The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) announced at CES 2023 that the Qi2 wireless charging standard will be available soon, as part of its efforts to unify wireless charging standards across devices.
The new Qi2 charging standard should bring together the Qi wireless charging standard, which is used by Samsung and others, and the MagSafe standard, which is used by Apple on phones such as the iPhone 14.
This unification appears to be thanks to Apple, which provided its MagSafe technology as the foundation for the new Qi2 wireless charging standard.
Because Qi2 employs the same magnetic charging technology as MagSafe, iPhones and Android phones should be compatible with the new Qi2 wireless chargers, according to WPC spokesperson Paul Golden’s comments to The Verge.
Difference Between Qi And Qi2
The main difference between the two is the introduction of the new Magnetic Power Profile. Specifically, the new profile ensures that phones or other rechargeable battery-powered products are aligned perfectly with charging devices.
Qi2 will also enable faster wireless charging for some devices. Interestingly, Qi2 still provides the same maximum power level as its predecessor, which currently caps out at 15W.
However, many current Qi-capable handsets, including Apple’s iPhone, are limited to just 7.5W of power.
This will likely improve with Qi2, as the standard is designed with magnetic coil coupling in mind, improving energy efficiency and reducing power loss over the air.
Qi2 Wireless Charging Winners
Because Apple’s upcoming phones will almost certainly use MagSafe for wireless charging, the iPhone 15 lineup, which is expected to launch in the third quarter of this year, should work with Qi2.
In fact, this move could benefit a large number of iPhone users.
Currently, Qi wireless charging on MagSafe devices is limited to 50% speed, which is why my friends iPhone 13 Pro charges slower than my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra on the Samsung Qi-certified wireless chargers I have around the house.
In theory, the new Qi2 standard should allow iPhones to charge wirelessly at 100% speed on Qi2-certified chargers.
Other advantages should be realized by consumers in the future. According to WPC, Qi2 should enable wireless charging of devices lacking flat charging coils, such as smartwatches.
Wireless charging pads for smartwatches can be difficult to use with some wearables. For instance the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic won’t charge on some of my older charging pads, and neither will the Apple Watch.
Qi2 enables the use of a single charging pad for our phones, smartwatches, and wireless earbuds.
Qi2 Wireless Charging Losers
Unfortunately, because this standard will not be released until later in 2023, flagship Android phones such as the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 lineup and the recently announced OnePlus 11 will most likely not be compatible with the new standard out of the box.
For your phone to work with these new chargers, you may need to purchase a MagSafe adapter, as with current Android phones.
But even that isn’t guaranteed to work. While future MagSafe devices appear to be guaranteed to be Qi2 compatible, current MagSafe devices are not.
This is because Qi2 borrows from MagSafe but isn’t technically MagSafe.
This means that current MagSafe products, including any iPhone newer than the iPhone 12, aren’t guaranteed to work with Qi2 chargers any differently than they do with current Qi-certified chargers at this time.
In fact, if the magnets don’t quite line up, the new chargers may perform worse.
Another significant loser is charging speed, which appears to be shocking at first. After all, the stronger magnetic connection should result in more efficient and faster charging speeds than current charging pads.
The catch is that these new Qi2-certified charging pads will initially be limited to 15W, which is insufficient.
Granted, it’s not any worse than the current Qi-certified wireless chargers and MagSafe chargers, but this should have been an opportunity to make a significant advancement.
Golden says WPC is working on a higher power level for future Qi2 chargers, but there is no time frame for when that might be.
Qi2 Wireless Charging: Overall, A Win For Everyone
Despite some potential flaws and disappointments, Qi2 wireless charging appears to be a huge win for everyone.
We may finally see universal wireless charging pads for the top phones in the market, and they may eventually work with smartwatches, tablets, iPads, Kindles, and other devices.
This may even provide Apple with the opportunity to develop a portless iPhone, though it remains to be seen whether this will be beneficial to consumers if it happens.
Furthermore, I believe this could still benefit older MagSafe devices, though this is far from certain. Apple is a major supporter of the WPC, which created the Qi2 standard, and it would be strange for the company to develop that technology only to have it fail on its own devices.
At worst, I expect Qi2 to function similarly to Qi in terms of charging MagSafe devices, though I am hopeful that charging speeds will be increased.
This appears to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where everyone wins, and it appears strange that Apple would drive this decision only to derail it due to a desire to sell outdated chargers.