Android 15 is changing the definition of fast charging — why that matters

Android mascot in a triangle flexing his arms as an android 15 promo
(Image credit: Googlw)

How fast does your phone have to charge to be considered “fast charging”? According to Android, fast charging is anything above 7.5W — which everyone can agree is pretty darn slow. That may have been considered fast a decade ago, but not in 2024. 

Fortunately Android 15 could be rectifying this glaring mistake by changing the definition of what fast charging means — with Android Authority claiming the threshold could instead change to 20W.

Right now Android has three main thresholds for charging. Under 5W the phone screen will declare that your device is “charging slowly”. Over 7.5W means you are now “charging rapidly”, and everything in between is simply boring old “charging”. While we don't know if the slow charging threshold will change, the minimum speed for fast charging should be getting a sizable boost.

The site notes that this change isn’t available in the Android 15 beta just yet. So your beta-laden Pixel phone should stick to the same thresholds until this feature goes live — whenever that may be.

To be honest 20W doesn’t exactly scream “fast” when it comes to phone charging. It’s significantly faster than 7.5W, don’t get me wrong, but when there are phones out there inching towards 100W speeds, 20W doesn’t seem all that impressive.

When there are phones out there inching towards 100W speeds, 20W doesn’t seem all that impressive.

Then again while the likes of the OnePlus 12 might offer up to 80W charging, phones like the Pixel 8 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max top out at 30W. Google would be making itself, and some of the best-selling phones around, look bad by suggesting they can’t fast charge.

Some phone makers have already made this change, with the likes of Xiaomi and Samsung redefining what fast charging is on their phones. The former uses the same 20W threshold as Google for fast charging, while Samsung decided on 25W — the same maximum charging speed as the Galaxy S24.

Google changing the definition of fast charging isn’t going to change the way your phone recharges. Instead it just changes how Android will convey that information to you, the user, and not give you a false impression that your phone is charging quickly when that isn’t the case. 

As to when Android may have to shift those boundaries yet again, I don’t know. But it would rely on the bigger phone companies actually making major improvements to overall charging speed, rather than incremental updates or letting them stay stagnant the way Samsung has. Only time will tell.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.