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What the Tech: Why USB plug-ins should not be used to charge your phone

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s something most of us do every day, charging our smartphones in the car while we drive.

The bad news is that it doesn’t work. The even worst news, it could harm your phone.

Here’s why.

You leave work and see that your phone is down to five percent. So, you plug it into one of the USB ports. After 30 minutes, you get home, and your phone is only at eight percent.

Why doesn’t it charge faster?

Most USB ports in cars are not phone chargers. They’re inputs to plug your phone or flash drive into the car’s entertainment system to listen to music or use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

With a few exceptions, those don’t provide enough power to charge a phone.

It might not even keep a phone from running down the battery if you’re streaming music. Instead of using those USB ports, pick up an adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter.

These have four to five amps and will charge a phone 10-20 times faster than a USB port.

Here’s something else, stay away from those cheap car chargers you see at gas stations or drug stores.

Those charging cables and plugs aren’t made well. Some even caught fire when left plugged into an outlet.

If you charge your phone in the car, it’s best to use a brand-name charging cable and car charger that fits into the cigarette lighter. The phone’s battery will last longer in the long run.

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