Apple revolutionized the world of mobile phones with the iPhone more or less ten years ago and brought the first smartphone into the market. Today the company, once known only for its Macs and iPod, is one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers. The newer generations of iPhones are Qi enabled and can finally be charged wirelessly, which has long been standard equipment with other manufacturers such as Samsung. Wireless Charging on iPhones is supported starting with iPhone 8 and iPhone X – even the current iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro support wireless charging via Qi standard. However, the development of the in-house Apple charging station has been officially cancelled – here you will find an overview of the best AirPower Alternatives or iPhone Charging Stations and all important information about Wireless Charging for iPhones.
Unlike competitor Samsung, the company from Cupertino does not offer its own Qi chargers for its iPhones – the development of such a charger was officially stopped in 2019. Only for the Apple Watch from Series 1 to 4 there is the Apple Watch charging dock, which we will briefly introduce below. Otherwise, wireless charging has been limited with the software update to iOS 13.1 – mostly high-quality models from Anker, Belkin or even Mophie support 7.5 watts of charging power. All other inductive chargers have been reduced to 5 watts. Those who want to charge their iPhone wirelessly via the charging station, and as fast as possible, should therefore pay attention to the models that we have listed below. Can my iPhone charge wirelessly? Here we have the answer:
Which iPhones have Wireless Charging?
What iPhone works with wireless charging? From iPhone 8 and iPhone X on, Apple builds wireless charging directly into its smartphones. The following iPhone models are therefore Qi enabled per default – all other iPhones can be upgraded:
Apple iPhones with Qi Wireless Charging built-in:
- Apple iPhone 12 | from $829.00
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro | from $999.00
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max | from $1,099.00
- Apple Phone 12 mini | from $729.00
- Apple iPhone SE (2020) | from $399.00
- Apple iPhone 11 | from $699.00
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro | from $999.00
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max | from $1,099.00
- Apple iPhone XS Max | from $999.00
- Apple iPhone XR | from $599.00
- Apple iPhone XS | from $899.00
- Apple iPhone X | from $535.47
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus | from $320.00
- Apple iPhone 8 | from $599.00
Apple iPhones with reliable Qi Wireless Charging Accessories:
Other Apple Devices with Wireless Charging:
- Apple AirPods Pro
- Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case
- Apple Watch Series 3/ Series 4
- Apple iPad/ iPad Pro
How to wirelessly charge your iPhone
The newer iPhone models mentioned above have a built-in Qi receiver for wireless charging according to the Qi standard, so there is no need to upgrade these models. Earlier models can be upgraded with a Wireless Charging Adapter or a special Qi Case. Wireless charging from the 8th iPhone generation on works as follows:
iPhone wireless charging – Here’s how it works:
- Connect the Wireless Charger to the suitable power supply
- Place iPhone on the Qi Charger as intended
- Wireless Charging begins after a few seconds – Charging Symbol appears
UPDATE: iPhone 12, MagSafe Charger & MagSafe Duo Charger Release
Apple released its first wireless charger on the Apple Keynote-event on October 13, 2020, along with the new iPhone 12. The “MagSafe Charger“, also available as “Duo MagSafe Charger” for simultaneous wireless charging of several devices, will be equipped with magnets that make everyday use much easier and determine the optimal charging position on the charging pad. Small magnets are also to be found on the new iPhone 12. Apple has already used this technology for other purposes, such as for the Magic Keyboard on the iPad Pro. The iPhone 12 series is supposed to support the Qi standard with a power of up to 15 watts, assuming suitable accessories – this would correspond to twice the previous performance when charging iPhones wirelessly. Find more infos here!
