How to Charge Your Phone Without a Charger

Some easy—and surprising—ways to give your phone a boost

What to Know

  • Plug a USB or phone-compatible cable into a USB port in an airport, coffee shop, the base of a hotel lamp, or a laptop.
  • Charge a portable battery pack before you leave home and use it to charge your phone.
  • Look in your car for a USB port. If you find one, start the car and connect the phone.

This article explains several ways to charge your phone if you don't have a phone charger, including using a hand-crank charger or a solar charger. All of these methods require either a charging cable that's compatible with your iPhone or Android device or a wireless charging pad.

Use a USB Port to Charge Your Phone

For this process, you need a charging cable that is compatible with your phone. You can plug your phone into your laptop for a quick charge or find alternate USB ports that can do the job.

  1. Most USB ports found in airports and some coffee shops provide enough power to charge a standard smartphone. Keep in mind that some hotels have USB ports built into lamps and bedside tables. They are usually all of the USB-A shape, which is the rectangle end of the cable you usually use to charge your phone.

  2. Plug the USB end of the charging cable into the USB port.

  3. Plug the other end into your phone. 

Woman connecting USB phone cable to laptop for charging
Westend61 / Getty Images

Charge Your Phone With a Battery Pack

You’ll need to do a little advance planning to use this method. 

  1. All modern battery packs can supply enough power to charge your smartphone, although not all of them may support fast charging (even if your phone does).

  2. Charge your battery pack in advance and remember to take it with you when you won’t have access to your regular phone charger (or simply carry it with you at all times).

  3. Each battery pack will be slightly different, but typically all you need to do is to plug the charging cable into it and into your phone and turn it on. 

Phone charging on battery pack
Vladimir Sukhachev / Getty Images 

Hand-Crank Chargers for Emergency Phone Charges

The beauty of a hand-crank charger is that it doesn’t require any electrical power at all, making it a great choice for outdoor adventures or emergencies

  1. Plug your charging cable into the charger and into your phone, and keep cranking until you get a usable charge. 

  2. Keep in mind it may take some time before you get a usable charge. Some hand-crank models have batteries built in, so you could charge the battery and then use the battery to charge your phone.

Hand-crank charger
PXHere

Use an Eco-Friendly Solar-Powered Charger

Another great choice for outdoor adventures, a solar-powered charger only requires sunlight to run. Solar chargers typically work in one of two ways: Sunlight charges a battery in the unit, which is then used to charge the phone or the solar charger charges the phone directly.

  1. Set up the charger to collect sunlight, or place it on your backpack to charge it while hiking.

  2. Plug your charging cable into the charger and into your phone.

An iPhone charging via solar power
rico.pulido08 / Twenty20

Charge Your Phone With a Car Charger

Most modern vehicles have USB ports that you can use for charging mobile devices. If not, you can buy an adapter that plugs into the lighter port

  1. Start your car or turn it in to accessory mode.

  2. Plug one end of your charging cable into the car’s USB port or adapter and the other end into your phone.

Phone charging ports in car
Marin Tomas / Getty Images

Use a Wireless Charger for Easy Charging

If your smartphone works with wireless charging, you don't have to do anything other than place your phone on the charging pad.

The urban myth that you can use fruit to charge your phone is technically true, but requires a LOT of fruit and additional equipment. Therefore, it is impractical and not recommended. 

Phone on wireless phone charger
photo / Getty Images
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