Can You Charge MacBook With a Phone Charger?


A charger is an essential part to any battery-powered device, be it a phone or a laptop. You might sometimes accidentally misplace your laptop charger or forget bringing it along with you while in a hurry, and will have to resort to other methods to charge your laptop. 

Can you charge a MacBook, or any other laptop, with a phone charger?

 Yes, If both your MacBook and phone charger have the same USB port, as in, a Type-C port, you will be able to charge your MacBook with a phone charger. However, depending on the wattage of your phone charger, it may charge your laptop at a slower rate.

Read on below in order to get more details about using a phone charger as a MacBook charger, whether or not it is a good idea, and what other alternatives you have in case you don’t have your laptop charger. 

Charging a MacBook without Its Own Charger 

You would most likely only use something else apart from a MacBook’s own charger in the case of an emergency. There are two basic requirements for being able to charge your MacBook with anything: 

1) A power outlet 

2) A device, connected to the power outlet, transferring the power to the MacBook’s battery 

Knowing the difference between Type – A and Type – C 

To be able to charge your MacBook using a phone charger, it is first important to know whether the MacBook has Type – A USB ports or Type – C ports.  

A Type – A connector can be used to transfer power from the laptop to a mobile phone or other devices, but the converse is not true, since a laptop requires a huge amount of power that a Type – A connector cannot provide. 

A Type – C port, however, can perform the job as it transfers much more power as compared to a Type – A.  

Once again, make sure both your phone charger and your MacBook are compatible with Type – C. 

How to Charge MacBook with a Phone Charger? 

Now, to charge your MacBook with a phone charger, follow the steps below: 

1) Connect one end of the Type – C phone charger to the MacBook. 

2) Connect the other end to any power source, which in this case could be your phone. 

Will a Phone Charger Charge MacBook Fast? 

Although charging MacBook with a phone charger is certainly possible, it should be noted that it will not charge the MacBook at an efficiency even close to what you can get by using the proper charger that came along with the MacBook. 

The reason behind this is that a laptop’s battery requires far more power than a phone’s. Even the slowest laptop chargers provide around 50 – 60 Watts of power (the most powerful laptop chargers reaching up to 120 Watts), while a phone charger provides a measly 5, 10, or 12 Watts. This isn’t even half of what a laptop charger can provide. 

Can You Work on Your MacBook While It Is Connected It to A Phone Charger? 

Short answer: no, not for long. Even if the phone charger is connected to the MacBook while you’re working on it, you’ll find that the battery is still dropping, albeit at a lower rate than without the phone charger. Basically, in this case your charger will just serve as something to slow down the battery consumption rate to an extent, if not exactly charge the battery. 

One thing you can do is to turn off your MacBook, and then connect it to the phone charger. In this case, the battery will at the very least charge, but again, at a very slow rate. If your MacBook charger charges it in 2-3 hours, expect a couple of days for an average phone charger to charge a MacBook fully. 

Can All MacBook Versions Support Phone Chargers? 

Older laptop models may not have Type – C ports, making them unable to support phone chargers, and a MacBook in this case is no exception. Additionally, older laptop models may have Type – C ports but they won’t necessarily support charging – another thing to look out for. Your best bet is to invest in newer, good-quality devices. 

What to Look Out For? 

If you’re left with no choice but to use your phone charger to charge your MacBook, look out for overheating of the power source you’re using. You could potentially end up burning the power source if you’re using it for a very long period of time without enough protection. Disconnect the charger whenever the power source gets a bit heated up. 

Alternatives to Using a Phone Charger in a Pinch 

Apart from using a phone charger to charge your MacBook, below are two other methods you could use in the case of an emergency: 

1) Charging using a Power Bank 

A power bank can be used to charge a MacBook in the same way as it can be used to charge a phone. However, you’ll need to make sure your MacBook has a USB Type – C that is compatible with a power bank, as older MacBook models may not have that.  

Another thing to keep in mind is using a Power Bank that delivers 12 V or above, such as the one linked here. 

2) Charging With Your Car 

Apart from a Power Bank and a phone, your car can be used as a power source to charge your MacBook too. You will require an AC (Type – A to Type – C) power adapter in this case, and a USB car charger. Simply connect the car charger in your car’s port, and connect the adapter into your laptop. 

Final Thoughts 

So, for a bit of recap, yes, you can technically charge your MacBook with a phone charger, but it definitely isn’t something you’d want to do every day and should only be considered in the case of an emergency.  

Your MacBook’s charger should be the first and foremost thing you should always check in your bag before heading out. These “DIY-ish” methods mentioned in the article may help in a pinch, but not for long-term situations. 

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