The official Qi Charging Stations for Apple iPhone
Below you will find the Qi chargers currently officially recommended by Apple for wireless and inductive charging of the iPhone:
1. iPhone Wireless Charging Station: Belkin Boost Up 7.5W | from $22.50
The Boost Up 7.5W Wireless Charging Pad was developed by Apple in cooperation with leading accessory manufacturer Belkin. It is a Qi charger with a maximum power of 7.5W. It is therefore perfectly designed for the Qi chargeable iPhones from iPhone 8 and iPhone X and newer. But also other smartphones can be charged with this Qi-charger offered by Apple, but then with a maximum of 5 watts. The smartphone does not even have to be taken out of its protective case, as up to a thickness of 3 mm can also be charged inductively with Case. The Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad even scores plus points with its integrated LED display, which informs about the charging status, as well as the power supply, which is included in the scope of delivery. The Qi charger for Apple devices is also visually appealing and has a non-slip surface on the upper side.
2. iPhone Wireless Charging Station: Belkin Boost Up Stand | from $36.00
The Belkin Boost Up 10W is a standalone device that is also officially recommended by Apple for inductive charging on the iPhone. It has been on the market since 2018 and, as the name suggests, supports the Qi standard up to a power of 10 watts. Modern Samsung smartphones are charged at 9 watts and the iPhone at 7.5 watts – all other Qi-capable devices at 5 watts. The smartphone can be charged both horizontally and vertically. The Boost Up 10W is also suitable for protective covers of up to 3 mm. A white LED light also indicates the charging status here. A power supply unit including a 1.5 m long cable is included in delivery. In a test by german “Stiftung Warentest” in 2019, this model scored an excellent 2.3 (from 1 best till 6 worst) and was thus one of the best devices. If you prefer wireless charging for the iPhone with a charging station instead of a flat charging pad, the Boost Up 10W charging stand is just the right model for you.
3. iPhone Wireless Charging Station: Belkin Boost Up Bold | from $17.99
Available in black and white, the Boost Up Special Edition Wireless Charging Pad is a Belkin-manufactured and Apple-exclusive Qi charger for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. It charges iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR with up to 7.5 watts when placed on a soft, matte silicone surface, ensuring the fastest possible charging with maximum performance. They can also be charged while remaining in the case, as long as this has a maximum material thickness of 3 mm. The required power supply unit is included in the scope of delivery of the Qi certified charger for Apple. It also scores points with its high-quality stainless steel case including a highly polished chrome finish, which ensures a noble appearance and long durability.
4. iPhone Wireless Charging Station: Mophie Wireless Charging Station | from $19.99
This round Qi charger with a diameter of 97 mm and a height of 11.5 mm is from third party manufacturer mophie. It is optimized for wireless charging of Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone X as well as iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. As with all other Qi chargers, the iPhone needs to be placed on the wireless charging cradle. Charging is done with a power of up to 7.5 watts, the maximum power currently supported by Apple iPhones. This ensures the shortest possible charging time thanks to quick charging. Meanwhile, your iPhone remains safely on the Qi charging station, as its surface is covered with a non-slip layer. Another positive aspect is that the mophie wireless charging station, sold by Apple for 44.95 Euros, comes with a power supply unit including a 1.5 m long cable.
Top 5 Alternatives: The Best Wireless Chargers for iPhone
Here are the unofficial alternatives to the Apple charging station:
1. Zens Wireless Aluminium 3 in 1
The Zens Wireless Aluminium Charger goes one step further. In addition to two Smartphones, a Smart Watch can be charged on a column protruding from the device. This means that three devices can be recharged simultaneously via Qi. The maximum output power is 20 watts and Apple Fast Charge is supported. In addition to all compatible Apple devices, all other smartphones that come into question are of course also supported. Zens also offers this model as a version without a watch column. For those without Apple Watch, the ZENS 30W Dual Fast Charge pad is also suitable.
2. Samsung EP-N6100
The Samsung EP-N6100 can also supply up to two devices with charge current at the same time. All Qi-certified devices are compatible with it, including smart watches such as the Galaxy Watch, the Gear S3 or even the Apple Watch. The design is quite appealing: The smartphone can be placed in an upright station, a second one to the right, but flat. This gadget is available in black or white, as usual for Samsung.
3. Belkin BoostUp Dock
The accessory company Belkin has also announced the BoostUp Wireless Charging Dock, a device that can charge more than one smartphone at a time. A third device can be connected to the station using a USB-A cable. The charging station for the iPhone offers 7.5 watts and supports the Qi standard for inductive charging. The device is expected to be available in time for the Christmas business from December 2018.
