Can I Use A USB-C Laptop Charger To Charge My Phone?

Can I Use A USB C Laptop Charger To Charge My Phone

A USB-C charger has soared in popularity and certain standards such as USB-C and USB-D are more commonly being used not only to charge a laptop but also to charge a phone.

This is because, in general, it is a safe practice and will charge your phone efficiently.

However, whether your phone is compatible and whether your USB-C cable will charge your phone properly ultimately depends on which laptop charger you are using what phone you are trying to charge.

This article tells you all you need to know about USB-C chargers and charger compatibility, so read on to learn more.

Technology Enabling Charger Compatibility

Charger compatibility means that you can use one device’s charger to charge up another device and to have successful charger compatibility, there are two things you should keep in mind. You must have a common physical connection and you must use the same charging protocol.

Physical Connection

In 2014, the USB-C connector was announced by the USB Implementer’s Forum. The USB Implementer’s Forum is a non-profit organization and brings together top companies in the industry. These range from Apple, to Microsoft, to Intel.

What Is A USB-C?

A USB-C is also known as a USB Type-C and was created to be a universal standard that could solve multiple different problems found on older USB designs.

It was designed to be fully reversible and would be small enough to fit into smartphones, yet advanced enough that it could also charge up laptops.

The USB-C, in recent years, had become the standard for many devices and most android phones are powered by USB-C ports alone.

Apple joined in when they started to include it in their Macbook Pro since the release of their 2015 model. The iPad is also shipped with a USB-C port and shares its specification with the modern Thunderbolt 3.

Nowadays, the EU is making sure the USB-C is compulsory in all new smartphones. Car chargers might now even come with USB-C ports and so do certain portable chargers.

However, for now, they are most commonly used for laptops.

The USB-C and connector specification is a receptacle, plug, cable, and detection mechanism which is compatible with USB interface electrical and functional specifications.

These specifications are in conjunction with the USB-C Cable and Connector Specification and define the following to provide screw locking mechanisms that have been standardized for the USB Type C plug.

These include the USB-C plug connector with a single locking screw and the USB-C plug connector with dual locking screws.

You can identify a USB-C charger by its unique features. The connector is small and round and looks a lot different from other older USB versions.

It also works no matter which way you connect it, as long as you connect it to a compatible port.

Charging Protocol

The physical connection between a USB-C and a device however is not as simple as it might seem.

Having a USB-C connector does not mean it is compatible with all devices and the connector is the interface that is plugged into the device.

To be able to charge a device successfully, you need to have a compatible charging protocol.

If your laptop has a USB-C connector, then it is also likely it will support USB Power Delivery (USB-PD). This is the most common protocol and allows up to 20V/5A/100w output in all laptops.

It’s the technology behind fast charging which has been deployed by Google and Apple in their recent iPhones and Pixel phones.

More recently, modern batteries are being designed to have a charge controller built-in them and this is what controls the input voltage and protects devices from overcharging.

It works alongside how most chargers support alternate levels of output voltage and this means when you plug a charger into a specific device, the charger, and the device ‘discuss’ how much input voltage and current it can cope with.

The charger supplies all of that power at the agreed voltage and current.

As a result of this process, even if your phone does not allow for fast charging, it will still work with your USB-C laptop charger because the charger defaults to the standard rate of 5V/1A.

What Is Real And What Is Fake?

Unfortunately, as the popularity of USB-C chargers increases, so do the small minority of ‘fake’ USB-C chargers that don’t comply with specifications outlined by the USB Implementer’s Forum.

Fake USB-C chargers mean the charger is unable to reduce down the power so that it can charge your phone and does not meet very basic specifications for most power supplies.

Although fake USB-C chargers are on the rise, it’s rare that you will ever come across one. Retailers such as Amazon have banned them completely from all platforms and as long as you buy from a reliable retailer, the chances are you will be safe.

However, only using a genuine charger that is suited for your device is vital for keeping that battery alive and healthy.

When Amazon decided to ban USB-C charging cables that do not comply with specifications, they did so as they realized how damaging they can be to specific devices and could cause other safety risks.

The USB-C cables they found that were dangerous were the ones made with incorrect resistors and typically only 10k ohm.

This means it was possible for the device you are charging to draw more power than the plug can supply safely. It also means the plug could push more power than the device could take, as we mentioned above.

Some USB-C cables they also found were wired incorrectly and not only is this unsafe, but it could also destroy the device that they are plugged into.

Laptops With A Different Physical Connector

Laptops with a Different Physical Connector

Laptops that have a different physical connector than a USB-C are still in existence and these are completely fine to use.

However, from 2020, no other type of connector is being used to power laptops and the same goes for smartphones.

Charging Arrangements

As the USB-C is universal, it can do multiple different things at once and this allows for unique charging circumstances.

A lot of charging hubs for example offer pass-through charging and this refers to a hub that can connect multiple USB peripherals to a laptop whilst also charging the battery of the laptop too.

It means you don’t need two alternate USB-C ports for each task.

Additionally, you might find yourself with a portable charger with an old USB connection, yet a phone with a USB-C port.

With this, you can link the charger to a laptop that has both types of ports and power up your phone at the same time.

Final Thoughts

We hope by reading this article you have learned a little more about USB-C charging cables and if you are able to use your USB-C laptop charger safely to also charge your phone if it is compatible.

USB-C chargers are designed to solve problems with older USB designs and are becoming increasingly popular.

If you can charge your phone with the same charger as your laptop, it will save time, hassle, and money and make life that little bit easier!

Brett Jones
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