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The MacBook represents Apple’s contribution to the world of notebook computers. Typically, a notebook is a bit smaller than a regular laptop. As a result, it may have smaller components inside, and it is something that most developers sell as a computer for anyone who needs to do light work and have a portable laptop that isn’t too heavy.

That doesn’t mean that the MacBook Air or its Pro cousin aren’t capable of some of the more resource-intensive tasks you might have in mind, though. Despite the relatively compact size of the MacBook, some users notice that the chargers tend to look much physically larger than they might expect. There are other things that seem to be exclusive to MacBook chargers, and many owners of Apple products may wonder about the answers to some of these mysteries.

In today’s article, we will touch on why MacBook chargers are the size that they are. We’ll also discuss some of the functions of the charger’s form, including why you can take some of it apart.

In learning more about how MacBook chargers work, we’ll also do our best to offer some insights into how Apple prices their accessories, and we can talk about whether it might be possible to use chargers for smaller devices as a way to power your MacBook’s battery. Before we wrap up, we’ll explore the relationship between Apple products and accessories that the company doesn’t manufacture.

Why Are MacBook Chargers So Big?

There could be multiple factors that contribute to the size of the charger, but it is one of the main accessories that most people will probably carry around with them when they are away from home with their MacBooks. Because of this, some Apple product owners might wonder if the charger really needs to be the size that it is.

Before we dig deeper into this part of the topic, we should note that other companies may use chargers that are the same size or larger than the one you have with your MacBook. The precise size of your charger can depend on the specific make or model that you get, but we can make some guesses as to why companies put them in the form factors that they do.

Although there may be more reasons, we can find three major things that might contribute to the size of a laptop’s charger. These things tend to be as true for any kind of laptop as they do for MacBooks, but we will focus on the latter. Here are some of the main factors that computer manufactures consider when it comes to charger sizes:

1. Any charger needs to convert AC power to the DC input that a computer uses. Special circuits inside the charger help it to do just this, and it is one of the most important aspects of the accessory.

Without this conversion, the computer will not work, or the components could experience an overload. In either case, developers need to optimize that circuitry, and it has to fit inside the charger casing. All of this could increase the case size for the charger.

2. There is an element of heat dissipation that each charger must handle. For the most part, manufacturers will design chargers to the size they need to be in order to handle the electrical power that flows through the charger as the conversion process is happening.

3. The form factor for the plug part of the charger itself can influence its size. In fact, there are some plugs that might be wider than the rest of the body of the charger at the front. This sort of design can give users the impression that the charger is somehow bulkier than it should be.

None of this means that MacBook chargers are not bigger than some of their cousins, but it sheds some light on why particular chargers from certain brands do need to be bigger.

Most manufacturers are not in the habit of making their devices or accessories with extra materials or space that consumers will not use, and the chargers are no exception. They have the bulk and dimensions they need in order to fit the parts inside properly.

Furthermore, if you compare some of the different versions of the MacBook over the years, you may find that their chargers are even larger than the ones you might use currently.

Why Does the Apple MacBook Charger Come Apart?

Most chargers on the market today consist of a cord with a connector at one end that you can put in the appropriate port in your laptop. The other end contains the power adapter and a plug that goes into your standard wall outlet.

Although these are technically two parts, they need to work with each other in order to charge the laptop’s battery safely. Therefore, they don’t usually come apart. However, the MacBook charger does have a specific two-piece design that Apple intends for you to take apart when necessary.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, if you have a charger with MagSafe technology, Apple designs this part of the plug to detach from the main charger block easily. MagSafe, as the name suggests, uses a magnet to attach the plug to your laptop.

The breakaway design of this part of the plug is something that the company probably intends for you to use as a safety feature. If you trip over or yank the plug hard, this part of it will detach. This mechanism can save your cord from damage, and it could prevent you from pulling the entire laptop to the floor.

The other reason has to do with making the MacBook charger more flexible. There is a corner portion of the adapter block that you can take apart. If you do this, Apple gives you the option to switch things up by attaching an extension cord.

This move would allow you to extend the reach of your laptop while keeping it plugged in, giving you more room to move it around while it is charging. You can also use this same section of the adapter to make the apparatus compatible with a wall plug that is different from the one in your own country.

Why Are MacBook Chargers So Expensive?

Part of this answer might be relative to the budget of the individual, but there are some Apple product consumers who may see the price of the company’s accessories as a bit high. Part of Apple’s pricing for these items has to do with inventory.

Apple stores and retail locations must stock official parts that they can use to service devices that holders of AppleCare may want a technician to repair. Additionally, these locations will sell items off the shelf, and they need to have a good stock of compatible accessories to meet the demands of the customer.

While some of this is true for any manufacturer of similar products, it seems that Apple tries to make sure that all of its locations maintain reasonable stocks of goods for the benefit of many customers at once.

While the discussion around build quality is something many people might debate, it is also true that Apple tends to create its devices and accessories in ways that make the standards quite rigorous.

Better materials should result in longer use for each accessory you buy, so you may pay more up front for this kind of thing. Generally, the company may use things like improved insulation to protect the components, or it may have other techniques that go into the manufacturing process to put it ahead of other brands.

Finally, branding itself may have something to do with it. Apple has spent decades building a brand with both imagery and wording that many consumers associate only with a single company. The guarantees and warranties one gets along with their products can be enticing, too.

Although you can find other major names in the same field that also build quality products, it is also true that Apple’s branding has made sure that it stands out as one of the big tech companies that signals quality.

35481800 Mobile phone charger on blue background

Can You Charge the MacBook With a Smaller Charger Like One for iPhones?

It may be possible for you to do this, but the charger will need to meet the specifications for the job. With smaller phone chargers, the wattage they deliver may not be enough to accommodate the laptop computer.

Furthermore, if you do find that a phone charger that is compatible with the MacBook will work, you may need to make sure the computer is off or sleeping while it is charging. Otherwise, it is possible that the battery will discharge too quickly for the smaller phone charger to keep up with it.

Is It OK To Use a Non-Apple Charger for a MacBook?

Yes, you can use a different manufacturer’s charger with a MacBook. However, this depends on both the charger you choose and the type of MacBook you are using.

If the MacBook has MagSafe technology, as many do, it may be risky to use a different kind of charger for it. Even if you do have a MacBook that should accept a regular charger, you must make sure that it has the same ratings and certifications as the official Apple chargers.

If you get anything that has different specifications, it may not work, or it could cause damage to your computer.


MacBooks are lightweight yet powerful laptops that Apple developed using the characteristic quality and branding that the company’s fans expect.

The chargers for these devices are no exception, and they include several useful features that set them apart from other kinds of adapters you find on the market. They can seem a bit expensive to some consumers, but they make up for that with advanced circuitry and flexibility.