The term “wireless charging” is one that is widely used by producers and publications, but wireless charging can mean different things to different people.
When many people refer to wireless charging, they are actually referring to inductive charging – similar to the technology that Apple Watch uses. Qi is a standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium for the transfer of inductive electricity at distances up to 4cm, although companies like Xiaomi are actively working on long-term wireless charging capabilities.
Some people have the misconception that your phone is not plugged in, but will still be charging. While it is technically true, the charging pad must be plugged into a power supply, be it a wall plug, a computer or a power bank, so you are not completely free of wires.
Now that you know what Qi charging really is, how to use it with your smartphone?
How to wirelessly charge your phone
If your phone is compatible with Qi charging, all you have to do is buy a Qi charging pad. These can range in price from less than £ 10 / $ 10 to several times that amount, usually depending on the brand.
They are all very similar, with really only price, speed and design to separate them. Some might even work as a stand, while others boast of a fast wireless charging – useful only if your phone also supports the feature. U iPhone 12 the range, for example, supports Qi 7.5W wireless charging while Android alternatives like the OnePlus 9 Pro supports an incredible fast charging of 50W.
Once you’ve put your hands on a compatible Qi charging pad, insert it and place your phone on top. If you have a Qi-enabled phone, it will start charging. It’s that easy.
How to add a wireless charger to an unsupported phone
It’s okay with a Qi charging pad if you have a Qi-enabled smartphone, but what about those of us who don’t have it? Even in 2021, wireless charging is not standard across the smartphone industry. The good news is that there are alternatives here – maybe they won’t be the best, but they will should work.
For older iPhones with a Lightning port, for example, there’s a feasible way (and good enough at £ 10.99 / $ 12.99) to enable Qi charging. It may not be the most attractive accessory, but the Nillkin Qi charging receiver should allow wireless charging on an iPhone.
Don’t worry Android users – or anyone else using a micro USB or an upgraded USB-C charging port – won’t be left out. There is one similar alternative for Micro-USB and USB-C devices for the same £ 10.99 / US $ 12.99 as the Lightning variant.
It’s essentially a super-thin Qi charge receiver that attaches to the bottom of your phone with the appropriate connector inserted with a thin ribbon cable. The idea is that by using a thin case, the Qi charging receiver sits between your case and your phone with the cable always plugged in.
Wireless charging may be limited to slower speeds, but if you really want to add a wireless charging to your smartphone, this is the easiest way to do it.