All about “wireless charging” for iPhone (iPhone 12): which one to choose and buy

With the introduction of MagSafe in the iPhone 12 line, wireless charging has become an important technology for the next generation of smartphones. True, not everyone knows exactly how this technology works. For the untrained iPhone owner, it is not easy to decide on the choice of a wireless charger. Apple introduced the technology of energy transfer by induction only in the fall of 2017 in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X (10), so users have little operating experience. In this article we will try to understand all aspects of wireless charging together in order to make the right choice.

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How does wireless charging work?

In fact, modern wireless charging is based on the properties of magnetic fields and their ability to affect other magnetically sensitive objects. The simplest example of this would be a magnet running inside a wire spool. This movement of the magnet creates a current in the wire that can be used to power a small light bulb.

Inductive charging works on the same principle, but instead of using a magnet to act on a coil of wire without touching it, inductive charging uses its own coil of wire. The passage of current through it can generate a magnetic field. If objects are close enough, then the magnetic field created by the current in one coil can create current in the second adjacent coil.

How does wireless charging work?

At short distances, such systems are very effective, but the current of the receiving coil will always be lower than in the “transmitting” coil. But this can be fixed by increasing the size of the coils and increasing the power. This method works in real-life scenarios.

In consumer devices, this has led to a system in which a charging pad, cradle, or other coil implementation can interact with another coil contained in a host device, such as a smartphone. The coils are usually 2 to 5 centimeters in diameter, depending on the equipment. And the working distance between two coils is usually less than a centimeter, they are separated by plastic or other materials that are not affected by magnetic fields.

How does wireless charging work?

Qi inductor in iPhone 12 Pro

Of course, such a system is scalable. This will allow, for example, an electric vehicle to be recharged in a parking space with a larger coil. It is likely that similar technology will appear in Apple Car in the future. At the moment, devices with small coils are classified as wireless charging devices.

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The history of opposition between Qi and PMA wireless charging standards

The history of inductive charging dates back to the 19th century and is associated with Nikola Tesla. But the modern history of wireless charging for devices is being driven by the battle to determine the dominant standard in the electronics industry.

There are quite a few different standards for wireless charging technology, but in this article we will look at two main groups. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) offered its Qi charging system in 2008, with the main competitors being PMA technology supported by the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and Airfuel Alliance licensed by Powermat.

Each of the groups had support from manufacturers, these technologies were implemented by different companies. While Google, Samsung, and various smartphone manufacturers have used Qi, PMA has been implemented by companies such as AT&T, Duracell, and Starbucks.

Since the two standards were in opposition to each other, there are some compatibility issues between them, but in general the concept and implementation are similar. The only real differences preventing them from working with each other are the software and the use of different wavelength ranges for the magnetic field.

The public battle over the generally accepted standard for wireless charging erupted as proponents of each side adopted the technology in different ways. Qi has enjoyed the support of major mobile device manufacturers, the most obvious category of devices requiring wireless charging.

On the other side of the frontline, the PMA has received more corporate-oriented support. Duracell, a significant brand in the battery field, has become an important player. Starbucks also contributed by deploying PMA-enabled charging points throughout the United States.

Although Qi was slightly ahead of PMA in its development, the balance did not change much until 2017, when Apple decided to become a member of the WPC. At that time, there were rumors that the iPhone 8 will receive wireless charging, as a result, in the same year, the iPhone X also received Qi support.

With Apple entering the game, the Qi advantage began to grow. In late 2017, a software update was rolled out to Starbucks Powermat chargers to make the panels Qi compatible. As a result, Powermat officially joined the WPC in 2018.

Since then, Qi has become the dominant wireless charging technology for mobile devices. The vast majority of wireless charging accessories support this standard, as do most portable devices with this charging function. For consumers, this makes it much easier to purchase and use wireless charging equipment – there is no need to pre-research the market for truly compatible products.

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Apple Wireless Charger

While Apple’s iPhone has become the main product that has captured public attention in this area, this is not the first wireless charging experience for the company. Apple Watch gave this opportunity since the release of its first generation in 2015, before the use of technology in the iPhone was two more years.

Charger for Apple Watch

To charge the watch, it was necessary to attach it to a small round platform. This made it possible to charge the wearable device in a few hours. Or the watch could be left overnight and put on a charged hand in the morning. In this scenario, it is appropriate to use Night Mode, which rotates the time on the display 90 degrees for better visibility while charging.

