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I am charging my iPhone from a newer Thunderbolt 3/USB C enabled MacBook (in my case MacBook Pro 2016) with USB C to lightning cable from Apple.

What I know is:

For example there is an iPhone 8/8 Plus/X or a newer iPad Pro 13

with computer (default(?)) or iPhone charger wall plug: 5W (5V 1A)
with iPad charger or 2.4A powerbank USB A to lightning: 12W (5V 2.4A)
with MacBook charger wall plug (29W or larger) USB C to lightning: 29W fast charging

Anything I do from a 2016 MacBook Pro 15 it seems I get the default charging speed (5W) through USB C despite the same USB C to lightning cable with the MacBook wall plug can fast charge (29W).

The USB C/Thunderbolt 3 standard though supports 100W. Is there a (highly likely unofficial) way to tell my Mac that the iPhone/iPad plugged in via the USB C to lightning cable would like to take a faster charge?

So is there a way to charge from a Mac an iPhone/iPad with 12W or 29W instead of the "default" 5W?

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  • What kind of iPhone do you have?
    – jksoegaard
    Mar 2 '18 at 21:46
  • Don't shoot the messenger, but no. The signaling to enable a fast charge is a precise circuit and not likely a simple hack to enable.
    – bmike
    Mar 5 '18 at 15:12
  • Now having a 2019 Macbook Pro 13 - interestingly it charges with 7.5W at 50%, bit better.
    – dszakal
    Aug 21 '19 at 16:08
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No, a USB-C to lightning cable that is Apple certified will charge iOS devices at the fullest capacity the new MacBook Pro will provide to a USB and lightning connector.

That same cable will fast charge from USB-C PD compatible chargers like the Apple ones.

iOS doesn’t present as thunderbolt so you don’t get that amount of power over lightning connector.

The technical details are available to any organization that participates in the MFI program - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MFi_Program and the signaling between devices to decide to fast charge is somewhat sophisticated and possibly has an encryption / identity key (I haven't seen the specifications so that part is speculation).

There’s nothing hidden. Apple could decide to increase the charge since they control all the drivers and power management and SMC and lightning specifications. They just chose the 5w you are seeing.

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So is there a way to charge from a Mac an iPhone/iPad with 12W or 29W instead of the "default" 5W?

No, Apple complies with the minimum required power from USB-C out of their computers, which is 5 volts at 3 amps. The USB-C spec obviously allows more power out of a USB-C port, otherwise Apple could not sell their 96 watt USB-C power supplies. The USB-C spec also obviously allows more power into a USB-C port, and Apple complies with this for their laptops to charge from their 96 watt USB-C power supplies.

Using an Apple computer to charge an Apple phone or tablet will obviously work but so far Apple only specifies a maximum 15 watts from the USB-C ports on their computers. If you need more power then you will have to use a charger brick, or perhaps non-Apple computer.

If you need more power while maintaining a data connection to your computer then you may be able to find a dock that allows this. Good luck finding one though, I have yet to see such a dock.

You should be seeing more than 5 watts charging to your iDevice from a computer USB-C port. It should be charging at 12 watts. If you cannot get better than 5 watts then there is likely something wrong with the cable. I have such a cable, it is a "charge only" cable that lacks the data lines to tell the computer that the phone is connected, therefore the phone only draws 5 watts since it doesn't know that the computer can safely provide more power.

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