My iPhone XS Max was running on empty and I wondered why I had not brought my $10 Walmart battery pack to fill it up. Then I thought, OK, I do have the Type C to USB Apple adapter and my USB charge cable. Hmmm….
PowerBanks and Solar Chargers
There’s an enormous number and combinations of solar panels and batteries and the small hand portable units are quite popular. I saw this battery pack on a shelf in Walmart for $10 and thought, what the heck, let’s try it. I also had the same feeling when Renogy lowered the price on their 10 Watt solar panel to $20.
I have recharged my iPhone from almost empty to full many times, recharging the battery pack afterwards. I can use the solar panel or the Apple 5 Watt adapter to recharge the battery pack. Then I connect the battery pack to my iPhone using Apples USB to Lightning cable.
The battery pack recharges the phone faster than the 5 Watt adapter but slower than using the iPad’s 18 Watt adapter.
However, this post deals with using my new MacBook Air as the external battery pack and recharging my iPhone using a connection between the two. Have you ever tried this? Did you know it could be done? Well, I’m recharging my iPhone using only the MacBook Air as a power source, right now. It’s taken 110 minutes to charge my iPhone XS Mac from 12% to 65% and on another or so the scripts will finish and I will post a chart showing the charge and time.
The MacBook Air battery has dropped to 67% from about 95% to add half a battery charge to my iPhone. Next time I’ll charge the MacBook Air while it charges the iPhone. That’s called pass through charging which means the battery pack is recharged while connected to AC or solar power and it recharges the other device at the same time.
There are many, many PowerBanks (an advertising name) with different power ratings and prices. However, for a rare emergency this technique can be a game saver. Let’s not get super technical and just provide the simple technique.
You need an iPhone and a MacBook with a Type C port. I haven’t tried connecting to a USB port in a laptop but it might work. The Type C port in the MacBook Air provides power flow in both directions.
For a cable I have two options:
- Apple’s Lightning to USB C cable
- Apple’s USB C to USB A adapter and the iPhones USB A to Lightning cable
I am currrently using the 2nd option since I didn’t think of the first one before I just typed these few lines. I’ll try it next time.
There are cheaper cables and adapters than Apple sells but quite often those $5 cables don’t work more than once or twice. So, I try to stick with Apple for the cables.
Let me end this post with a summary: you can recharge your iPhone a little bit or to 100% using your MacBook Air or iPad and an Apple adapter cable. I carry a lightweight Apple USB C to Lightning cable to connect the two devices. I may only need a slight boost but can fully recharge the iPhone if needed. Keep in mind that the charge of the MacBook will be reduced during this time.
Currently I’ve added 71% to my iPhone and reduced my MacBook Air’s battery from 95% to 57%. These rough figures indicate that a 1% reduction of the MacBook’s charge results in a 2% increase in the iPhone’s charge.