do that when you need to be quick about it. Smartphone batteries use lithium-ion How a Battery Works and 3 Ways You Can Ruin It The modern battery is featured in so many of our favourite technologies that you could almost be forgiven for not spending time learning about their workings. Read More , which follows a simple principle: a cooler battery is a better battery How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice Battery life is one of the biggest struggles of modern-day electronics. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all deal with it -- so what can you do to maximize the amount of time you get per charge? Read More . So removing cases and covers will help keep the battery at room temperature or lower. It’s also smart to look for a cool spot, like the blast from a wall-unit air conditioner. Of course, none of this is needed if the average temperature in your room is already below 30 degrees Celsius.

Don’t Forget About Power Banks

While these tips are great to charge your phone faster, they do tie you down to a spot. I have found that power banks (battery packs) can be a great way to keep charging your phone How to Keep Your Laptop Powered Even When the Battery Dies Have you ever had your work interrupted by a dead laptop battery? Don't let a lack of power put a damper on your productivity. Read More even after you are no longer near a plug point.

How do you keep your phone cool while it charges? Do you have any fast charging tips for our readers? What is your go-to power bank? What’s your take on power banks? Would you rather use that over these tricks, or is it another cumbersome gadget to carry around? Let us know your thoughts below!


Image credit: tnarik, wwarby, LornaWatt, Vox Efx

Related topics: Batteries, Battery Life.

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  1. Tawny Dunbar
    January 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Really great tips!

  2. L337
    January 27, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I have a powerbank big enough for 3 charges, but I need a power-only micro-usb B cable, because my E4 likes to be picky about the power source.

  3. Mighty Blazer
    May 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    very useful thank u

  4. Dawn male
    January 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm


  5. Anonymous
    January 9, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    thanks Mihir :)

  6. Hemal
    July 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    if i charge my phone full night so any problem ????

  7. Cave
    April 7, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Since iOS 7.1, I have used my power bank nearly every work day. I have stumbled on most of these hints over time and find this list both accurate and useful. Thanks for putting it together.

  8. Srdjan
    April 5, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Case for mobile phones with magnets drained my battery! I have Nokia Lumia 525 (very satisfied with it)and for 4 h (no use, no wi-fi, no mobile data network etc) battery level droped from 100% to 9% ! Without that case: 65% to 57% for 4 hours (wi-fi, internet 10 min, 1/2h hd recording, 8 txt mess., few 3minutes calls..)!!!

  9. Jenny
    April 4, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I can't replace my battery, but I have a phone case that is a full battery. If I have to go out all day or overnight, I put the phone in it. Little bulkier but still fits in my pocket. Then if the battery gets low, I just switch it on

  10. Bob Myers
    April 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Ref: Hildy J' post:
    Right On! Miss Hildy about a second battery.
    My wife and I both have had one for about 10 years. They fit inside our phone cases. They have seen us through power outages or storm closed road delays, or both.
    We rotate the batteries every month, more or less.
    We now have Optika 3 Ahr battery packs with built in solar panels. On overcast days it takes about 3 days to recharge, We get two phone recharges from a single battery charge. Normal use of the phone a phone battery lasts 3-5 days.
    We now also have 12 volt dual port 2 Amp USB car chargers that plug into the cigarette lighter.
    Our original AA cell chargers had an LED light accessory. For the USB port Optika's I had made a couple of LED/USB plug in lights. The yellow night light is current limited to a bit over what is needed to make the LED light The white LED has a single pole, double throw switch to provide area and task light levels.

  11. John Williams
    April 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Every lunchtime you should turn your phone off completely for one hour and charge it from the wall. Encourage other people you know to do this. Eat your lunch with them and talk to each other. Try to do this every day. You can also do it at dinner time for another hour. You should also know that keeping your phone in your hot little hand all day makes it harder for it to cool down causing the battery to lose power in wasted heat ....

    • ibsteve2u
      April 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      @John Williams - You're on to something, there....not only for the benefit of your cell phone, but to benefit your digestive system/physical and mental health.

  12. Hasham
    April 4, 2014 at 11:29 am

    thanks :)

  13. Suhas M
    April 4, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Avoid touching screen or operating while it's kept on charge cz ter r chances u may end up getting a shock rarely n evn charges keep draining out ..

  14. Guy Déridet
    April 4, 2014 at 2:00 am

    One thing to remember : never phone while charging !

    • Adolf Schicklegruber
      April 5, 2014 at 3:28 am

      ...and conversely, never charge without phoning... just like lawyers ; )

  15. Pampam L
    April 4, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I was about to comment (even before reading the content) that these tips will be reduce your battery "life" but when I read it, these tips are the most appropriate ones. :)

    On the powerbank, I think that it lessens the life of batteries since it is a fast charger. Just like those chargers in convenience stores.

    • Hector
      April 4, 2014 at 1:45 am

      Great tips, it's all common sense..

    • Sailor Nick
      April 4, 2014 at 8:25 am

      Actually, loss of battery life is a myth in modern batteries.. Li-Ion batteries show negligible life loss over the course of several years(Far beyond the average smartphones lifespan in a given humans possession).

      This happened because the batteries are actually "Smart". There is a computer onboard all Li-Ion batteries that regulates the battery at all times.
      The only way that a Li-Ion battery loses it's longterm life is after years of use, or if the battery is COMPLETELY drained. And COMPLETELY draining the battery is virtually impossible without bypassing the onboard computers safeties. The battery will always retain something like 10% of its charge to ensure the charge is never lost,

      Battery Life loss is actually shown to stem from the increased usage, and less efficient processing of the components within the phone. More of your RAM is constantly eaten the longer a phone is on, lowering processing capability, increasing compension and battery usage!

      The more you know!
      Rainbow ---> Star!

    • Pampam L
      April 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Thanks, Nick! :)

    • Pat
      April 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Nick, that's mostly true, in that there are tons of battery misconceptions, but if you leave your phone plugged in constantly, the heat will do a number on the capacity. I took an extended road trip, and after 2 months of my phone plugged in running GPS almost daily, the capacity was absolutely terrible.

    • dlfs
      April 5, 2014 at 1:01 am

      Sailor Nick- My experience does not match your statements. My phone (Samsung GS3) & battery are about 18 months old. The battery life has dropped 50%. The battery will discharge itself down to 0% if allowed without me bypassing it's safety protocols; i.e., the phone's circuitry does not prevent total discharge.

  16. Hildy J
    April 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    One thing instead of power banks, if your phone has a replaceable battery, buy a second battery and a battery charger.

    • Alan
      April 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Hildy, you are exactly right. I have those items. What's all this talk about "charging" your phone? I just swap out the battery and I've got a full charge again. Takes all of 60 seconds. Thank you, Galaxy Note!