Are MacBook Chargers Universal? (Why They’re Not!)


You might have a few old MacBook chargers lying around the house and are wondering If you can use them for a newer MacBook. Apple chargers can be expensive, so before you rush out and buy a new one, keep reading this article.

MacBook chargers are universal, but the laptop you want to charge has to have equal or lower voltage than the charger. If you have an 85W charger for a MacBook Pro, you can use it to charge any MacBook with a lower charge rating like the Air that needs 45W.

You can charge a MacBook Pro(85W) with a 45W MacBook charger, but it only has enough power to charge it in sleep mode. If you’re having issues with your non-Apple charger not working and want to know more about using a 45W instead of 85W and why MacBook chargers are so expensive, please keep reading.

A MacBook is a fantastic machine but you need some additional hardware to make the most out of your device. Get only the best Mac accessories to transform your productivity on Amazon.Opens in a new tab.

Why Does My Non-Apple Charger Not Work?

Apple charging cables and certified accessories are integrated with a chip to tell your Mac or iPhone device it is approved to work well. However, if this chip is fake, it is likely to burn out or even stop working. As a result, your Apple device won’t be able to read the chip.

Most people buy non-Apple chargersOpens in a new tab. for their MacBook computers or iPhones, but are they really safe? According to websites like makeuseoff.Opens in a new tab. many features and components of cheaper non-Apple chargers are not as safe as you might think.

They can be poorly made and have a risk of overheating or giving you an electric shock, if your MacBook gives you electric shocks check our articleOpens in a new tab. on why it happens and how to stop it.

Although these third-party chargers still have some safety features, Apple offers many more features. Remeber that the safety of non-Apple chargers is determined by where it was manufactured and sold. Companies based in the US and UK have higher safety regulations compared to those in China. For that reason, I would advise you to browse Amazon Opens in a new tab.whenever you want to replace your MacBook charger.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how you can tell whether a non-Apple charger is safe or not. Well, it isn’t easy, and that’s why I always believe in buying an official charger directly from Apple. However, if you don’t have a budget for an original Apple charger, you can follow these reliable practices when buying an alternative:

  • If you can, don’t buy from resellers; instead, always buy your chargers from the manufacturer.
  • Only purchase from a trustworthy electronics brand like Wacom or Anker.
  • Don’t go for “too good to be true” deals. For instance, if a Mac charger is only a quarter of what Apple sells, please don’t buy; otherwise, you’ll likely regret it later.

You can see our article hereOpens in a new tab. on the best third-party chargers for your MacBook. I personally bought a charger off eBay for my 2015 MacBook and despite some issues with my cursor disappearing it was fine. Buy from an established brand like AnkerOpens in a new tab. and only pick products with good reviews on Amazon and you will be okay.

Can I Use a 45W Charger Instead Of 85W?

If your laptop requires 85W, it is not safe to use 45W or any power with less wattage than 85W because it can lead to operating issues. But you can use an 85W power adapter if your laptop only requires 45W or 65W.

The difference between 45W and 85W chargers is their charging capacityOpens in a new tab., 85W chargers are used in charging larger machines like MacBook Pros and 45W chargers only in smaller machines like my M1 MacBook Air. Think of voltage as water running through pipes. In one hour a 45W hose pipe can fill 45 buckets, at in that hour a , 85W hose can fill 85 buckets.

 If your original Mac charger broke or got stolen and you would like to replace it with a new one, you’re probably asking yourself which is the right one. You will find contracting information about MacBook chargers, you check the right chargers for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air hereOpens in a new tab..

You’ll notice that all the power adapters for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air vary. The first specification about them is wattage, which can fall between 29W and 87W. Obviously, the higher the wattage, the more power your MacBook will receive.

However, it is important to note that it wouldn’t hurt your Mac if you picked a higher wattage Apple MacBook Pro as long as Apple officially makes it. You need to make your selection carefully because if you go for a charger below what your Mac requires, it might not charge at all. If you’re not sure what percentage you should charge your MacBook Pro, please read our articleOpens in a new tab..

Something else I think you should know when looking for a charger is that MacBook chargers do not fall under the same category size. You and your friend might have a MacBook Air brand, but you do not share the same power cords. You will find four different types of MacBook chargers out there in the market, which include USB-COpens in a new tab., MagSafe2Opens in a new tab., MagSafe “L” shaped, and MagSafe “T” shaped.

These adaptors offer different wattages that your Mac might need, but you must consider factors like screen size, model, and year. If you don’t know these specifications, go to the menu bar on your MacBook and click the apple icon to select “About This Mac”. That option will give you all the information you need to figure out the right charger for your MacBook.

MacBooks are beautiful machines, many users use cases to protect their gorgeous machines, but are cases good for your Mac, and do they cause them to overheat? Learn the facts in our article.Opens in a new tab.

Why Are MacBook Chargers So Expensive?

Apple adds extra components to its chargers, and that’s why you’ll find MacBook chargers are pretty expensive. For instance, the MagSafe charger comes with a 16-bit microprocessor to monitor how the current and voltage is flowing to prevent any damage, making it worth the price. 

Since we all want what’s best for our machines, a safety feature like a microprocessor in MacBook chargers gives us peace of mind. It shuts down anything that seems to go wrong hence preventing things like power surges and dangerous overheating. Therefore, you can rest assured that you and your MacBook Pro are safe from any harm despite the high charger price.

Likewise, the MagSafe connectorOpens in a new tab. has a chip that communicates to the charger’s power, serial number, and type to your MacBook. The chip will let you know whether you’re charging your machine with the right adapter or not. Moreover, it instructs the charger to begin supplying more power when charging.

Aside from that, Mac’s adapters are packed with many more components, including transistors, capacitors, and resistors. Each of these ensures the safety of you and your MacBook by working together. Therefore, don’t be surprised by the high price of MacBook Pro and MacBook chargers because Apple delivers high-quality components and excellent safety features.

Are you still wondering why MagSafe chargers have a higher price than other related products? Well, you need to know that Apple puts a lot of effort into manufacturing, designing, and transporting all its products, hence the need to rack up the price.

Do you buy your Apple products online or at the store, is there a benefit in doing either? Learn the truth in our article.Opens in a new tab.

Want To Keep Your MacBook Battery Heathly?

This article is part of a series on keeping your MacBooks battery in the best condition, want to learn more? See my ultimate guide to MacBook battery health here.Opens in a new tab.

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