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MagSafe, but not USB-C? MacBook Pro fast charging plot thickens

Monday’s MacBook Pro M1 Pro/Max launch introduced two welcome charging features: The return of the much-missed MagSafe connector alongside USB-C and the introduction of super-fast charging.

Following the launch, it wasn’t really clear whether this fast charging option – which promises to bring a 50% recharge to the battery in just half an hour – would be available on both MagSafe and USB-C, via one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Following the event, we contacted an Apple media representative in the hope of getting to the bottom of it, with no reply. Now, a new report seems to have gone some way to answering the question, although not definitively.

Apparently, there will not be support for fast charging via the USB-C ports, at least yet. That’s because the cables needed to support the required USB PD 3.1 EPR standard aren’t available yet.

According to a Reddit post (via 9to5Mac) from a USB-C engineer, Benson Leung, reveals that while the charging brick itself may carry the necessary support, there are yet to be USB-C to USB-C cables in existence supporting USB PD 3.1 EPR.

“Apple was instrumental at proposing the 28V, 36V, and 48V new voltages levels to USB’s working groups, so it would make sense that they were planning on releasing the first implementation,” he writes. “There are yet to be a C-to-C cable rated at EPR levels though. Apple’s using some proprietary cable to MagSafe.”

Once those cables arrive, it’s possible that so will support for fast charging via USB-C. We just don’t know yet.

Jason Snell of the Six Colors blog also pointed out a “quirk” about the 16-inch MacBook Pro USB-C ports required to the support the fastest charging speeds are absent.

He writes: “…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.”

While this isn’t the biggest deal in the world, considering the MagSafe cable will indeed ship with the MacBook Pro, it would be nice to have both solutions available. We’ll continue to seek clarification from Apple on this matter.

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