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Can I use any USB charger for my iPhone SE?


Userlevel 1
The generic 3rd party wall charger I have says 5V, 1A output.  The little white cube that came along with my new iPhone SE says 5V, 1A output (gosh knows why they printed this in light gray microfont on the prong side of the cube).  I assume that this is all that's needed for compatibility, and that there isn't anything sophisticated going on like communication with the charging device and modulation/pulsing of the charging current/voltage?
P.S. I found similar threads with either no answer or which was asked in the context of a specific device.

11 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi Andy, you can use any compatible charger however it is recommended strongly that you use the one that came with the phone or another one from Apple as cheap cables have been cause for fires before.
Userlevel 7
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Yeah you could use any without problems. Just don't use cheap ones. I used Samsung's one and some others I bought on amazon with no problem
Userlevel 1
Thank you, Paul, Robert.  The alternate non-apple charger I have is proven because I have used it with my previous phone.  I will still use the USB/lightning cable that came with the iPhone SE.  I like the non-apple charger because it is a flat square, and the prongs fold away.
Userlevel 7
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Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has their MFi licensing program that only allows licensed 3rd party accessories to be able to work with Apple products.  In some cases, you may get a "This accessory is not supported" error when you plug in.  However, this is more common for unlicensed 3rd party cables than wall adapters.
Userlevel 7
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Dennis wrote:

Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has t...

Not only Apple. I have a Jabra speaker phone which will not charge using the cigarette lighter adapter in my vehicle, but will charge with a wall plug or a computer USB port.

Userlevel 1
Dennis wrote:

Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has t...

As long as it doesn't harm my spanking new phone, I'm fine.  I don't expect the charging speed to differ much, based on the fact that they are both 5V and 1A output.  Thanks, though, for sharing your anecdotes of compatibility oddities.
Userlevel 1
Dennis wrote:

Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has t...

That link contains a lot of technical detail, and coming from that kind of background myself, I can appreciate the message.  However, it's hard to take that detail and turn it into consumer guidance, short of your generic advice to avoid bargain basement products.  Even with that practice, however, it's a gamble.  I picked up my 3rd party charger from Canada's consumer electronics chain, "The Source".  It wasn't memorably cheap or expensive, so I'm in the gray zone.  In fact, I picked up two chargers, months apart, and the brand names were different.  One of them I have with me now:


The "Fusion" brand is unknown to me.  The company is hard to identify, but a google search reveals a *possible* taiwanese candidate: http://fusion.tw/en .  Their website does not confirm that they make the above charger, but maybe they are a parent company buying ephemeral smaller companies.  I believe that my other charger was Nexxus or some-such.  In any case, it's not clear that the label says much, as they could have purchased it from another manufacturer and slapped their brand on.

All in all, buying 3rd party seems to put one into unknown territory.  Which is a bummer because I don't really like the design of the cubicle charger.  And my original reason for getting one was that the previous smartphone (Moto G) did not come with one -- hence, there was no way to avoid a 3rd party charger.

I guess the only way to be sure is to get a 3rd part charger from a supplier that has a reputation for quality, even if it isn't one of the smartphone/tablet makers.  Based on the article that you linked to, it would not be wise to treat the chargers from smartphone/tablet makers as a generic charger, as they sometimes deviate from applicable standards in order to tailor the charger to their products.  Really messy situation, it seems.

P.S. The article describes counterfeit chargers, but even buying from reputable vendors does not completely eliminate the risk, as counterfeit goods or components can be introduced anywhere in the supply chain.  With companies being not necessarily vertically integrated, this risk goes up.  By avoiding buying bargain basement products, we only reduce the risk at the consumer market end.
Userlevel 7
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Dennis wrote:

Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has t...

Or find a store with a good return policy
Userlevel 1
Dennis wrote:

Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has t...

That doesn't help if your phone gets harmed.
Userlevel 7
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Dennis wrote:

Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has t...

Thats a risk with any charger.  Even OEM
Userlevel 1
Dennis wrote:

Actually Apple devices are tricky.  Spec-wise, yes it should work.  However Apple has t...

Yes, that's true.  But what motivated me to create this thread was to suss out any best practices in preventing damage to devices due to charger incompatibilities.  If such damage should occur, at least for myself, getting back the small amount of money for a malfunctioning charger would not be the foremost on my mind, and probably would not be worth the hassle.  Making it known that a certain brand or model was a menace might have some priority for me under such a circumstance.

For a lot of people, these devices are used to plan and coordinate their lives, so remedial measures and replacement of the device would the paramount.  As well as finding ways to avoid a repeat of the same thing.  Sticking with name brand products is probably one way to diminish the risk, as you suggested.

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