The term ‘wireless charging’ is a term thrown around a lot by manufacturers and publications alike, but wireless charging can have different meanings to different people.
When many people refer to wireless charging, they are actually referring to inductive charging – similar to the technology that the Apple Watch uses. Qi is a standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium to transmit inductive electrical energy over distances up to 4cm, although companies like Xiaomi are actively developing long-range wireless charging capabilities.
Some people have the misconception that your phone is not plugged in but still charges. While it’s technically yes, the charging pad must be plugged into a power source, be it a wall plug, a computer, or a power bank, so you don’t completely no wires.
Now that you know what Qi charging really is, how do you use it with your smartphone?
How to wirelessly charge your phone
If your phone is Qi charging compatible, all you need to do is buy a Qi charging pad. They can cost from under £10/$10 to several times that amount, often depending on the brand.
They’re all the same, it’s really just price, speed, and design that distinguish them. Some can also act as a stand, while others boast fast wireless charging – useful only if your phone also supports the feature. For example, the iPhone 12 range supports 7.5W Qi wireless charging while Android alternatives like the OnePlus 9 Pro support an amazing 50W fast charging.
Once you’ve got your hands on the compatible Qi charging dock, plug it in and place your phone on top. If you have a Qi-enabled phone, it will start charging. It is easy.
How to add wireless charging to an unsupported phone
All is well and good using the Qi charging dock if you have a Qi-enabled smartphone, but what about the rest of us? Even in 2021, wireless charging is not yet the norm in the smartphone industry. The good news is that there are alternatives – they may not be the prettiest, but they are Candlestick Work.
For example, for older iPhones with a Lightning port, there is a viable (and fairly inexpensive at £10.99 / $12.99) way to enable Qi charging. It may not be the prettiest accessory, but the Nillkin Qi charging receiver will enable wireless charging on iPhones.
Don’t worry Android users – or anyone else using up-to-date micro USB or USB-C charging ports – you haven’t been left out. There is a similar alternative to Micro-USB and USB-C devices for the same £10.99 / US$12.99 as the Lightning variant.
It’s basically an ultra-thin Qi charging receiver that attaches to the back of your phone with the appropriate connector plugged in via a thin ribbon cable. The idea is that, using a slim case, the Qi charging receiver sits between the case and your phone with the cable permanently plugged in.
Wireless charging may be limited to slower speeds, but if you really want to add wireless charging to your smartphone, it’s the easiest way to do it.
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