4. Seneo 2 in 1
This beautiful device from Seneo advertises that two devices can be charged at the same time, for example an iPhone and the Apple Watch. The charger according to the Qi standard works with a charging current between 500 and 1000 mA, for an iPhone quick charge 7.5 watts and for an Android quick charge 10 watts are provided. According to the manufacturer, it is compatible with iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus. But also other Qi-enabled devices are supported, like the Samsung S6, S7 or S8. All the necessary safety precautions are provided: temperature protection, overvoltage protection, overdischarge protection and overcharge protection. Nevertheless, customer reviews are split here and there is already a “revised version”.
Smart Battery Case: iPhone Wireless Charging with additional Battery
Awaited by Apple fans for a long time, now it’s on the market: The Smart Battery Case from Apple. As the name suggests, it is not a simple battery case. It is also equipped with a wireless charging function via the common Qi standard. So you can simultaneously charge the battery case wirelessly while it in turn supplies the iPhone itself with new energy. At the same time, it protects the iPhone with an exterior made of silicone and a lining made of microfiber. According to the manufacturer, the iPhone XS Max, for example, has a talk time of up to 37 hours with Smart Battery Case and up to 20 hours of Internet surfing. The Apple Smart Battery Case is available for iPhone XS and iPhone 11 but – unfortunately not for iPhone 8. The following models can be charged with the original battery case: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max as well as (camera key usable) and iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR. There is also a version for iPhone 7, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 – but without the wireless charging function. There are different color options: black, white, pink and red for the iPhone 7 version.
AirPower Wireless Charger officially canceled
Now it is official: Apple announced at the end of March 2019 that there would be no AirPower Charging Mat. The plans to develop their own Qi charging station for up to three devices will probably be put on hold for the time being. According to Apple, the team involved in the development of the wireless charging mat found that the AirPower would not meet the company’s requirements. We find this statement questionable, given a large number of reliable products and world-famous companies that have been offering similar models for many years and with whom Apple, in the case of Belkin, for example, even worked directly on the development, and it leaves the global corporation in a bad light. Not to mention waiting for customers and loyal fans, who were last hinted at an AirPower-like product when the AirPods 2 appeared on the back of the packaging – experts therefore assume that the company made a spontaneous decision.
Last but not least, such a thing always opens the door to speculation: A possible reason for Apple’s failure is suspected to be overheating when charging with the AirPower charging station. Other manufacturers counter this problem with fast inductive charging with active cooling through small fans or a special housing that dissipates the heat generated well to the surroundings. It is also suspected that Apple wanted to turn the entire surface of the AirPower charging mat into a charging surface in order to allow entirely free placement of the end devices on the station. This required the installation of a large number of inductive charging coils, which is technically complex and possibly become a problem for Apple. The simple marking of a designated loading area could have been a solution here, even without major usability issues. Anyway, it’s better than simply deleting a product that has been announced for years and for which many Apple fans are waiting, without replacement and without much explanation. Wireless charging for the iPhone doesn’t do any harm though, because after all there are reliable accessories from other providers.
Apple Charging Station – Which Alternatives are possible?
