Can you use a 60W/61W USB-C Charger on your 15-inch MacBook Pro that requires 85W/87W of power?

tl;dr Yes.

There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to using a lower wattage charger to power or charge devices that draws a higher wattage. Some people claim it will fry your charger, others say it will fry your device. The trouble is that there is little authoritative guidance from Apple. Ask ten Apple Geniuses and you will get ten different answers.

Conventionally, it is OK to use a higher wattage charger to power a device that draws a lower wattage (e.g. using a 87W charger to charge a MacBook 12-inch that typically draws 29W), but not the other way around.

However, when it comes to USB-C, is there any difference? I recently got hold of the LG 27UD88. It is a nice 4K monitor that comes with USB-C connectivity. The neat thing about USB-C is that it can deliver video, data and even power over a single cable.

The 27UD88 supplies up to 60W of power, which can power and charge my 29W 12-inch MacBook without issue. However, my wife’s 15-inch MacBook Pro draws up to 85W of power and typically uses a 87W charger.

Since power delivery is not something that I can disable, I was worried something bad may happen when using the 15-inch MBP with the monitor.

It turns out though, Apple has given official guidance on using lower wattage USB-C charger to power the 15-inch MBP.

When Apple launched the MacBook Pro, they also collaborated with LG to launch two pricey monitors—the LG UltraFine 4K and 5K Display.

The 5K Display delivers 85W of power, but the 4K display only delivers 60W of power, like the 27UD88 that I’ve purchased. Since these monitors have been officially endorsed by Apple for use with the new MacBooks, I wondered what Apple had to say about using the LG UltraFine 4K with the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

According to Apple’s support document on the LG UltraFine 4K Display:

The LG UltraFine 4K Display provides up to 60W of power over USB-C and can fully power these Mac models using the included USB-C cable:

  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016 and later)
  • MacBook (2015 and later)

The UltraFine 4K won’t fully power 15-inch MacBook Pro from 2016 and later, which requires 85W. If you try to power your 15-inch MacBook Pro through the display, your notebook’s battery will be utilized during times of heavy activity. To fully power your MacBook Pro and charge its battery, connect your 15-inch MacBook Pro to its Apple 87W USB-C power adapter when you use it with the UltraFine 4K.

So in short, you may experience your battery draining when using the 15-inch MacBook Pro with the LG 27UD88, but it won’t fry your MacBook Pro or the monitor.

I’d extrapolate that to say that it is OK to use the lower wattage 61W USB-C charger on your 15-inch MacBook Pro as well. If you have to, that is.

Being First

Apple users are ordering more iPhones than they need. Not because they need one in each pocket, but because they want to resell the phones for profit.

Android users too are rushing to pre-order the new iPhones 6. Not because they’re switching to Apple, but because they too know that they can turn a profit by reselling these phones.

Recently, my friend told me about how people are offering to buy the new iPhones 6 at a premium over Apple’s prices.

These buyers offer the highest prices for your iPhones 6 on launch day. Then, the offer price decreases with each passing day. How strange it is that the same, exact iPhone 6 is worth a few hundred dollars more than it will be a week later.

When you think about it, it’s crazy that an entire market can not only exist, but thrive, by preying on consumers’ desire to be the first to own something.

I too tried to pre-order the iPhone 6, but to no avail because of problems with my telco’s system.

Hundreds of pages of forum posts have spawned discussing the availability of (or more like the lack of) the new iPhones.

In them, angry customers have rubbished the telco and its staff, and spewed expletives at them.

When you think about it, it’s crazy that we’re losing sleep, losing cool, just because we’re getting the phones a few days later than others.

Locking focus and exposure on iOS5’s camera

Since the iPhone 3GS, you could tap on any part of the image in the Camera app to lock focus and exposure. The exposure and focus however shifts as you recompose your image.

New in iOS5, you can finally lock focus and exposure on a spot and keep it locked even as you recompose the frame. But it’s not entirely easy to figure out how.

