Can I interchange my smartphone and MacBook chargers?. Are Macbook and phone chargers compatible with each other? Can I use my Macbook charger to charge my phone?. These are a typical question arises in the mind of a user who owns both a smartphone and a Macbook both has a Type-C port. What’s the answer and how it is backed. Let’s find out.

Can I use a Macbook Pro charger to charge my smartphone?


When you plug in your USB Type-C charger, the device will have a small virtual ‘handshake’ with your charger. This ‘handshake’ refers to the mode of communication between the charger and the device about the amount of power that they can handle and using the right protocol, here it being the USB-C PD.PD stands for Power Delivery. So it is absolutely safe to charge any USB-C PD device with any USB-C PD charger. The USB Power Delivery has thus become a universal charging standard that allows a wide variety of devices to charge quickly over it.

For example, the MacBook Pro requires a 61W charger output. The Google Pixel XL needs a mere 18W charger output. which means that you can charge your Google smartphone with your Apple Laptop charger but not vice versa.This allows you the luxury of having to carry only one charger that can be used to charge you two completely different devices. The MacBook charger will reduce its wattage to meet the power requirements of the smartphone. But the 18W charger output of the smartphone won’t be enough to meet the power requirements to charge the MacBook.

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Let’s see the science and facts behind the above explanation.

USB Power Delivery, Type-C and Backward Compatibility

Power Delivery specification is not something that comes with a Type-C port. They are 2 separate entities. Power Delivery is a feature that is compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 but requires the USB Type-C pins because of the communication pins used by the standard.



A unique feature of the Power Delivery feature is that along with fast charging, this USB standard also permits both host and peripheral devices to supply power. You can charge a hard drive using your phone over the same port. To identify the power requirements of any device, the source and host have to communicate their requirements. This is carried out by sending packets of data between the host and source across the USB communication (CC) lines.

Handshaking for power

Power Delivery Standards can be explained briefly as follows. The power categories are classified as 7.5W, >15W, >27W, and > 45W. Each category provides a series of voltage and current configurations. For example, a smartphone requesting 10W of power would require a 5V, 2A configuration with the source. At the same time, a laptop needing 30W of power would require 15V and 2A from its charger. If the two devices fail to communicate a suitable Power Rule, USB Power Delivery will default to the next power option supported by the relevant USB protocol.

Smartphones do not require a Power Delivery mode to charge any quicker, however support for a universal USB fast charging makes Power Delivery, a necessary feature in the future.

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This article is based on the Android Authority article: USB Power Delivery explained

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