Which power adapter do I need to charge my iPhone? – Macworld

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Wondering if the iPhone 15 comes with a charger? Unfortunately, the answer is no. For environmental reasons, earphones and chargers (by which we mean the adapter plug) are no longer packed in the iPhone box. This means that when you buy a new iPhone you won’t get anything to plug it into when you need to charge it up.
Apple hasn’t sold any iPhone with a charger in the box since September 2020. This includes the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 15-series smartphones. But when Apple stopped including the charger with the iPhone 12, it also removed the plug from the box of the 2020 iPhone SE and iPhone 11. Now if you need a plug you need to purchase one separately. Apple has also left the power adapter out of the box of the Apple Watch–read: Which plug do I need for my Apple Watch?
You do get a cable in the box, which, depending on the iPhone model you have, will either have a Lightning or USB-C connector at one end and a USB-C or USB-A connector at the other end.
In this article, we’ll explain why there is no charger in the box anymore and what charger you need for your iPhone. We’ll run through your options so that you can choose the right charging brick to plug your iPhone into. 
This isn’t a recent thing, Apple Vice President for Environment, Politics and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson justified the move during the ‘Hi, Speed’ keynote in 2020. She pointed out that customers already have “over 700 million Lightning headphones” and that “There are also over 2 billion Apple power adapters out in the world, and that’s not counting the billions of third-party adapters.”
The removal of the surplice products from the box also leads to smaller boxes, which in turn reduces carbon emissions from Apple’s logistics chain, Jackson explained.
To some extent Apple’s decision makes sense: the majority of customers buying a new iPhone will already own an adapter and probably do have multiple iPhone cables lying around their house, so they can plug in their new iPhone and charge it. Similarly, leaving the earpods out makes sense because a lot of people discard the included earbuds in favour of their own headphones, or even Apple’s wireless AirPods, which have become increasingly popular. See our round-up of the best wireless headphones for iPhone.
However, there has been, as you would imagine an outcry from people who feel that they are being cheated by Apple. The complaints are justified by the fact that at the same time as Apple stopped including the plug it started including a USB-C charging cable in the box (which allowed for fast charging). Of those billions of third-party adapters Jackson referred to, few were USB-C equipped.
The solution at this point, other than purchasing a USB-C adapter for charging, was to use a lightning to USB-A adapter to charge the iPhone using a USB-A plug. Those who already had the required cable and plug could do so, although they wouldn’t benefit from fast charging.
In 2023 this issue has exacerbated further by the fact that the iPhone 15-series no longer features a Lightning port. Instead, the port for charging the iPhone USB-C, and the cable inside the box is USB-C to USB-C. Anyone who buys an iPhone 15, Plus, Pro or Max will need to also purchase a plug with a USB-C port, if they don’t already own one. And all those old cables and chargers Jackson referred to are now redundant.
The charger you require will depend to an extent on the iPhone you want to charge. If you have a iPhone with a Lightning port, and a Lightning to USB-A cable, you could find a USB-A adapter plug and use that. You wouldn’t enjoy the faster USB-C charging, but you might save some money. USB-A adapter plugs are reasonably cheap. Some wall plugs even have the USB-A port built in.
However, we would suggest that purchasing a USB-C plug would be better as it will allow you to charge your iPhone much faster. Your iPhone will have shipped with a cable that allows for this, but if you need another cable take a look at our round-up of the Best USB-C charging cables.
USB-C chargers have much higher wattages than the 5-watt USB-A chargers that Apple used to include in the box with the iPhone. Newer iPhone models can support fast charging at 20 watts or more. Fast charging can charge your battery to 50% in about 30 minutes.
We have a separate roundup of the Best USB-C iPhone chargers that includes lots of information and advice about choosing the best charger and our recommendations. Apple sells such chargers, but many of the chargers we recommend are from companies with much lower prices than Apple’s.
Our favorite single-port iPhone chargers is the Anker Nano 30W USB-C Charger (U.S. and U.K.) but both the Ugreen Nexode 30W GaN Charger (U.S. and U.K.) and Plugable 30W USB-C GaN Charger (U.S. only) are worthy of your attention, too. In AU/NZ, the only real premium option is Apple’s 20W adapter but we also like the AU-pinned Ugreen 20W mini charger.
Apple sells the following options:
The 20-watt USB-C Charger replaced Apple’s 18-watt model, which used to cost £29, so it is £10 cheaper than its slower predecessor.
The other alternative is to purchase a wireless charger to use with your iPhone, in which case take a look at Best wireless chargers for iPhone.
For older iPhones we have the best Lightning cables for iPhone.

Macworld editor since 2008, Karen has worked on both sides of the Apple divide, clocking up a number of years at Apple’s PR agency prior to joining Macworld two decades ago. 
Karen’s career highlights include interviewing Apple’s Steve Wozniak and discussing Steve Jobs’ legacy on the BBC. Her focus is Mac, but she lives and breathes Apple.
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