Forget about using older chargers with the Apple Watch 7 if you want fast charging

Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Apple)

One of the big improvements of the Apple Watch 7 is that it charges 33% faster than its predecessor, meaning it can go from an empty battery to one that’s 80% full in just 45 minutes.

But for this speedy charging, it needs the right charger, as Gizmodo has discovered. If you attach the Apple Watch 7 to a previous generation charger, the wearable will top up at the kind of speed you’d expect from its slower predecessors.  

For reference, the Apple Watch 6 can fully charge in an hour and a half: not exactly sloth like, but not blazing fast if you need a top up in a hurry.

This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re careful. As Gizmodo noted, Apple has seen fit to include a fast charger in the box and has also gone ahead and replaced the slow charger with the newer, faster one on its website if you want to buy a spare for the office. 

That said, the cables do look remarkably similar so it’s easy to pick up the wrong one if you’re in a hurry, or indeed to purchase the discontinued one from another vendor by mistake. The key is to look for the connector used: previous generations used USB-A, while the newer ones use the smaller, oval shaped USB-C connector.

Weirdly, you may already have one, even a week before the Apple Watch 7 hits shops. Back in September, MacRumors reported that the cheaper Apple Watch SE now comes with the USB-C fast charger in the box, even though it’s incapable of reaching the speeds that the puck supports. That’s a clear sign that when Apple says that the old charger is discontinued, it really means it: it must just be more cost effective to build one charger, even if it is technologically more advanced. 

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch 7 opened yesterday, and early adopters should have the new wearable on their wrists on October 15. Prices start at $399 for the 41mm model and rise to $429 for the 45mm version. If you want cellular connectivity, you’ll pay an extra premium, with prices starting at $499 and $529 respectively. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.