Fortunately, there are alternatives: The well-known and experienced manufacturer Zens, for example, has developed an AirPower Alternative that can charge three devices inductively simultaneously, including the Apple Watch. This enabled the small Dutch company, which already offered Dual Qi charging stations in 2013, to achieve what the global corporation Apple failed to achieve after years of development. The Zens Dual Wireless Aluminum Charger listed below offers fast inductive charging with up to 10W, is Mi- certified (Made for iPhone) and has a high-quality finish. From our point of view, it’s a thoroughly successful AirPower alternative with which you can charge iPhone, AirPods & Apple Watch wirelessly at the same time. However, besides the official alternatives, which were partly developed together with Apple, there are also some other reliable alternatives which you can find under the following link:
Top 3: The Best Wireless Charging Stations for Apple iPhone:
- Belkin Boost Up 7.5W (Apple’s recommendation for the iPhone 8)
- Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock (iPhone + Apple Watch)
- Zens Wireless Charger 3-way or Zens Liberty
Apple Qi Charger: Third-party providers step into the breach
At Keynote 2017, Apple originally announced the AirPower Charging Mat as the Qi Charger for wirelessly charging Apple devices. AirPower is designed not only to recharge newer iPhones, but also to power the Apple Watch and the AirPods wireless headphones. However, since 2017 there is no real news about the AirPower charging mat – since now. In the meantime, all references to it have even disappeared again from the official Apple website. At the keynote 2018 the topic was also hushed up. It remains to be seen when and if Apple will launch its first in-house Qi charger for the iPhone with the AirPower charging mat. The next Apple keynote is scheduled for March 25, 2019. In the meantime, the AirPods 2 with wireless charging have also been officially introduced.
Qi Chargers with 7.5 Watt – Wireless Charging for iPhones
Since Apple, as already mentioned, does not (yet) offer its own Qi chargers for inductive charging of iPhones, solutions from other manufacturers must be used to be able to charge Apple devices wirelessly. The manufacturers Belkin, as well as Mophie and Logitech have so far helped out with inductive charging. All products are also offered as Apple accessories through the official Apple Online Store. Apple has opted for wireless charging with up to 7.5 watts, which means that Qi chargers for iPhones must also support this new power level. The following Qi chargers all have the support for corresponding 7.5 watt Qi charging. Recently Apple has limited inductive charging with the iOS 13.1 update: Only high-quality Qi chargers from Anker, Belkin, Mophie, Logitech or Native Union are supposed to charge the iPhone with the full 7.5 watts. All other models that do not support “voltage regulation with fixed frequency” will be throttled down to 5 watts.
iPhone inductive Charging: How to find the best iPhone Charging Station?
How to find your best iPhone Wireless Charger? We got the answer: With iPhone Qi charging stations, you should make sure that the Qi standard is supported with up to 7.5 watts. Otherwise there are few restrictions. However, well-known manufacturers are generally advisable, as they already offer proven products. But Apple does not entirely leave the field to third party manufacturers. Some premium providers have developed Qi charging stations specially adapted to the iPhone 8 or X, which are recommended by Apple and are supposed to deliver particularly good results. Recommended iPhone charging stations come from Belkin or Mophie. The currently most popular iPhone Qi charger is the Belkin Boost Up 7.5W, which we will discuss further in the following section. At the end of 2019, new models from Native Union also appeared in the Apple Shop. Not officially recommended, but still generally also recommended for the iPhone, are the newer Qi Charging Stations from Anker.
iPhone Wireless Charging with Qi: Why MFi?
There are many Qi accessories available for iPhones: receiver mats, cases and much more. Although many of these accessories are indeed quite cheap, you should be aware of the fact that not all of these are part of Apple’s MFi program. The MFi program is a licensing program for developers of hardware and software peripherals that work with Apple’s iPod, iPad and iPhone, the so-called iDevices. The name is a shortened version of the original long-form Made For iPod.
For example, some Qi receiver mats have a terrible connector quality and sometimes cannot be recognized by your phone or even don’t work at all. This means that your iPhone could show you the message “This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone.” You will face the same problem with a lot of cases which are available.
What if I don’t use MFi licensed Qi Accessories?
With Apple’s new lightning connector, Apple can detect whether the cable/case/mat or whatever accessory you use is part of the MFi program or not. In the worst case they update the software, cap the current supply and you are not able to charge your iPhone anymore – even if it was working before. This does not apply to the iPhone 4 and 4S, since these devices don’t have a lightning connector.
Another point is that none MFi certified accessories also often don’t have full 1A output meaning it takes even more time to recharge your iPhone fully. We recommend always to check if the Qi accessory you want to buy for your iPhone covers the official MFi logo and is part of the MFi program. This ensures that you don’t have to worry from out interrupted charging processes or accessories not working (at all). Nevertheless, we also suggest Qi accessories without MFi for those of you who don’t worry too much for these issues.
