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Wireless charging for smartphones is becoming more and more common, and our recent blog explained some of the differences between wireless and wired charging. But what exactly is wireless charging, and how does it work? We explain…
How Does Wireless Charging Actually Work?
Wireless charging is inductive; meaning an electrical current is passed between two coils (one in your phone, one in the charger) to create an electromagnetic field. Wireless chargers can come in the form of charging cases, docks, or pads. These can be single-use or rechargeable. There are single-use wired chargers too – and you’ll probably recognise those as the cases that have a part that physically plugs into the charging socket.
What Does Qi-enabled Mean?
Lots of phones are ‘Qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) enabled, including the Samsung Galaxy, Edge and Note ranges, the Microsoft Lumia models, the Sony Xperia range, the Google Nexus 4-7, the Motorola Droid, and the Blackberry Priv. Qi is the best practice standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) for inductive power transfer up to 4cm.
OK, So My Phone is Qi enabled. Now what?
Easy. You just need to buy a Qi wireless charger, and start using it! You’ll find pads and cases available, and both universal and individual manufacturer-branded chargers. It’s completely up to you what you use.
My Phone’s Not Qi Enabled. Can I Add It?
If you’re an Apple iPhone user, you’ll find that whilst some wireless chargers will work with your phone, lots won’t – and you don’t have Qi built into your smartphone handset. But there’s no need to despair: Qi receiver adaptors are available that sit between your phone and a Qi charging pad, and plugs into the lightning cable.
If you’ve got an Android phone (including the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL) with a Micro-USB cable instead of a lightning connection, you’re not left out. There’s an alternative that works through the Micro-USB slot.
How Fast Can A Wireless Charger Charge My Phone?
Whilst not yet quite faster than a traditional wired-in charging option (mainly because wired charging is getting faster all the time, with lots of Samsung and LG phones now offering ultra-fast charging as standard), the technology is improving.
Current charging technology can take your phone from 0-50% in about half an hour, so it’s already quite fast, but varies between charging pads, docks and cases. It’s unlikely that you’ll find anything that beats your wired connection just yet, but in lots of cases, the time-frames shouldn’t be far off.
With wireless charging now available at lots of fast food restaurants, bars and libraries, it’s worth giving it a go when you’re around a facility next. If it suits you, you can then consider investing in a charger yourself – and charge on the go, everywhere you go!