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And while the technology used to wirelessly charge the Apple Watch is very similar in logic to Qi, you won’t be able to use a Qi charger to charge this watch. There are chargers on the market (such as the Satechi Trio Wireless Charging Pad) that have both an iPhone charging pad and an Apple Watch pad, but you can’t move the device from one charging point to another.

Satechi Trio Wireless Charging Pad - wireless charging station

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The name was previously used for the magnetic mechanism for connecting the charging cable to the MacBook, but Apple has revived the term MagSafe for its modified form of wireless charging.

MagSafe on MacBook

MagSafe for charging MacBook

Introduced with the iPhone 12, MagSafe is an improved version of the existing Qi support, adding magnet rings for better usability.

magsafe for iphone

Surrounding the charging coil inside the iPhone with magnets means it’s now easier to properly align the coil in your smartphone with a supported charger. The MagSafe charger will snap into place.

MagSafe Wireless Charging for iPhone

Another benefit was Apple’s decision to allow MagSafe to run at a higher power level, dropping 7.5W support for Qi chargers and allowing up to 15W on the iPhone 12 and Pro models, or up to 12W on the iPhone 12 mini models. This requires both a MagSafe compatible charger and a 20W or more power adapter.

As MagSafe continues to support Qi chargers, it will continue to work with any existing Qi charging surfaces and pads the user may have.

BoostCharge Pro MagSafe 3-in-1

As an added benefit, the presence of magnets on the back of the iPhone means magnetic accessories can be easily installed and removed. Apple’s offerings include cases and covers, and a wallet-style attachment. Upon contact with the phone, a corresponding color pattern appears on the screen.

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Which iPhones and other Apple products use wireless charging?

There are three categories of products you can use wirelessly with: iPhone, AirPods wireless charging cases, and Apple Watch.

Of these three, the Apple Watch has the most important features: you can only use an Apple-approved watch charger. This applies to all Apple Watch models for now and will likely apply in the future until Apple finds a better way to power its watch.

If you have a wireless charging iPhone or AirPods wireless charging case, you can use any Qi-certified charging pad to get power from it. For an iPhone, the procedure is to place it face up on the charger cradle. The coil on the back should be as close to the charger itself as possible.

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The AirPods Wireless Charging Case can be charged with the lid and status light at the top closed. If you want to charge both AirPods and the charging case at the same time, you can do so simply by leaving the headset inside the box. However, you can charge the case while using AirPods or AirPods Pro.

Wireless charging is available on all iPhone models from iPhone X and iPhone 8 or later, including the second generation iPhone SE.

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IPhone Wireless Charging Power

All iPhones from iPhone 8 to iPhone 11 support charging speed up to 7.5W with compatible chargers. That is, regardless of the power of the charging box, wireless charging will work with a maximum power of only 7.5 watts.

With the release of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 12 mini, that has changed with MagSafe support. In other words, they support both Qi chargers and MagSafe chargers. When connected to MagSafe, smartphones can receive up to 15W under ideal conditions, but will return to 7.5W when using third-party chargers

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How to properly use wireless charging

There are a few things to keep in mind when using wireless charging.

First, positioning plays a role. Positioning the device optimally on the charging surface will result in better energy absorption and shorter charging times than improperly positioned devices. Since charging only occurs when the coils are sufficiently aligned with each other, chances are the iPhone won’t charge at all if installed incorrectly.

Usually, when iPhone is placed on a wireless charger, it will beep and turn on the display. This is how the smartphone shows that it is starting to charge. Keep an eye on this every time you place the device on the site to make sure it is receiving power.

For MagSafe, this problem is not so significant, thanks to the ring of magnets. This solution allows the iPhone to automatically align correctly.

Since distance is also an important factor, make sure there is as little material as possible between the two charging coils. While the case may be fine, items such as an attached MagSafe wallet can cause charging problems and even damage the element in the middle.

It might also be worth removing the case from your iPhone, especially if it has a built-in battery or metal case. This can also interfere with wireless charging.

You may also find that the iPhone gets a little warm after a long charge. This is normal, and Apple programmatically affects this process – when the battery reaches 80%, the transfer of energy will be suspended if the battery becomes too hot. This is how the security mechanism is implemented.

