Apple users are a loyal bunch. You’ll seldom find an Apple user that wants to use anything else. That means they’ll likely have an iPhone for communications, an iPad for fun and casual use, and a Macbook for their dedicated personal computing needs.
With so many adapters for each item this begs the question.. can you charge a MacBook with an iPad charger?
You will be able to charge your MacBook with an iPad charger but it won’t be as fast as an actual Macbook charger. The bad news is that this could potentially affect your overall battery life.
We’ll tell you in this article why it works and what you can expect if you give this method a try. It is certainly usable in a pinch but you really shouldn’t use it all the time and we’ll go into that so that you will know the potential pitfalls of this type of charging ‘hack’.
An option to avoid expensive Macbook adapters—with some caveats
First off, we’ve told you that it works and while it sounds risky, it’s not going to hurt your MacBook if it is used ONLY very rarely.
Here is why it works. To begin with, the cables are compatible, and the only difference you’ll see in the MacBook charge cable and the iPad cable is the length. So, what about the wattage? This is where you get a big difference.
The iPad Pro is going to give you a wattage rated at 18 watts. By contrast, the MacBook Pro utilizes quick charging and its native adapter is rated at 61 watts of power. This is a huge difference and so this leads us to the caveats of this process.
Since the cables are compatible, you can simply plug your iPad charger into your MacBook and it will indeed charge. The downside, however, that it’s only going to charge at roughly 1/5 of the time that it takes when you are using a standard MacBook charger.
There are also some concerns that this ‘trickle charging’ may not be good for your battery. You can carry less adapters by doing this, but this could be a poor solution in the long run with the wear and tear that this method could cause.
Portability… but it comes with a price
Apple doesn’t have any official word on this and that is why we can’t recommend it 100%. While Apple products are designed to draw only as much as they need, their adapters are often interchangeable but whether you try charging Apple products with different Apple adaptors you need to consider the risk.
With charging the MacBook via your iPad charger there is also some practicality to consider. You will be able to charge the MacBook, but we aren’t kidding about the slow speed. While some report it as only charging at 1/5 of the speed, we found that realistically you are looking at a charge rate of about 1% every 15 to 20 minutes.
This is dreadfully slow and with the extreme variance in wattage that you get from a dedicated MacBook charger, it seems to be a much safer bet to just carry the extra charger. A trickle-charge can certainly work in an emergency but this simply isn’t a method that we can recommend doing regularly.
The wear and tear on your battery has simply not been fully explored as to its effects in the long run and you also risk voiding your warranty. While the charge connectors are the same, Apple technicians will quite likely know if your MacBook has been charged with ‘alternative means’ and that could void out a normally rock-solid warranty.
Simply put, you could charge your MacBook with the iPad Pro charger, but we really cannot recommend it.
Consider a new case if portability is a problem
Now that we’ve established that while the USB-C cables are compatible, the wattage is a huge problem, we offer as an alternative solution that you consider a new travel case. A dedicated MacBook adapter really isn’t that large, but if you are running out of storage space a great compromise is a new case.
You can get the space that you need and you don’t risk voiding your warranty with a ‘charging hack’. While you’ll see people on the forums recommending iPad charger use, take it with a grain of salt. Apple hasn’t given the official word, so you’re better off just using the recommended charger and getting a new case if the old one is running out of room.
In conclusion: This charging method is definitely not recommended
We hope that today’s article has helped to outline in detail why it’s not a good idea to charge your expensive MacBook with an iPad charger. Yes, it will work, but the wattage simply is not sufficient for an efficient or quick charge and the potential for ruining your battery makes it a poor solution at best.
Stick with the recommended MacBook charger or use this hack at your own risk. We simply cannot recommend it at this time.