I have an iPhone 4 and an iPad. Since the iPad really charges best off the wall charger I keep it plugged in, but I usually just charge the iPhone off the computer. Although frequently if the iPad is charged I will charge the iPhone with the wall charger.

Now the Apple sales rep said he heard from someone who heard from someone that that would burn out the phone because the iPad charger is 10 watt instead of 5 watt. It is true that it is twice as many watts. I said that I thought it shouldn't burn out the phone because a device should only pull as many watts as it needs, so the watts were irrelevant. He said that made sense, but he didn't really know.

So I thought I would ask the experts. Has anyone had their iPad charger fry an iPhone or iPod? Am I correct in my understanding of watts in chargers? Is there an official word about the iPad charger causing trouble with other devices? Have I already voided my warranty?


5 Answers 5


Your assumption is correct. Your iPhone has an intelligent charge controller on-board and this controller will only draw as much as it needs.

Sure, the iPad power supply can supply twice as much power as the iPhone needs, but it should not be dangerous by any means.

I don't know if there is an "official" word on this, but I would be genuinely surprised that it voids your warranty. Apple engineers are very smart and know that users will interchange powersupplies if they recognize that the connectors are physically compatible (as is the case here.)

Long story, short: you should be fine.

  • however the IPod charger may have a higher running cost then a iPhone charger.
    – Ian Ringrose
    Commented Sep 13, 2010 at 9:53

The UK Apple store says the iPad charger is fine with iphones / nano


  • but only with dock "It also charges iPhone and all iPod models with a dock connector."
    – Metal Gear
    Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 5:08
  • 1
    By "dock connector" they mean the 30 pin connection. No "dock" required. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dock_connector
    – Alexander
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 2:31

TL;DR: Yes, you can use an iPad charger to charge an iPhone.

Basic electrical laws apply. The USB specification is a nominal 5Volts. That applies to ALL USB devices and chargers. It has to be so for a UNIVERSAL (U) SERIAL (S) BUS (B) to be UNIVERSAL!! (Duh sounds obvious and it IS).

So your charger may deliver 2Amps at 5Volts => 10Watts (W=V*A) Your charger may be capable of delivering 3A. At 5V that implies it is capable of handling a (3A * 5V = 15W) load.

Ohms Law states that Current = Volts/Ohms. Therefore for a given resistance (Ohms) and a given Voltage there WILL be a given current.

So let's say your phone has a terminal resistance of 10 Ohms. the USB specification says that the USB supply voltage is 5V therefore the current your phone will draw is 5V divide by 5 Ohms = 1A

Your 10W charger CAN (ideally) supply 2A at 5V which is 2 times what your phone needs, BUT the phone will ONLY draw a maximum of 1A BECAUSE that's all it needs and can draw due to its internal resistance and the charging circuitry which will limit it even more as the battery charges up.

So for the guy whose charger wires burned: the ONLY way that this could have happened is firstly if the charger wires were severely underrated and the current being drawn was more than they were capable of. This could only happen if the resistance at the end where you'd plug into your device got shorted out. The charger will not be at fault. UNLESS the charger was faulty - then it would have damaged any USB device you plugged it into.

As regards the phone that supposedly burned black: again the same thing. The charger can supply current only according to its capability and the resistance of the load (phone/ ipad, etc). The load device has a given idle resistance and charging circuitry to control and limit the charge current. The charger cannot supply more current than Ohm's law allows and also than what it is capable of delivering.

So the conclusion is that either your charger was faulty and its output voltage was greater than 5V, which would cause (push) a greater current to flow than the load device was capable of; OR your load device (phone, etc.) charging circuitry was faulty, which caused it to draw (pull) more current than it was supposed to.

Bottom line is that when all devices are functionally sound and non-faulty, it is impossible for you to burn it out by using a charger that has a higher rated wattage.

Using a charger with a lower rating can cause the charger to overheat and maybe fail as the load device will attempt to draw the charge current that it needs but the charger can only supply the maximum it is designed to supply.

So, for example, if you have a charger that can supply only 500mA @ 5V (i.e., 2.5W of power) then if your iphone, ipad, etc., tries to draw 1A or 2A, etc., the charger can supply max of ONLY 0.5A. So, Ohm's Law applies again.

Let's once again assume that your load device is 5 Ohms. Remember Ohm's Law: V = I*R. Therefore, if I=0.5A and R=5 Ohms, then the charger voltage will fall to V = 5 * 0.5 = 2.5V because the charger can deliver max of only 500mA. So, if you draw too much current, the voltage will drop.

Take the extreme: if you shorted out the charger terminals, the short circuit voltage is 0V and the short circuit current is 0.5A because the short circuit resistance is 0 Ohms.


Loads, such as a phone, draw as much current as required for their resistance (see Ohm's Law). Having a power supply that can supply more current than a device can use is not only possible, but basically universal. E.g. A MacBook charger can supply 65W of power max (at a constant voltage, this implies constant max current), but most of the time the MacBook will be drawing FAR less power (and thus less current).

TL;DR: Yes, you can use an iPad charger to charge an iPhone.


It will not "hurt" your iPhone, however with long term use and everyday charging with the larger amperage, you will damage your battery faster and it will start performing worse more quickly than it would normally.

I recommend charging your iPhone with the standard 1 amp charger that is included with your iPhone. However, if you're in a pinch and need some extra battery fast, then using a larger amp charger won't destroy your iPhone.

The iPhone does not need 2.1 amps forced inside it, but it will handle it.

People claim the iPhone is designed to handle more than 1 amp of power, such as the iPad's 2.1 amp brick. Just because there is a cutoff at the amount the iPhone will accept, (not sure what it is just over 2.1 amp I believe) doesn't mean shoving more than 1 amp of power inside it won't damage the internals. The power management chip and battery has to work with more power. (more heat, more wear) Also, using more than 1 amp will increase the temperature of the iPhone overall which is not good for a lot of parts of the phone.(glue, plastic)

Yes, Apple lists that the iPad charger is compatible with your iPhone. It does work, and won't cause noticeable harm for a while. Also, worst case scenario for Apple is you go and drop more money on a battery replacement. More heat and more power is never a good thing, and will cause long term damage and poor battery performance, with the possibility of other things failing faster. I have seen it first hand with my customers before. (I own a small business fixing iPhones) Things such as glue and plastic can loosen up and move. Screens sometimes will get small bubbles under them, screens will sometimes loosen up and require new glue to re secure them into their proper place. The customers that had those issues claimed they regularly charge with an iPad brick.


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