Apple’s new 2021 MacBook Pro models feature a new MagSafe 3 port which will support fast charging, allowing it to charge 50% in just 30 minutes. Apple announced during its launch event that users will still be able to charge using any of the three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, however, the company did not specify whether they will also support fast charging. As per new details, it seems that fast charging will work with both MagSafe and USB-C ports on a 16-inch MacBook Pro.
A new USB-C standard for Power delivery, called USB PD 3.1 Extended Power Range (EPR), allows for charging speeds up to 240W. There were conflicting reports as to whether the new MacBook Pro supports this standard, as not supporting it would mean that fast charging via USB-C port would only be limited to the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
Fast charging a 16-inch MacBook Pro over USB-C
As per Jason Snell, the 14-inch models feature a 96W USB-C power adapter which will allow them to be fast charged via the MagSafe port or USB-C port. However, for the 16-inch model, fast charging will only be supported via MagSafe. This is apparently due to a lack of support in the Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports that will not support the charging speed provided by the 140W power adapter.
(Here’s a quirk of the new MacBook Pros. On the 14-inch models, the larger 96W USB-C power adapter is required for fast charging. You can fast charge either via MagSafe or via a standard USB-C cable attached to that adapter. However, on the 16-inch models—all of which come with a 140W adapter—you can only do ultra-fast charging via MagSafe. While there’s a new specification that allows for much higher power delivery levels over USB ports, the Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports on the MacBook Pro don’t support it. You can still charge via those ports, of course—just not at the ultra-fastest speed.)
As noticed by MacRumors, USB-C engineer Benson Leung said on Reddit that the USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable might be EPR rated, which is why it supports fast charging, however, using any other USB-C to USB-C cable might not work since there are not any such EPR rated cables available yet.
I’m betting on it not being a special mode, and this is just EPR.
My guess is that C-to-MagSafe3 cable is the ONLY EPR rated thing in the world right now you can buy, but it remains a good question what will happen if a C-to-C cable rated at 240W is used.
Stephen Shankland from CNET also covered this and said that the new MacBook Pro models support USB PD 3.1, which means that theoretically, when EPR rated cables are available, they could be used for fast charging.
If you are buying one of the new MacBook Pro models, make sure that you buy a 96W fast charger during checkout, which costs $20 extra, as the 67W USB-C charger that ships with the base M1 Pro MacBook will not support fast charging.
Update: Apple has posted a new support page in which it has explained how you can fast charge the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. Here are the details:
16-inch MacBook Pro
Fast charge is only possible with a 140W USB-C Power adapter while using a USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable. This means that you cannot use any of the USB-C ports to fast charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro.
14-inch MacBook Pro
The 14-inch MacBook Pro can be fast charged using the following:
- USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable with a 96W or 140W USB-C Power Adapter
- USB-C charge with a 96W USB-C Power Adapter, Pro Display XDR + Thunderbolt 3 cable, or an external display with 94W power delivery + Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C cable