How to quick-charge an iPhone or iPad

(MoneyWatch) One of the most frustrating consequences of using the newest iPad is that it charges fairly slowly in an AC outlet. And when connected to your PC via USB, it doesn't charge at all.

That's one of life's annoyances you can now write off, because I've found a free application that -- seemingly magically -- speeds up iOS device charging via USB in general and also lets you charge your new, previously unchargeable iPad that way.

I've written on many occasions that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is -- and indeed, that rule of thumb will generally protect you from malware. But in this case, it's OK to suspend disbelief because this app genuinely works. My good friend Rick Broida over at PC World recently turned me on to this solution, and I've independently verified that it does what it claims to do.

The ASUS Ai Charger is a small utility that installs itself into your PC's notification area and waits silently for you to plug in an iPhone or iPad. In my testing, my iPhone charged in roughly half the time it usually does while connected to USB. Meanwhile, that my iPad charged at all while connected to my PC I'll just call a miracle.

I don't know the engineering behind how this app can apparently change the amperage of the USB port, but ASUS claims it's completely safe, and indeed I've been using it for days without any side effects.

As my dad used to say, sometimes it's the little victories that are the most satisfying. In this case, being able to charge my iPhone quickly, and iPad at all, without AC adapters is a great convenience both at home and while traveling.

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