MacBooks started to use USB C ports from the year 2015. It was a useful transition that enabled many users to easily adapt USB C cables due to its wide availability and cheaper options. But can you use any kind of USB C with any MacBook?
We all know that USB Cs are compatible with all devices with USB C ports. But are there any considerations before using the cable? Let us discuss it all in this article.
Can you charge MacBook with any USB C?
MacBooks can be charged with any kind of USB C cable. You can also use any charging adaptor (charging brick) with the MacBook without considering the power rating also. Because USB C cables are compatible with any type C port, and you don’t even have to match the power ratings of the charging adaptor for it to work. Even with lower power ratings the device will charge but the charging time will differ.
Let us understand what happens when you charge the MacBook with different USB C cables and Charging Adaptors.
Using third-party USB C cable and adaptor
Charging a device is not dependent only on the charging adaptor and USB cable. Nowadays you can find devices to support fast charging. This fast-charging capability is not bound to the adaptor alone. Rather, it is also dependent on the device it is charging.
Let us consider an example where you are charging a MacBook with a third-party USB C cable and adaptor. The power brick that comes with the device is around 87W while the third-party charger you are using is only 15W.
When you plug in the 15W charger to your MacBook, you can find it to charge the device without any issues. This is because software governs the charging of the device. This software will command the device to draw the power necessary to charge the device irrespective of the wattage rating present in the brick.
But since you are using a 15W charger, it will take some more time to complete the charging. The time taken to complete the charging by a 15W charger and the 87W charger will not be much different until the device demands more power for fast charging.
So, that is why if your MacBook doesn’t support fast charging, it will take two and a half hours to complete charging with a 15W brick while it will take one and a half hours with 87W brick. Only one hour is different.
Why charging times don’t differ much?
The reason behind this very minimal charging time difference is because of the charging cycle programmed into the devices.
Any device, even with the capacity to fast charge, will not charge at full capacity. When you use an 87W charger, the device will not draw the full 87W power at all. Even if you start charging the device at 0%, it will not draw the full 87W of power.
If you look at the charging cycle, only for the first few percentages you will have a significant power draw. For example, the first 50% charge may happen within half an hour. But after 50%, the power draw will start to reduce to an extent that the next 50% will take more than one and a half hours to complete.
This is done by the manufacturers to protect the life of the battery. This kind of charging cycle will help you to use the device for a long time. You don’t have to change the battery for a while and can have better charge-holding capacity.
Therefore, we can conclude that using a third-party charging brick or a USB C cable will not affect the charging performance. But you can find Apple recommending the charging brick provided by them. Let us discuss the reason for that.
Why does MacBook Recommend we use the original charger?
There are a couple of reasons for Apple to recommend only the use of original chargers for their devices.
Voids the Warranty
Any problem that occurs in the MacBook due to the usage of third-party accessories will void the warranty. You will no longer be able to claim any service or repair with your MacBook and it is expensive to do them on your own.
Due to this factor, it is always recommended to use the original chargers and charging cable with MacBook. Although it doesn’t bring any major issues, when something happens to your MacBook due to other reasons, you will be held responsible for using third-party accessories.
Therefore, if you want to claim a warranty and still have a period left, then it is not recommended to use other chargers and cables.
Data Transfer May Not Work
Sometimes, the third-party cables may not be detected by the device, and you cannot perform any data transfers.
This is a major drawback of using a third-party USB-C cable. Usually, original cables can be recognized by the devices due to a chip present in them. Since this chip will be absent from the other cables, it will not be detected, and you will be forced to use an original cable.
This can also happen when you connect the device to the mac or PC for resetting. The restore will not happen unless you use an original cable.
Therefore, it is always recommended by Apple to use an original charger and other accessories so that you can claim a warranty and have seamless usability.
Disadvantages of using 3rd party USB C charger
As we already mentioned, using third-party accessories can lead to warranty voids. But in the case of charging, it may affect the battery life. Apple original chargers are manufactured to serve MacBook devices while third-party chargers may not be efficient enough. It may not perform well and might lead to heating issues.
If you want to use any brand USB C cable for your MacBook, you can comfortably use it without any issues. But it is not recommended by Apple nor by us since it can nullify your warranty and can lead to slower charging. Therefore, in case of emergencies, try to use a third-party cable.