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Over the last few years wireless charging has gone from novelty concept to a conventional function of any modern iPhone. We won’t pretend that wireless charging is always an ideal substitute for plugging in, but it’s a very hassle-free way to keep your phone topped off throughout the day. Freed from the bother of plugging and unplugging, a wireless charger on your desk is as good a place as any to set your phone, knowing the battery is being steadily replenished, ready for your next outing. A wireless charger by your bed makes it easy to grab and go in the morning or to “just check one thing” without fussing with the lightning cable.
Update 05/16/22: We’ve cleaned up our guide by removing some old produces and double-checking our recommendations.
Apple officially gave up on its ambition to bring the AirPower wireless charger to market back in 2019. Instead, the company has moved ahead with a far more useful and intriguing idea: MagSafe. It debuted on the iPhone 12 (every model) but we expect it to continue to be available on future iPhones.
MagSafe combines a ring of magnets for secure attachment, an single-coil NFC to identify accessories, and a magnetometer to know when an item is attached, all around a more powerful Qi-based wireless charging coil (up to 15 watts, up from 7.5 watts in other iPhones). Note that a lot of devices are being billed as “MagSafe compatible,” but that doesn’t mean they support the faster charging or NFC—they merely have a ring of magnets in them. MagSafe compatible is not necessarily real MagSafe.
iPhones with MagSafe still work with regular Qi wireless chargers, they are just limited to the same 7.5-watt charging rate as earlier iPhones with them. And MagSafe is used for more than just charging—the magnetic attachment feature will make it possible to snap on all sorts of accessories.
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