Choosing The Right Car Charger For A MacBook
Whether you need to work on the road or you just want your MacBook for some in-car entertainment, a car charger will keep the battery topped up throughout your journey. A car charger plugs into your car's electrical outlet and uses the battery to power your laptop. There are a few different factors to keep in mind when choosing a charger for your MacBook.
Which Connector Do I Need?
- Older MacBooks can be recharged using a MagSafe 1 or 2 cable. This type of proprietary cable uses magnets to lock into the charging port. Depending on which type of MagSafe port you have, you may need an adapter to connect your charger to the laptop.
- Many newer models released from 2015 onwards charge using a USB-C port instead. This means that you can charge them with an ordinary USB-C cable. You may also need a USB-A to USB-C adapter to charge via USB cable.
Which Features Can I Look For?
- Car chargers have different outputs, measured in watts. Different models of laptop are designed to be charged using a charger with a specific output. Using an underpowered charger with your laptop will cause it to charge very slowly. Using an overpowered charger shouldn't cause any issues, but you won't see any increase in charging speed.
- Some USB car chargers have multiple USB ports. This means that you can plug multiple compatible devices into it using USB cables and charge them all at the same time, very useful if you want to keep your MacBook and your phone running. This isn't limited to dual USB ports: some models have three or more slots to plug USB devices into.
- Some chargers actually have both USB-C and MagSafe ports. If you aren't sure whether you need a USB-C or MagSafe cable to charge your laptop, or if you just want to be able to charge other devices too, this type of car charger can be really helpful.
How Should I Use My Car Charger?
- If you want to charge your Mac as quickly as possible, set it to sleep mode or switch the power off completely. You shouldn't be using it anyway if you are driving, and switching it off ensures that it is fully charged when you reach your destination.
- If you want to use your computer from the passenger seat, the way you use it can have a big effect on how quickly it recharges. Running intensive apps and games increases power draw by a lot, so your USB charger might not be able to charge it up quickly at all. You can also speed up charging by lowering screen brightness, disabling wireless connectivity, and unplugging all USB devices except the charger.