Friday, May 24, 2024
Gadgets

The iPhone 12 now supports faster Qi2 wireless charging


Key Takeaways

  • The Qi2 charging standard developed by WPC charges compatible devices at 15W, just like MagSafe.
  • The iPhone 12 seems to support Qi2 charging after the iOS 17.4 update.
  • My tests show that Qi2 charges the iPhone 12 at the same speed and with roughly the same power consumption as MagSafe.


The new wireless charging standard, Qi2 is finally here, and with it, Qi2 compatible charging stands and pads. Apple’s iPhones have been some of the first to adhere to the new standard. Until recently, however, the iPhone 12 didn’t support it — only the iPhone 13, 14, and 15 did. However, after the release of iOS 17.4, I started to see reports that the iPhone 12 gained support for Qi2 charging, in addition to Apple’s MagSafe charging.

I got my hands on Nomad Good’s Qi2 charging stand and tested it with my iPhone 12 to see if the rumors were true.

I knew that if this was true, it could open the iPhone 12 up to a range of the latest charging stands and pads, some of which might be cheaper than Apple’s MagSafe chargers. So, I got my hands on Nomad Good’s Qi2 charging stand and tested it with my iPhone 12 to see if the rumors were true. Here’s what I found out.


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nomad-stand-one-magsafe-charging-stand-iphone-12


What is Qi2 charging?

Improving the Qi standard, but by how much?

Qi2 is a wireless charging standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) that charges compatible devices at up to 15W, which is double the charging power of standard Qi chargers.

The original Qi standard came out in 2008 and allowed devices to charge wirelessly via magnetic induction — simply place a compatible device on top of a Qi charger and the charger’s electromagnetic field would charge the device’s battery. Charging was often inefficient, however, because the copper coils in the charger and device would rarely align well enough to allow for fast charging.


To resolve this problem, Apple came up with MagSafe, which was first introduced with the iPhone 12. A device and charger adhering to the MagSafe standard will each have a ring of magnets inside them that allow the two to snap together in perfect alignment for maximally efficient charging. This allowed MagSafe devices and chargers — those using Apple’s proprietary technology — to consistently charge at up to 15W, without having to worry about knocking them out of alignment.

In 2023, Apple opened this technology up to the WPC for use in an open Qi2 standard, which was announced at the start of 2023. Qi2 charging is, for most intents and purposes (and for now), identical to MagSafe charging. It allows any device, including Android and other non-Apple devices, to implement ring-magnet-aided wireless charging tech that allows for charging at MagSafe speeds.

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nomad-charging-magsafe-stand-vs-qi2-stand-packaging


So, what’s the Qi2 news again?

Why Qi2 is important to consumers in 2024

Given that Qi2 charging is (for now) essentially the same as MagSafe charging (except it’s an open standard rather than a proprietary one requiring Apple hardware) we might have assumed that all MagSafe iPhones would work with Qi2 chargers.

That certainly did seem to be the case. The iPhone 15 launched with Qi2 support, and in December 2023 an iOS update gave the iPhone 13 and 14 Qi2 wireless charging support. For whatever reason, though (perhaps internal politics or some component configuration differences), Apple never officially said the iPhone 12 would be Qi2 certified, despite it being a MagSafe phone like the 13, 14, and 15.

After an iOS 17.4 update, and despite Apple’s silence on the matter, people have reported that this actually works.


It took a while for Qi2 chargers to hit the market, but we’ve now seen the first of these new wireless charging devices pop up. Now that people can get their hands on Qi2 chargers, some have tried charging the iPhone 12 via Qi2. After an iOS 17.4 update, and despite Apple’s silence on the matter, people have reported that this actually works.

I wanted to confirm this, so I tested it. I also tested to see if there’s any difference between charging the iPhone 12 with a MagSafe charger and with one of the new Qi2 chargers.

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nomad-qi2-charging-stand-iphone-12

How I tested the iPhone 12 with Qi2 charging vs MagSafe charging

Head to head and similar models

To test whether the iPhone 12 can charge using the full speed of Qi2 wireless charging, I used the Nomad Qi2 Magnetic Charging Stand (the black one) with its included cable and a separately purchased Anker 20W USB-C Charger Block.

To compare it to MagSafe charging, I thought it’d be best to compare it to a MagSafe charger of similar make and model, so I went with the Nomad Stand One MagSafe Charger (the white/silver one) using the same Anker power supply.


A black wireless charger with a glossy finish and a circular magnet.

Nomad Stand Qi2 Magnetic Wireless Charger

I used a standard iPhone 12 with 128GB storage and a Maximum Capacity of 89% on the battery (which is about the battery health that most iPhone 12 users are likely to have). To eliminate extraneous variables, I disabled optimized charging, turned on Airplane Mode, and closed all background apps.

I drained the iPhone 12’s battery completely, then charged it on one of the charging stands, noting what percentage charge it reached at 15-minute intervals, as well as how long it took to boot into iOS after dying. I also checked the power consumption of both chargers using a power meter.

nomad-charging-stand-qi2-vs-magsafe-iphone-12-power-consumptionWhat the test results showed

Accounting for a little human error, my test results were as expected, with the iPhone 12 charging at almost exactly the same speed on both the MagSafe and Qi2 charging stands.


MagSafe charging

Qi2 charging

0m

0%

0%

15m

22%

23%

30m

41%

38%

45m

55%

52%

1hr

70%

68%

1hr 15m

83%

81%

1hr 30m

92%

90%

1hr 45m

97%

96%

2hr

100%

99% (+4m for 100%)

While I technically found the MagSafe charger to charge the iPhone 12 quicker than the Qi2 charger, the difference is small enough to be due to human error or random variation, so I feel comfortable saying that both MagSafe and Qi2 chargers charged the iPhone 12 at the same speed.


Strangely, the MagSafe charger took exactly two hours (down to the minute) to charge my iPhone 12 from 0% to 100%. The Qi2 charger took 2 hours and four minutes. The two chargers took about the same amount of time to charge the phone to boot into iOS, too. With the MagSafe charger, the iPhone 12 booted into iOS after 2m 26s, and with the Qi2 charger it booted into iOS after 2m 15s. In the former case, the iPhone showed 1% battery, and in the latter case it showed 2%. All within the bounds of random variation.

I also found both chargers to consume over 15W of power (about 17.5W on average). The extra juice above 15W is probably what was wasted as heat due to inefficiencies, which is why a 20W power supply is recommended for 15W charging.

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Apple iPhone 12 review product shots photo 1Conclusion: Does the iPhone 12 support Qi2 charging?

Yes, according to my tests, the iPhone 12 does now seem to support Qi2 charging, providing it’s updated to (or past) iOS 17.4. There’s still no official confirmation from Apple, but I found my Nomad Qi2 charger to match my Nomad MagSafe charger in power usage and charging speed with the iPhone 12.


This means iPhone 12 users like myself should now have a wider range of speedy wireless chargers to choose from as Qi2 chargers continue hit the market. Yet another win for open standards!

Read next

The best Qi2 wireless chargers

A new and improved wireless charging standard means a whole new set of chargers, stands, and external batteries to choose from.



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