For some users, it becomes an unpleasant discovery that wireless charging does not transmit or sync data. Yes, this technology is exclusively for recharging the battery. IPhone data is synchronized via cable or Wi-Fi.

Finally, remember that wireless charging is not the most efficient way to recharge your iPhone. If you want to get as much power as possible on your iPhone in the shortest amount of time, you are better off using the Lightning port.

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What happens if you connect wired and wireless charging to iPhone at the same time

As tempting as it is to use both wired and wireless charging on the same device to speed up battery recharge, this is not possible. Apple disables wireless charging when using the Lightning port, so you’ll have to disable all physical connections beforehand.

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Pros and cons of wireless charging

The strengths include:

1. Any charger created using the Qi protocol (at the time of this writing, all models on the market work in this standard) fit the iPhone and work correctly and safely. Apple MagSafe support (iPhone 12 line only) is a good addition.

2. Extension of the “life” of the Lightning cable due to a decrease in the level of wear during operation. User experience: all that needs to be done with an incoming call or SMS is to pick up the mobile phone and answer, there is no need to remove and connect the cord again and again, which often leads to premature breakdown;

3. Convenience, in particular:

  • the usual location on the table or bedside table, so there will be no need to search for it (which cannot be said about the wires that always disappear somewhere);
  • Acceptable charging speed (assuming MagSafe devices are used)
  • can be used in a variety of situations, including car mounts with built-in Qi module.

Weak sides:

1. Inability to charge and use iPhone at the same time. Except for watching video content or using it as a navigator on cradle chargers.

2. Inadmissibility of finding objects made with the use of metal in the area of ​​receiving and transmitting energy. This also applies to magnetic holders – their use involves installing a metal plate on the back of the iPhone.

3. It is inferior in speed to fast wired charging (from 18 W) with support for Quick Charge (details about fast charging iPhone).

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What to look for when choosing wireless charging?

1. On power… The higher it is, the better – the iPhone will charge faster. Preference should be given to those contactless systems that have an additional Quick Charge (up to 7.5 W) or MagSafe (up to 15 W and only when used in conjunction with an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 12 Pro).

2. On the power of the charging block… Appetite is one of the top factors when choosing a wireless charger. We recommend choosing a version with a built-in power supply or purchasing a plug separately, but with the above characteristics. For example, to use MagSafe charging, you must have a 20W Apple USB-C Power Adapter.

3. On the cover… As noted above, any charger created using the Qi protocol will fit the iPhone and work properly and safely. But if a case is put on a smartphone, which is made of metal (even partially) or the thickness of the back wall exceeds 6 mm, then you should not count on the correct operation of the accessory.

4. On the form… The most common contactless chargers are of two forms: a pad, also called a tablet, it has a horizontal orientation and a docking station, also called a stand, it has a vertical orientation. In addition:

  • both tablet platforms and docking stations are in demand, but there is a little more demand for the latter; docking stations are especially relevant for work – with them you will not miss a single call or a single SMS-message;

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Moshi lounge q

Wireless car chargers for iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

  • with docking stations, there are no problems when finding a point at which wireless charging is activated; with pill pads, everything is verified to the centimeter, and when a call or SMS is sent, vibration is triggered, which leads to a shift;
  • it is easier to watch video content with docking stations;
  • tablet platforms are more compact than docking stations-stands, less flashy, the most important distinguishing feature.

Если не получается определиться с формой беспроводного зарядного устройства, то приобретайте трансформер, который сочетает в себе плюсы площадки-таблетки и док-станции-стенда, так как меняет форму в зависимости от потребности.

5. На бренд… Доверять следует проверенным временем производителям (Apple, Spigen, Satechi, Moshi, Anker, Momax, Rock, Belkin, Mophie, Nillkin, Baseus). Стоимость хорошей модели составляет от 1 до 15 тысяч рублей в зависимости от комплектации.

6. На количество одновременно подключаемых устройств… Например, Satechi Trio Wireless Charging Pad может подзаряжать одновременно: iPhone, Apple Watch и чехол от AirPods.

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Самые лучшие беспроводные зарядки для iPhone

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Купить беспроводную зарядку Satechi

Купить беспроводную зарядку Moshi

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Купить беспроводную зарядку Anker

Купить беспроводную зарядку Belkin

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Купить беспроводную зарядку Rock

Купить беспроводную зарядку Mophie

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