Wireless charging comes in a ton of different shapes and sizes, from base mats that charge your phone flat, mounts that let you prop up your phone, or multi-device chargers that will power other devices like your Apple Watch or AirPods in addition to your iPhone. But not all iPhones support wireless charging, so let’s take a look at which ones do.
When it comes to wireless charging, Apple wasn’t the first on the scene. Android handsets adopted the technology long before Apple implemented it in their phones. Apple isn’t the best here either – years later, iPhones still have the slowest “fast wireless charging” on the market, capped at 7.5W. There is one exception, but we have it. will explore a bit later.
What is wireless charging?
Wireless charging uses electromagnetic induction to charge your phone. To keep it simple, there is a coil which is usually copper or silver-plated aluminum in both your phone and the charger itself. Aligning the two coils, or “placing the phone on the charger,” creates an electromagnetic field. Your iPhone generates ground current which is then converted into direct current (DC) energy which is then transmitted to your iPhone’s battery.
Aligning the coils is quite easy. If you have an iPhone 11 or later, just line up the Apple logo on the back of your phone with your wireless charger. On older iPhones, you’ll need to line up the middle of your phone with the charging mat. And just like wired charging, you will see your phone turn on to let you know that charging has started. Wireless charging works with most cases, but if you have a thicker, more durable case, you may run into issues.
In terms of charging speed, you’re looking at up to 7.5W for fast wireless charging and 5W for standard charging. There is one exception however and that is Apple MagSafe Charger. If you own an iPhone 12 series phone, MagSafe allows speeds of up to 15W for even faster wireless charging. Currently only Apple’s first party charger can produce 15W. Other MagSafe third party chargers are still limited to 7.5W. And older iPhones will have the same 7.5W restriction, even with Apple’s main charger.
While we can all collectively admire its $ 40 price tag, MagSafe has its advantages over other wireless chargers. It probably solves the biggest problem with wireless charging – not being able to use and charge your phone simultaneously. It does this by… well, adding magnets to the phone and charger. The magnetic connection ensures perfect alignment every time, allowing fast 15W charging.
Most modern devices, including the iPhone and accessories such as AirPods, use the Qi wireless charging standard. It is managed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), which defines wireless charging as “the energy that is transferred from one device to another without physically plugging in a cable.”
While convenient, wireless charging has its drawbacks. For example, it usually doesn’t charge as fast as wired charging, and in most cases you won’t be able to use your phone and charge at the same time. What if you don’t line up the charging mat and your phone right before bed? You will probably be looking at a nearly dead phone in the morning. You should also avoid wireless charging if you have a case that stores credit cards, RFID chips, or something similar. Wireless charging with such items could permanently damage your cards.
If you need to refuel, you’ll want to connect through the Lightning port. Wireless charging times may vary depending on the charger, but in most cases you need around 3 to 3.5 hours to fully charge wirelessly with a 7.5W charger. using a 20 W power adapter and one Lightning to USB-C The cable will fully charge you in just under 90 minutes.
Which iPhones support wireless charging?
An easy way to tell if your iPhone supports wireless charging is to check if the back is glass. Since wireless charging doesn’t work with aluminum or other metals, Apple made the switch to glass starting with the iPhone 8 series.
But when in doubt, the following iPhones support wireless charging:
iPhone 8 or 8 Plus
iPhone Xs or Xs Max
iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max
iPhone SE (2nd generation)
iPhone 12 or 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max
You can also expect all iPhone models released for the foreseeable future to include wireless charging.
Here are the best wireless chargers for your iPhone
Now that you know what wireless charging is, it’s time to find the perfect charger for you. Are you looking for a bedside table, a desk or a multi-device charger? We have what you need.
Anker Wireless Charger, PowerWave Pad certified Qi 10W Max for iPhone SE 2020, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, AirPods, Galaxy S20 S10, Note 10 9 (without AC adapter, not compatible with MagSafe magnetic charging)
For its price, the Anker PowerWave Pad is an excellent choice. With no bells or whistles, it simply charges one device at a time. Its only downside is that it doesn’t have a USB power adapter.