Tap and hold on the spot for 2s until the focus box animates. The words ‘AE/AF Lock’ appears at the bottom of the screen as you let go of your finger.

Starting Objective-C for iOS development

Some people have been curious as to what are the resources that I’ve used to pick up Objective-C in a relatively short amount of time (about 3 months, including the time taken to develop and ship the first release of Due in September 2010). There are two books have been indispensable in my learning that I’d recommend to anyone picking up iOS development:

Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (3rd Edition) by Stephen G. Kochan

Best introduction to Objective-C. Mostly command-line (so it can be quite boring), but that takes away the distraction from learning the language as the learning curve is really steep (mostly in memory management). If you’ve some programming background, you don’t need to go through the entire book, and you’ll know which to skip.

iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition)

This runs you through the graphical user interface development (the fun part) on the iPhone. But I really recommend to start with Kochan’s book first as the language learning curve is steep. Having the GUI stuff coming in can be even more confusing for someone new to programming or Objective-C.

Updated both title and and links with newer 2011 editions.

Bragging about stuff that doesn’t matter

Joshua Topolsky for Engadget:

In a post-PC world, the experience of the product is central and significant above all else. It’s not the RAM or CPU speed, screen resolution or number of ports which dictate whether a product is valuable; it becomes purely about the experience of using the device.

Ever notice it’s always the anti-Apple and pro-Samsung/HTC/Android/Nokia friends always bragging about RAM, CPU, etc? Stuff that don’t matter, basically.

Numbers and Opt+Arrow Keys

Numbers hijack the Option+Arrow Keys by default

Numbers hijack the Option+Arrow Keys by default

If there’s a set of keyboard shortcuts you absolutely must know, it is the Command (⌘) + Arrow Keys and the Option (⌥) + Arrow Keys.

They are bread and butter when it comes to writing and editing long documents on the Mac, because they allow you to move your text insertion point (caret) around the document in a flash.

If you’re unfamiliar with them, here’s a description of what they do:

  • ⌘ + ←: moves caret to the start of the sentence
  • ⌘ + →: moves caret to the end of the sentence
  • ⌘ + ↑: moves caret to the start of the document/text box
  • ⌘ + ↓: moves caret to the end of the document/text box
  • ⌥ + ←: moves caret one word before
  • ⌥ + →: moves caret one word after

If you add the Shit Key to them (⇧), you could select say the last three words you were typing in record speed by holding down ⇧+⌥ and hitting ← three times. Select whole sentence from the end? ⇧ + ⌘ + ←

No more aiming your mouse cursor at the correct alphabet, clicking and dragging. Your hands will always be on the keyboard. Sounds good?

Now, most self-respecting Mac apps support this form of editing. Even your iPhone and iPad support all these shortcuts when you hook up your Bluetooth keyboard to it.

The problem comes in Numbers, the Excel equivalent made by Apple. By default, ⌥ + ← and ⌥ + → are mapped to insert new column to the left and right respectively.

As you can imagine, trying to move between words ends up inserting new columns (horrors), and that basically makes editing Numbers document super painful.

Fixing the Add Column on Opt+Arrow Key Problem

Fixing the Add Column on Opt+Arrow Key Problem

Thankfully, you can change all that easily on the Mac by mapping the add-columns shortcuts to another set of keys from within System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Since I don’t really need to add columns as frequently as I need to move around various parts of the spreadsheet quickly, I’ve since mapped them to a more obscure key combination involving Control (^) + Option (⌥) + Command (⌘) + Arrow key.

This restores my sanity when it comes to editing Numbers document, which I’ve been working on a lot when collaborating with my translators for my iPhone reminder app—Due.

The new iMac 27″ display

This is the 27″ iMac display. Check out how little adjustment is needed out of box and the gamut.

The New iMac 27-inch Display

The New iMac 27-inch Display