The iPhone has a new (old) charging port—here are the best accessories

Don't get caught by surprise with Apple's biggest small iPhone change in years. Here are the wired and wireless accessories you need to be ready.
Best iPhone charging accessories
Brandt Ranj / Popular Science

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Apple has announced its upcoming smartphones, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, which will be available for preorder this Friday, Sept. 15, and arrive on Sept. 22. These will be the first models to feature a USB-C charging and data transfer port (with the Pro models supporting 10Gbps USB 3 speeds). This will replace the Lightning port used by Apple’s smartphones since the iPhone 5 launched in 2012. Apple says it’s making the change because USB-C has become a universal standard.

In addition, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), which we love, will also start shipping with a combination MagSafe & USB-C charging case on the 22nd. If you’ve been using an iPhone or AirPods for several years, this change means replacing all of your Lightning charging cables and accessories with ones that work with USB-C. Thankfully, USB-C is a universal standard, so plenty of options are available.

Both the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro series phones also support wireless charging at up to 7.5W using a Qi charging pad or 15W using a MagSafe magnetic charger. We’ll explore some of your best options below, so you’ll be all set for the iPhone’s launch day.

Best USB-C cable: Anker USB C to USB C Cable

Anker USB C to USB C Cable

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As far as value and quality go, this two-pack of Anker’s USB-C to USB-C cables allows you to jump into the new charger world with both feet. Both cables are six feet long and have a braided nylon covering to protect them from little nicks and scratches. Anker says the protective shielding at the base of both connectors is designed to be bent 12,000 times, which should prevent fraying. Our other reason for recommending these cables over others is that they can carry up to 100W of electricity. USB-C cables all look the same but can transfer power at dramatically different rates.

You can use this pair of USB-C cables from Anker with an iPhone, tablet, game console, or laptop and charge all of them at their maximum speed. If you can get away with using three charging cables (the one Apple includes with the iPhone and this two-pack from Anker), the total cost of your Lightning to USB-C charging transition will set you back less than $15. Anker also offers these cables in a smaller, 3.3-foot size and a couple of different colors.

Best USB-C power adapter: Amazon Basics 65W One-Port GaN USB-C Wall Charger

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If you’ve been plugging your iPhone—and other tech accessories—into a power adapter with a USB-A plug, now is the time to upgrade. Amazon Basics’ pocket-sized charger can top up your new iPhone at its maximum charging speed and is compatible with any USB-C to USB-C cable. We’re recommending this 65W power adapter over Amazon’s less expensive 30W model because it’s also powerful enough to charge a laptop or tablet.

Best MagSafe charger: Apple MagSafe Charger

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One way to side-step the Lightning to USB-C port transition on the iPhone is moving to wireless charging. Your best choice is picking up one of Apple’s MagSafe charging pucks, which support wireless charging speeds of up to 15W. This accessory will magnetically connect to the back of your iPhone, automatically aligning itself to the correct spot to optimize its charging speed. If you don’t like the look of an errant charging accessory on your desk or nightside table, we recommend picking up an inexpensive aluminum stand to house it.

Best MagSafe battery pack: Anker MagGo Wireless Portable Charger

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Anker’s MagGo is a 5000w power bank that allows you to MagSafe wireless anywhere. The battery pack magnetically attaches to the back of your iPhone and automatically begins to refill its battery. You can extend the life of your iPhone by several hours using the MagGo, but it doesn’t have quite enough juice to refill it completely. Additionally, this battery pack only supports wireless charging speeds of up to 7.5W, half MagSafe’s technical maximum. You can connect your phone to its USB-C port for faster charging speeds using a cable.

Best multi-device MagSafe charger: Nomad Base One Max

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If you’d like to kiss charging cables goodbye completely, Nomad’s Base One Max is the ultimate charging accessory. The wireless charger can top up an iPhone (at 15W via MagSafe), Apple Watch, and AirPods (both at 5W a piece) simultaneously. There are similar accessories, but none have the fit and finish of the Base One Max, whose glass and metal design matches Apple’s luxe, minimalist aesthetic. This is the wireless charging solution to permanently set on your desk, so you can grab your most-used devices at any time without feeling tethered. The one thing you’ll need to complement this accessory is a 30W power adapter, as Nomad doesn’t include one in the box.

Best MagSafe travel charger: ZAGG 3-in-1 travel charger with MagSafe

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ZAGG’s 3-in-1 travel charger with MagSafe is an excellent investment if you travel often. It has many of the same performance characteristics as Nomad’s charger, but it can fold into a neat package and be stored in a backpack pocket. Wirelessly charge your AirPods, Apple Watch, and iPhone in hotels, AirBnbs, and even internationally—if you remember to bring a power converter. ZAGG includes a power adapter with this accessory, and it fits into a specific slot in the included carrying case, so you can easily grab this charger and go.

The iPhone enters the hear and now

Another thing we love about this change is that it opens the iPhone up to a wealth of audio accessories—including some of our favorite headphones with built-in DACs (such as the Focal Bathys and Bowers & Wilkins Px8), external DAC/amps, etc.—allowing for advanced resolution playback without the need for an additional cable beyond what comes with the gear.

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Brandt Ranj

Staff Writer, Commerce

Brandt Ranj is a commerce reporter at Popular Science. He writes about the latest and greatest gadgets, from headphones and TVs to chargers and cables. He splits his time between New York City, Long Island, and Croatia, carting test gear around the U.S. and the globe.