Can I run my laptop directly from an external battery at full throttle while charging my iPhone from the laptop at the same time? was unilaterally closed by a moderator as a "shopping question" and left the comment:

This is a good example why hardware shopping is off topic here. I’m going to vote to close this. Nothing about this is unique to an apple phone or apple portable. Would the answer change materially if the phone were android and the portable a dell that used USB PD?

Of course the Apple electronic ecosystem is unique, and of course it is more closed than, and works differently than those it's being compared to!

Just for example, there is an exchange of information along the USB and some tests and verifications done before the macBook will accept power. This will be different than what's done for non-Apple products.

My question is short and clear and explains that I want to know if what I want to do will work.

If it should would, then the answer would be "Yes". No discussion of shopping is asked for nor would advice on how to shop be accepted.

I feel that classifying it as "asking to recommend or find a Mac, book, tool, tutorial or other off-site resource" was a bad call, but I'm very interested to hear various other opinions on this, especially those of the other moderators.

So I'd like to ask:

Question: In what way did a moderator decide my "Would X work?" question is a "shopping question"? I think this has been mishandled, what do others think?

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't consider it a shopping question as written, OTOH it's a rather unclear what your actual question is (and depending on the outcome of that discussion it actually would be a shopping question). Do you want to know whether

  • it is possible to charge a Macbook while using said Macbook to charge an iPhone
  • there are external powerpacks big enough to charge both a Macbook and an iPhone
  • something else?

The answer to the first interpretation is most likely a simple YES, but that you actually know already (because you can just plug everything in at home to test that). So it is either the second interpretation (which basically is a shopping question) or something we can't see right now.

  • "it's a rather unclear what your actual question is" There's only one question mark: "Can I run my laptop directly from an external battery at full throttle while charging my iPhone from the laptop at the same time?" Of course I don't know, I don't own a battery. I do know that Apple laptops are fussy about how and from what they will receive power, and this is by design, so it is not intuitively obvious to me at least that laptops will query batteries and say "Yes, I'll have some of that" while running. I would be great if it does, but I'd like some confirmation.
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 14:40
  • I still can't see how you can re-parse "Can I run my laptop directly from an external battery at full throttle while charging my iPhone from the laptop at the same time?" into those other questions. Can you explain how it is not clear? I don't see any wiggle room at all. Either it works or it doesn't.
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 14:41
  • 1
    @uhoh I probably would have put the question on hold for either lacking research or being unclear, because: The only possible answer is "it depends on the battery and your actual power use". How would this help you?
    – nohillside Mod
    Jan 22, 2022 at 14:53
  • Oh that would be an answer I can accept! I absolutely did not ask for help choosing which battery (thus my concern expressed in this meta question) I only asked if it can be done. If it's "Yes", then of course I will be happy and then I will have to do my own homework. And if it's "No" then I will be happy I asked here first and didn't follow solarmike's advice of buying one first just to see what happens. So "...it depends on the battery..." = "Yes" to my question.
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 15:01
  • In a normal SE site someone would have posted "Yes this can work, but note that it depends on the battery" as an answer. But for some reason I find this particular SE site to be profoundly close-happy and condescending. So at the moment I'm sad.
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 15:06
  • @uhoh For me this seems to be answered directly in your question, especially with the "Googling finds plenty of material on units that can recharge a laptop" part.
    – nohillside Mod
    Jan 22, 2022 at 15:06
  • Recharging is not the same as the laptop accepting enough power from a battery to run at full throttle. Recharging can also be done with the laptop turned off, or in sleep mode, right? Maybe the laptop will not accept as much power from a battery as it will from a wall plug for some reason. I simply don't know, which is why I asked the question.
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 15:10

Are you seriously asking a yes / no question?

Of course batteries exist to run an entire house and you can surely find many that fit in a backpack to power 4 macs at once full power.

Whether a unit like this is more hassle to you and more harmful to the planet than you using the integrated battery and draining it to 20% on your train commute is hard to say, but whole companies exist to serve portable power needs.

Your question doesn’t seem asked in good faith to me, but let’s see what others think of it. The comments on your post show how recommendation questions go off the rails and the need for an edit to clarify what you’re trying to do.

If you provide too much detail, people think you are obsessive and argue you shouldn’t do what you attempt. If you provide too little detail, no one can understand what the assignment is.

If you were to clearly document your research and explain why you think you can’t power a specific Mac and remove all side fluff, I would vote to reopen in an instant. That isn’t the question you asked so I placed a temporary hold to hopefully prevent it from getting 30 comments and no answers.

  • Yes, I am seriously asking a yes / no question to which I don't know the answer, and it's very clear from the words in the question that that's what I'm doing. I get the feeling that you are suggesting I am stupid/ignorant because I don't know the answer, and that may suggest you're not wearing your moderator hat in this case. Just because you may not have read and understood "Can I run my laptop directly from an external battery at full throttle while charging my iPhone from the laptop at the same time? " does not mean that nobody could understand it.
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 14:29
  • I propose that you remove your answer-preventing close vote and allow others who may parse "Can I run my laptop directly from an external battery at full throttle while charging my iPhone from the laptop at the same time?" in a more straightforward way to answer it. And if you know that the answer is "Yes" or "No" and can support it, please feel free to answer it as well. Thanks!
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 14:30
  • I’ll reverse my vote - you may be seeing my attempts to help you as hostile, and I assure you it’s not. I’ll let another peer close it if it’s not up to our quality standards.
    – bmike Mod
    Jan 22, 2022 at 14:32
  • Thank you! In many SE sites if users feel a question might not be up to quality standards users will first post helpful comments suggesting ways the question can be improved. I know there are still a few SE sites where silent close voting is still the norm, it takes a while for some to learn to think different. :-)
    – uhoh
    Jan 22, 2022 at 14:35

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