The iPhone 12 will be the first Apple phone to come without a charging brick in the box, and it won’t have EarPods, either. Combined with switching to a Lightning-to-USB-C cable, it means many new buyers won’t have the charger necessary to power up their phones. If you’re ready for a phone upgrade, you need a charger upgrade, too.
There are a few options here. The cheapest is to simply find an older Lightning-to-USB-A cable—you might have one laying around from an older iPhone, iPad, or AirPods purchase, and it should work with an old charger, too. An Apple MacBook charger with USB-C will work fine, though that’s a less ideal solution, since it’s a large brick (offering much more charge than you need) and it only has one USB-C port. You’ll need to swap off with your laptop or charge via your laptop’s USB-C ports if you want to have just one for both.
A better solution is to get a dedicated charging brick. There’s been some surprising innovation in these ubiquitous gadgets over the last few years: a new gallium nitride (GaN) manufacturing process means that even the tiny ones can be extremely powerful.
If you’re looking for the cheapest solution possible, this Aukey brick is what you want. It’s a simple USB-C brick, one port, with 18 watts of power output—the maximum for the iPhone 12’s fast charging. It’s only a few bucks, and it’ll work with any other smartphone, too, though it won’t max out the charging speed on some Android devices. The prongs fold back for handy travel storage.
If you want to charge multiple devices at once, spend a little more on this model. It comes with a USB-C fast charging port and an extra USB-A port. With 30 watts of output, it can handle any iPhone and an accessory on the USB-A charger, like AirPods or a spare USB battery. 30 watts is enough to charge an iPad Pro or MacBook Air at its maximum speed, as well as some smaller and less powerful laptops.
If you’d like to charge a more powerful laptop and your phone at the same time, you’ll need to figure out how much juice you need. For example, the 13-inch MacBook Pro needs 61 watts, while the 16-inch model needs a whopping 96 watts. This Aukey model should work for both a mid-range laptop and an iPhone.
If you have a much more powerful USB-C laptop, you’ll want this 100-watt charger. It can charge your phone and laptop at the same time.
And if you’re looking for a more total upgrade, check out this Anker model. It can split 100 watts between two USB-C devices and two more USB-A devices, with a conventional power cord for the outlet, since that’s a bit much to hang off the wall.
Oh, and if you don’t have a pair of EarPods (or wireless headphones) and you really want them, you can get a pair that uses the Lightning cable connection for a few extra dollars.
There’s likely to be a run on USB-C chargers as the release of the new iPhones draws near. Get an order in before then if you don’t want any charging headaches when yours arrives.