Those pesky cords that always seem to get tangled and in the way are becoming a thing of the past due to the implementation of wireless charging in most (if not all) modern smartphones and devices. Wireless charging technology is not a new phenomenon; electric toothbrushes and power tools have been taking advantage of this for years- along with any other early 2000s device that used a charging pad. Fast-forward to 2020 and now wireless charging in smartphones has become the new standard; it is expected- by consumers- to be a feature on our phones, tablets, or other devices.
One of the main reasons why wireless charging has sky-rocketed in popularity is because of a simple fact: convenience paired with versatility. How easy would it be to just place your phone onto a charging pad (usually looks like a flat disk) and pick it up- no cords attached? How awesome would it be to only need one charger for multiple devices, no matter if they are Android or Apple? Qi wireless charging is the answer to both scenarios.
Now, the actual science and history behind how it works is important to know if you are wanting to fully understand this technology and use it for yourself. It is honestly quite simple; there are no hidden surprises; however, not every device is Qi compatible. To explain further what this means, let us dive right into your ultimate wireless charging guide.
How it works: Qi wireless charging explained
Those who are unfamiliar with wireless charging might be asking themselves, “What the heck is it? How does it work?” Let us explain. The reason why we can have wireless charging capabilities in the first place is because of a thing called inductive power transfer. There are induction coils in the charging pad that create an alternating electric current, thus emitting an electromagnetic field. The magnetic field will create enough force to interact with a second induction coil in the pad before it is then converted to a direct current (with the help of a rectifier). The direct current is what the pad uses to charge your wireless device.
There is an organization known as WPC (Wireless Power Consortium) that acts as a governing body over the world of wireless charging. They oversee creating power standards that all wireless charging technologies must abide by in order to gain Qi certification. Qi certification ensures that the product is safe to use and will work with your device correctly. It is recommended that any device or accessory NOT Qi certified should be set aside.
While the WPC does reign supreme in this field, there is a new, rising organization creating their own standards called AirFuel Alliance Resonant Standard. This standard is a bit different in terms of charging distance (50 millimeters away) and number of devices per pad (multiple devices at once).
At this point you might be thinking this all sounds very expensive, right? Truth be told, that’s not the case nowadays! UK retailers such as Argos sell wireless chargers for as low as £14.99. Some stores have also begun selling refurbished wireless chargers for even cheaper, starting from £7.99!
A common concern among most people is the safety of wireless charging. While Qi certified accessories are perfectly safe to use, there is one thing you should know NOT to do with your device while it is attached to the charger. Do not place any magnets on the charging pad, and do not place anything in-between the pad and your device while it is charging. The device should lay flat against the pad- just throwing this in as a safety precaution. Contrary to common belief, this way of giving power to your device is much safer than using cords.
How to charge your device wirelessly
Depending on if your phone is already Qi integrated or if it can wirelessly charge but just needs an adaptor, the steps involved with setting everything up are only slightly different:
Qi integrated phone
This simply means your phone already has Qi technology built into it and is ready to be paired with a charging pad- no other accessories are needed. Once you’ve set up the pad, simply place it on the pad’s surface and charging should begin immediately.
Qi Ready – accessory needed
This means your device is capable of wireless charging, but the technology is not built into it. In this situation you would need to buy an accessory, like a case, that gives your phone access to Qi technology. After the accessory is attached, charging your device is the same as mentioned above.
Which iPhones, Androids, or other devices can be wirelessly charged?
All iPhone models from the iPhone 8 and up can be wirelessly charged.
All Samsung Galaxy models from the S6 and up can be wirelessly charged as well.
The list of compatible devices is quite extensive, so please take a look at this list to see a compilation of all updated devices.