Apple's 29W power adapter charges the iPad Pro crazy fast

Tired of waiting around for your iPad Pro to finish charging? Here's how to speed it up.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Jason Cipriani/CNET

Ask anyone who owns the 12.9-inch iPad Pro how long it takes to fully charge and they'll likely tell you it takes far too long.

In fact, during my testing with the standard 12W power adapter included with the iPad Pro, it took exactly 5 hours to go from a completely depleted battery to 100 percent with zero usage while charging.

When Apple announced the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the company quietly released a USB-C to Lightning cable. With the 12-inch MacBook having only one USB-C port, the cable is long overdue for those wishing to sync an iOS device to the MacBook without an adapter.

However, the description for the cable reveals it can also be used to fast-charge the larger iPad Pro when used with Apple's 29W power adapter.

Shortly after the cable was released, Federico Viticci of MacStories put the new accessories to the test and the results speak for themselves. Viticci reported the iPad Pro's battery going from zero to 80 percent charged in 93 minutes, which as you can see in the graphic below, is incredibly fast when compared to the standard charger.

Viticci's testing went far beyond what I had access to in terms of monitoring the battery at a system level, but the end results are the same for both of us.

Putting fast charging to the test

In order to test the fast charging set up myself, I ordered from Apple the $50, £39, AU$75 29W power adapter and the $35, £35, AU$55 2-meter USB-C to Lighting cable. (A 1m cable is also available for $25, £25, AU$35.)

For the initial test, I completely drained my iPad Pro's battery until it powered itself off. I then connected it to the included 12W power adapter, and tracked its progress every 60 minutes. Wi-Fi, background app refresh and push notifications remained on throughout the test.

After one hour of charging, the battery was at 24 percent. The next measurements were 47, 69, 87 and 100 percent, respectively up to the 5-hour mark.

Next, I once again depleted the battery until the iPad Pro powered off. I then connected the iPad Pro to the 29W power adapter, and began checking the battery percentage every 20 minutes. Again I left Wi-Fi, background app refresh and push notifications enabled throughout the test.

Just 20 minutes in, the iPad Pro's battery was at 18 percent. By the end of the first hour, the battery was at 49 percent. The 12W charger took 2 hours to near the 50 percent mark. At just over 2.5 hours, my iPad Pro's battery reached 100 percent.

Thanks, USB 3.0

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the only iOS device equipped with USB 3.0 support for faster data transfers, and now, faster charging. That means the Pro isn't going to see the same charging speed with this fast-charging setup, which is a disappointment.

Of course, the biggest downside to this approach is that the 29W adapter isn't included with the iPad Pro. Depending on length of the cable you purchase, may spend as much as $85, £74 or AU$130 to charge your iPad Pro faster.