You bought this phone, that phone, and a couple of tablets too. Over the years, you probably have stocked up enough USB chargers and cables to have one attached to an outlet in every single room of your home. So you might plug your Moto G5 into a charger for your Galaxy S8, or your iPhone into a charger for your iPad. Is this OK to do though? You wonder “Can I use any charger with my phone or tablet?”
There once was a time when mobile device chargers were all different. You would have to check the output voltage of the charger and make sure it matched what your device supports before you could safely use it. Getting it wrong would result in a device that malfunctioned or worse, never turned on again.
To solve this problem, manufacturers got together in 2007 and settled on a standard for USB charging. As a result, nearly any phone and tablet now comes with a USB charger that can be used interchangeably between devices without any issues. Any device that supports Battery Charging Specification 1.1 or above will detect and manage the amount of power supplied to the device and adapt accordingly.
That means that you can feel free to use any of your USB chargers included with your phone or tablet with any other phone or tablet made after 2007 without worry. iPhone adapter to an Android’s USB-C port? Sure! Use an Android adapter on an iPad Lightning port? No problem! You can use any charger with your phone as long as it was made after the 2007 agreement.
Cheap “Penny” Chargers, Cables, & Bought Online
Those 50 cent chargers may look quite attractive, but experiments have shown that known brand names perform better and are much safer to use. Don’t cheap out! Cheap cables and chargers have become a widespread problem in recent years. It’s such a problem that Amazon had to ban cheap, non-compliant cables from being sold on their site.
Stick to brand names like Belkin, Monster, or the company that manufactured your device.
Is using an adapter to convert a charger and cable to a different type of connector safe?
Yes, assuming you didn’t “cheap out” on the adapter, charger, or cable. For example, you should be able to use a charger with a USB-C connector with an adapter to an iPhone, or Micro-USB connector just fine. Old 30-pin iPhone charger and cable with an adapter to convert to USB-C? No problem.
What about using just a USB port to charge without a plug-in charger?
You can plug your device into any USB port and the device will charge just fine.
I have an old phone. How do I know if it will work with any charger?
You’ll need to see if the phone supports USB Battery Charging Specification 1.1 or higher. It’s often pretty difficult to find this information as it’s often not listed in the product manuals. Some manufacturers list it in the specifications section on their website. You’ll need to “Google it” in most cases.
I plugged a charger into my device and I have a red X over the battery icon. Why does this happen?
The red X battery icon is letting you know that the charger is only supplying a low amount of power to the device and it may not charge as quickly as allowed. There should be no danger and you can continue charging the device, albeit slowly.
My device does not support USB Battery Charging Specification 1.1. What do I do?
You will have to use the charger that came with the device. If the original charger isn’t available, you will have to use another charger with the same connector that supports the same output voltage as the original charger.
I read a different post that says I can’t mix chargers. Why are you saying different?
Many people are misinformed still because they’re used to the way things used to be. They may not know about the new standards and assume nothing has changed. I compare it to people who still say you shouldn’t charge your phone battery until it’s been fully discharged. Old information like this has resulted in a lot of inaccurate information being published about USB charging.