Is your Mac or iPhone charger an energy vampire?

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Don't worry. This isn't a vampire.
Don't worry. This isn't a vampire.
Photo: Hildgrim/Flickr CC

If you’re environmentally conscious at all, or if you’re just trying to save a few pennies on your electricity bill, you’re probably aware that a lot of gadgets suck up a surprising amount of energy when in standby mode.

Consequently, many people suggest that you should totally unplug these “energy vampires” when they’re not in use … but how seriously should you take that? Should you be totally unplugging your MacBook charger, or your iPad charger, when it’s not in use?

Tiny charger taps AA batteries to keep your phone running

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Modern mobile phones need a lot of power; chances are we’ve all got an external battery pack (or at least a second cable and wall plug) tucked away in a bag somewhere that will charge up our Android and iOS mobile phones while we’re on the run.

The thing is, those things need to be taken along with you when you leave the house. If you’re like me, though, that requires a heck of a lot of cognitive overhead and pre-planning.

The whole point of the Nipper, this tiny new mobile phone charger that uses two AA batteries to give you a bit of juice when needed, is to always be available.

These designer jeans keep your iPhone charged on the go

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Joe's #Hello jeans boast a discreet iPhone charger.
Joe's #Hello jeans boast a discreet iPhone charger.
Photo: Joe's Jeans

Keeping your iPhone charged on the go can be a hassle. You have to bring an extra Lightning cable and a big bulk battery just to keep yourself plugged into your texts, phone calls and all the happenings on social media. But one creative clothing manufacturer has come up with a clever solution that puts a charger in your pants.

This killer trick will charge your iPhone 6 in half the time

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Photo: Apple

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest iPhones yet. But that comes with a drawback: Since they have bigger batteries than any iPhone ever, they also take longer to charge.

But here’s a killer trick. You can use a 12-watt iPad charger to juice up the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in half the time when compared to the 5-watt iPhone charger your device ships with by default.

A video first look at Apple’s new iPhone charger and fully reversible Lightning cable

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Over the past week, two new leaks from abroad have given us new details about what accessories will be coming with the iPhone 6. The first leak suggested that the iPhone 6 would ship with a Lightning cable with a fully reversible USB plug; the second leak — which came just this morning — suggested that the iPhone charger was also getting a redesign.

We now have video of both the new fully reversible Lightning cable and the new iPhone 6 charger in action. They look great, but unfortunately, there’s at least one disappointment: while the charger will indeed ship with the iPhone 6, our source says that USB Lightning cable won’t be available until next year.

The NomadPlus turns your iPhone charger into a battery pack

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nomadplus

When you hit the road, you take your iPhone charger. If you’re hitting the road for a long time, you might also take a portable battery along with it.

So redundant. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for you to roll up your charger and your portable battery pack into a single device? Now, thanks to Nomad, there is, and it’s so ingenious, I can’t believe that Apple hasn’t done this themselves.

See if your iPad charger is a fake before you burn down your house

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Can you spot the real iPad charger?

You probably don’t waste much thought on where to plug-in your iPhone, but not using a real Apple charger has its disadvantages. Not only are they higher quality, and safer, but they also charge faster than a 5W Chinese knockoff.

Millions of cheap Apple copycats make it difficult to tell whether a charger is the genuine article and have been blamed on everything from iPad explosions to spontaneous electrocutions, but thanks to a teardown comparison from Ken Shirriff there’s one little flaw to look for that gives the dangerous fakers away.

Just look for the signature.

Finally, a portable battery designed for the MacBook

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What if you had a Mophie-like battery pack for your MacBook? Available for preorder now, the BatteryBox is exactly that.

The box itself is about the length of a credit card and packs a whopping 12,000mAh battery. That equates to about 12 hours of extra juice for the MacBook Air and 6 hours for the Pro. The BatteryBox can charge any device over USB, and it has its own MagSafe2 connector.