What charger do MacBooks ship with? Apple's plug options explained

It's not so simple: the MacBook Air M2 has three plug options, but why and which should you pick or buy?

Apple MacBook Air M2 2022 review
(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

It used to be so simple: you bought the best MacBook for you and it came with a charger. Job done. But times have changed and so have Apple's options for the charger types available, depending on the MacBook you buy.

But why are there multiple charger options? Most simply put it's all down to charging speed. The associated wattage rating, i.e. 30W, will give you an indication of how quickly such a system can charge a Mac laptop's battery. The bigger the number the faster the speed. 

But it's not quite as simple as that: there are additional features, too, while Apple also ships MagSafe 3 (2021 MacBook Pro M1 14- and 16-inch, 2022 MacBook Air M2) and USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 (2022 MacBook Pro M2 13-inch, 2020 MacBook Air M1) charging functionality for different products. 

Here's a breakdown of what Apple charger ship with which products, what the means, and what you can buy instead: 

MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air M2 2022 review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Buy a 2022 MacBook Air M2 and and its base spec ships with a 30W charger. That'll take around 2.5 hours to fully recharge the system, so it's not very speedy. 

If you opt for the step up Air M2 (10 core GPU and increased storage), however, you'll see it comes with a 35W charger (as pictured above). Not a massive increase, but you'll get a full charge at just over the 2 hour mark. You can add this to the base Air M2 for £30/$20 if you want instead. 

More interestingly with this 35W charger, however, is that it features two USB-C ports. This means you can charge two products simultaneously at this rate, should you want to plug an additional gadget into the socket. 

Then there's a third option for a 67W charger, as the M2 Air is the first time this series has been compatible with faster charging. I'd opt for this one all day long, as it's also £30/$20 extra, or a freebie for the step-up model. A no-brainer, as you can do 50% top-ups in just 30 minutes at the plug. 

However, it doesn't stop there! You can also invest in faster still options, with sold-separately 96W (£/$79) and 140W (£/$99) options also compatible with the Air M2 – check out the widget below for up-to-the-minute pricing. If you need quick top-ups and are on the move all the time, then that extra tonne of cost is actually probably worth it, as it's four times speedier than the default plug in the box. 

MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Air M2 2022 review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Being 'Pro' means this line-up receives even faster charging options: the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 features a 67W charger in the box, which given its relatively small 58Whr battery capacity means the quickest charging potential in this range. 

If you're opting for the more up-to-date designs of the 2021 MacBook Pro 14-inch or 16-inch then you'll also get a 67W charger in the box (unless you're opting for the M1 Pro 10 core GPU or M1 Max options, in which case you'll get the 96W charger as standard). 

You don't get at-checkout options to pick anything else, however, it's that or sold-separately options – and the 96W and 140W options are compatible and potentially savvy options if you're looking for quick top-ups. Especially as these Pro models have larger battery capacities than the 13-inch model, given their scales. 

Mike Lowe
Mike Lowe

Tech Editor at T3, Mike handles all things tech – from phones, tablets and laptops, to gaming and computing. He's been working as a consumer technology journalist for the best part of 15 years, previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, and has provided freelance work to publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more over the years. In addition to his tech expertise, Mike is also a bit of a travel fiend, having travelled the globe extensively for both personal and work-related pursuits. You'll always find him setting up a new mobile phone, or critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next get-away.