Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • The Qi2 standard adds three times the wireless charging speed at launch (with even faster speeds coming later) and includes magnets for easy alignment.
  • Qi2 is compatible with older Qi devices, works with cases, and extends beyond phones to other gadgets.
  • Look for Qi2-certified chargers from brands like Anker and Belkin. More options and competition are expected.

Wireless charging has always been convenient, but it was typically slower than wired charging methods. Good news! With the Qi2 wireless charging standard, things are faster and more convenient.

Qi2 is a Modern Wireless Charging Standard

Qi2 is an open wireless charging protocol that has been standardized by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). The original Qi standard was established in 2008 (along with the WPC itself), and in November 2023 the newer Qi2 standard was officially launched.

There have been smaller updates to the original Qi charging standard, but Qi2 makes some big changes. The standard supports up to 15w of power at launch, three times more than the original standard (5w) and double what Apple’s MagSafe wireless charging launched with (7.5w).

Using a MagSafe Case with the ESR HaloLock 2-in-1 Wireless Charger with CryoBoost
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Based on Apple’s MagSafe charging technology, Qi2 is characterized by what the WPC calls a Magnetic Power Profile (MPP). New Qi2 chargers feature magnets for quick alignment on a charger. Products that include magnets will be branded with the Qi2 logo.

Qi2 maintains backward compatibility with Qi devices. Even if your older wirelessly charging device can’t make use of higher power outputs or magnetic alignment, it will still be able to charge wirelessly using a Qi2-certified charger. The original Qi logo will still be used since a revision to the standard (confusingly known as Qi v2.0) allows these devices to draw more power.

Qi is pronounced “chee” and is derived from the Chinese word that means “vapor” or “air” but is more commonly translated as “vital energy” or “vital force.”

Charging Is Easier and Faster (and Getting Even Better)

Taking a leaf out of Apple’s book, Qi2 relies on magnets to solve one of the biggest annoyances with wireless chargers: alignment. It’s no fun fishing around on a wireless charging pad to find the “sweet spot” where your phone reports that it is finally charging. It’s even less fun to return to the charger 30 minutes later to realize things weren’t lined up correctly.

These magnets are used to align charging coils on the charger and within the device itself, which means power transfer is efficient and predictable. If you’ve used a MagSafe charger on an iPhone, you’re already familiar with the fundamentals of Qi2. The WPC’s new standard brings the technology to more than just Apple devices since the standard is open.

Qi2 launches with up to 15w of wireless charging, though this is just the starting point. The WPC hopes to improve the standard and increase total power output in the future. According to an interview the WPC gave to Android Authority in early 2023, charging speeds that exceed 15w aren’t expected until at least mid-2024.

Just like existing MagSafe chargers, Qi2 works with pass-through cases that include a magnetic charging ring. Just as you can add MagSafe to Android phones, you should be able to buy a Qi2 compatible case for older devices that don’t support the newer standard.

Peak Design's MagSafe-compatible cases for Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy.
Peak Design

Something else that the WPC has been keen to stress is that Qi2 isn’t just for phones, though that’s where you’re most likely to see the tech for a while. In addition to headphones and earbuds, the WPC mentions that augmented reality and virtual reality headsets could benefit, as could “new accessories that magnetically attach to the back of a smartphone.” Gadgets like the Plaud Note seem ripe for this.

Which Devices Currently Use Qi2?

At the time of writing in February 2024, only select iPhones are compatible with the Qi2 standard. Perhaps most surprisingly, the majority of these devices received Qi2 compatibility via an over-the-air software update. That’s right: Apple increased the speed at which your iPhone can charge with a software tweak.

All iPhone models from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 15, inclusive of any Pro, Plus, Plus Max, and the shelved iPhone 13 mini are compatible with Qi2. The only caveat is that you’ll need to have upgraded to iOS 17.2 under Settings > General > Software Update to unlock Qi2 compatibility.

Belkin BoostCharge Convertible Qi2 Wireless Pad to Stand in white and black.
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

Samsung neglected to include Qi2 compatibility in the Galaxy S24, and though aftermarket cases can add compatibility in terms of magnetism, you’ll need to use an official Samsung wireless charger to get the full 15w. Standard Qi charging on the S24 device is limited to 7.5w. The OnePlus 12 can also do 15w wireless charging but it lacks magnets and thus doesn’t qualify as a Qi2 device.

Other Android device manufacturers are yet to make a move on Qi2, including Google with its Pixel line.

Look for Qi2 Certified Devices

Qi2 introduces a handshake process between the device being charged and the charger itself. This means that your Qi2 device can refuse to draw power from a charger if it fails the handshake, which is part of the WPC’s big push to make Qi2 a unified standard.

This means that the certification process for Qi2 chargers is much more important than it was for Qi devices. This will limit your choice in terms of chargers and means that you should steer clear of the cheapest no-name brands.

The good news is that you don’t have to pay Apple prices for a WPC-certified Qi2 charger. The WPC has more than 245 members, including brands like Anker, Belkin, and IKEA. Third-party Qi2 chargers already exist, and they’re cheaper than official Apple MagSafe chargers.

Anker MagGo Qi2-certified charger lineup for 2024.

For example the Anker MagGo Wireless Charger is Qi2-certified and costs $21.99, almost half what Apple asks for its white $39 MagSafe Charger. As more manufacturers enter the market, expect more competition and more options including charging stands, car chargers, and battery packs.

You can always check the Qi2-certified product database before you buy. Just be sure to look for “Qi2” certification, since the database includes Qi models too. And be on the lookout for uncertified chargers or fakes!

More Qi2 Devices Are on The Way

Take a look at the WPC member list to see which companies have signed up to be part of the consortium. It will take a while for Qi2 to get a foothold on the market but the fact that the standard addresses the two biggest issues with wireless charging should see it take off in a big way.

Worried that wireless charging might damage your smartphone battery? Don’t be. It’s just another smartphone battery myth that you should stop believing.

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By John P.

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