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Is Qi Wireless Charging the iPhone 15’s Secret Superpower?
In mid-September, Apple announced that the company’s latest iPhone models, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, will be equipped with the latest Qi2 magnetic wireless charging standard. Qi2 is the second generation of the Qi wireless charging standard which is much more aligned with Apple’s MagSafe technology. This is a huge announcement for Apple because, while they have not been officially Qi certified just yet, they will be the first company to roll out this magnetic wireless charging improvement. But, before we get into the details surrounding why this announcement is receiving so much fanfare, here’s a quickie summary of Qi charging and why people love it.
What is Qi Charging?
Qi charging is “wireless” charging that has been around since 2008. The idea behind this method of tech device charging is that while you still need a cord to plug the charger into the wall, the actual charging does not require an ancillary cord. The goal behind Qi charging is to deliver a universal charge to smartphones and other electronic devices without the need for multiple charging cords to connect the device to the charging station.
While Qi charging has become incredibly popular, the wireless charging system has not been perfect. One major user complaint has been charging speed: Qi charging speed has, for some time now, been about half as fast as its “wired” predecessor. Of course, if a person only needs a little charge to get by, the Qi charging device is not a problem. However, this speed can be problematic for those of us who are trying to adopt a strictly Qi charging life.
Another major user issue with the Qi system has been compatibility and connectivity (so actually two more issues). Though Qi charging has maintained an eventual goal for universal charging, the reality has not quite been realized. Raise your hand if you have upgraded any of your devices in the last few years and found that the new model has an entirely different charging system that 1. you have to also buy and 2. try to not lose to the endless pile of cables you refuse to throw away, ya know, just in case.
Furthermore, the lock-in technology of a standard Qi charger has left much room for connectivity improvement. There have been many-a-Reddit thread about a Qi user who has placed their smartphone onto the charging magnet at night, only to find themselves still on 2% battery life in the morning. The placement has, historically, required brain surgeon level precision to ensure that the device is properly aligned with the charging coils. And, it’s a busy world. Many people get frustrated when they have to continually move their phone around on the charger to lock in charging (and heaven forbid you sneeze before you take your hand off of your device). This not exactly perfect lock-in connectivity has also been problematic for maintaining a phone’s battery life and functionality. If the phone is improperly aligned with the charging device, then the battery capability can be compromised, if not completely destroyed, over time. And, in the tech world, battery life IS life. Once the battery of any device starts to drain to 50% during just one Tik Tok escapade, you know your phone is toast – and so is your trade-in value.
Apple addressed many Qi charging concerns with its release of the MagSafe line of iPhones in 2020. By building wireless charging capability directly into every iPhone model starting with iPhone 12, Apple’s MagSafe line of products increased wireless charging speed by quite a bit. And, because of Apple’s magnetic lock technology, precise placement between a MagSafe phone and charger is ensured with a click. You can read more about all of the pros and cons to the MagSafe suite here.
In standard Apple form, however, there is always room for improvement. So Apple worked with the Wireless Power Consortium to align their MagSafe technology with the latest version of Qi. Enter Qi2....
Faster Charging Speed
Qi2 is reported to deliver a charging speed of up to 15W. This means almost nothing to most of us, so for context, wired charging speed is roughly 20W and previous Qi charging models have been working at 7.5W-10W speed. Obviously, the higher the number, the less time you have to keep your phone connected.
Improved Magnets and Alignment
Apple’s Magsafe line already includes a pretty easy user experience because of their magnetic technology. While we don’t yet know if Apple’s use of Qi2 charging in iPhone 15 will mean larger compatibility with non-MagSafe devices, it is clear that Qi2 will have the same magnetic strength and capability as Apple’s current line. This will make for a vast improvement for wireless charging across devices that are not MagSafe and, hopefully, create a tech space that allows for one charging system across multiple different products.
Power. More Power.
Qi2 has a much higher power output which allows for a much more versatile charging capability. This means that a Qi2 charging device will have the ability to charge not only smartphones, but also tablets, laptops, and VR headsets. Some sources have reported that Qi2 will eventually have charging capabilities for an electric vehicle, but we will be happy with laptops for now.
This charging capability is huge for improving user experience because one wireless charging station will not only cut costs, clutter, and lost cords for the Qi2 consumer, but it also helps with regards to sustainability. Less charging paraphernalia means less waste when the current devices eventually become obsolete.
It sounds weird, but this is huge for anyone who upgrades their technology often. As previously mentioned, every other new model of a tech product includes a new charging system that is not compatible with any other product or any prior model. Backward capability means that anything built with Qi2 can still charge on Qi1. This will ensure a much smoother transition and reduce the need for everyone to buy an entire new line of (generally expensive) products all at once.
More efficient power and alignment capabilities means more heat is produced during charging. We want the faster charge, but not at the expense of wear and tear on the device’s battery. This improved heat regulation feature is pretty cool because once the device reaches a certain internal temperature, the charging mechanism (which can apparently read minds) will drop the power level so that the battery remains safe and cozy.
Qi2 is reportedly equipped with enhanced foreign object detection. With the ability to recognize and reject objects that are not equipped with Qi charging capability, the likelihood of user-related damage, fire, and electrical issues is significantly reduced.
Phone cases that are Qi2 compatible are designed to allow wireless charging without the need to remove the case. These cases are specifically engineered to be thin and made of materials that do not interfere with the transmission of the Qi2 charging signal. They have precise cutouts for the charging coil and other necessary components, ensuring that the phone is properly aligned with the wireless charging pad. Qi2 compatible phone cases provide convenience and ease of use, allowing users to charge their iPhones without the hassle of constantly removing and reattaching the case. We feel a phone case with charge-through capabilities is crucial to anyone who is in a hurry, charging on the go, or really likes keeping their claw-nail manicure looking, ahem, sharp. Additionally, these cases offer protection for the phone while still maintaining the functionality of wireless charging. All around win.
Obviously, we make these incredible cases. And, they also happen to be beautiful and full of personality. Shop the future of wireless charging here.