Alternative Methods for Charging an iPad


Apple ships the iPad with a 10-watt adapter that provides 2 amps of power at 5 volts. This adapter is more than powerful enough to run and charge the iPad at the same time. It also comes with a detachable cable that you can use to sync the iPad or to charge it with other devices.

The iPad Challenge

  • Charging an iPad with a 5-volt source, which is the power that a USB port generates, is challenging because it has a large battery that needs a considerable amount of power to charge. The first two generations of iPads have 25 watt-hour batteries and the third and fourth generation iPads need almost twice as much power to charge their 42.5 watt-hour batteries. For this reason, Apple supplies a 10-watt power supply.

Your Computer

  • Your iPad can charge from a USB port. A traditional USB port provides 500 mA of current, which is 25 percent of what the Apple charger delivers. Some computers have high-power USB ports, though. A high-power USB port can deliver around 1200 mA of power. Either port actually has enough power to charge an iPad. The challenge is charging it while it's in use. A 500 mA port may not be able to keep up, although it can trickle-charge an iPad that isn't in use. A 1200 mA high power port should work. In either case, your iPad may display a message that says it is "Not Charging." The real test is to leave your iPad plugged in for a while and see if its battery level goes up.

Wall and Car Chargers

  • Given that the iPad can charge from a computer USB port, it follows that the iPad can also charge from external USB chargers other than the one that it comes with. Some manufacturers make special high-power chargers that deliver the same 10 watts as the charger that Apple includes with the iPad to accommodate its current requirements. To this end, any USB-equipped car charger can also work. You could even use a solar charger or a crank charger, provided it has sufficient power output.

Portable Batteries

  • If you need to charge your iPad where you don't have access to a car battery or a wall outlet and don't want to use a solar or crank charger, you have another option. You can bring along an extra battery that is already charged. Portable power packs hold high-capacity rechargeable batteries and can be plugged into the iPad to power it or to recharge its battery.

Version Information

  • Information in this article applies to iPads released through April of 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

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