Apple Watch Charging Dock & Docks
If you also own a Smartwatch from Apple, a wireless Apple Watch Charging Station is the right choice. Generally, third-party manufacturers in this segment should make sure that their products are “MFi certified” (“Made for iPhone”), which means that Apple has officially certified that charging station. This means that the Apple Watch can also be charged wirelessly without having to worry about possible damage. In terms of design, Apple Watch charging stations or docks can be divided into two categories: On the one hand, there are models that can only charge the Smartwatch itself and on the other hand there are models that can additionally charge an iPhone and the AirPods.
This way you can charge up to three of your Apple products with just one Apple Watch charging dock. Reliable charging stands are available from Belkin, Spigen, Opso & Arctic. Often only holders for the magnetic Apple Watch charging cable are offered, which themselves do not offer a charging function or other models that only serve as watch stands. So here it is important to pay close attention to the product description. It is always helpful if the Apple Watch charging station has a magnetic holder on the corresponding charging surface.
Magnetic Charging Station for Apple Watch
For all owners of an Apple Watch Series 1 to 4 and of any size, the original Apple Watch charging dock is an attractive alternative to the standard charger. On the magnetic charging dock, Apple’s Smartwatch can be charged either with the wrist strap open and lying flat or with the wrist strap closed and lying sideways. The same inductive connector is used here that is also supplied with the Apple Watch. For this purpose, the Apple Watch charging station must be connected with the enclosed Lightning on USB cable with an Apple 5W USB Power Adapter, which is not included in the scope of delivery. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch Charging Station is currently no longer available on amazon.de, which is why we have to rely on alternatives – although there are numerous models available.
Qi Car Mounts for Apple iPhone
There are also different ways to charge the iPhone wirelessly in the car – just not from Apple itself. For this purpose there are numerous mobile phone mounts or car mounts with 7.5 watt Qi-function optimized for the iPhone, some of them from well-known third party manufacturers. Most of the models can be attached with a suction cup or via the ventilation slot, but there are also iPhone car mounts as flat charging mat or for the cup holder. Well-known manufacturers with reliable models in the field of iPhone Qi chargers for cars are Choetech, steanum or Mpow. With the following link you will find a selection of the most popular iPhone Qi car mounts at a glance:
» iPhone Qi Car Mounts
iPhone 7 Wireless Charging: Qi Cases for upgrading with Qi
Older iPhone models can only be retrofitted with wireless charging via Qi receivers, for example in the form of a mobile phone case including an integrated receiver coil. If you already own a mobile phone case, you only need to use a Qi receiver for retrofitting. There are two variants of Qi cases for iPhones: Qi mobile phone cases with and without external battery or powerbank – the latter is also called Qi battery case. They are not only suitable for retrofitting with the Qi standard and protecting the smartphone, but also extend the service life of the device with an additional battery. All further information on this and a list of standard models can be found here. In the meantime, an original battery case from Apple has also been released for the iPhone 7, but without the Qi charging function.
» All iPhone 7 Qi Cases
iPhone 6 Wireless Charging: Adding Qi Standard
The older iPhone 6 also behaves in the same way as its successor iPhone 7 or this series – there are special Qi receivers with Lightning connectors or mobile phone cases with built-in receiver coil for wireless charging. So the principle remains the same. This means that wireless charging can also be retrofitted to the iPhone 6. You can find standard models in this article or under the following link:
» All iPhone 6 Qi Cases
Is Wireless Charging bad for your iPhone?
According to a frequently quoted report by the technology magazine ZDNet from the beginning of 2018 entitled “iPhone X/8: Wireless charging will wear out the battery faster than cable charging”, wireless charging would apparently put a much higher strain on the smartphone battery than conventional charging via cable. This was tested on an iPhone 8 or X, with the result that the battery would probably wear out faster with this technology. The emphasis here is on presumably, which we will go into more detail below. From our point of view, this is a rumor that has no good basis. Frequent taking up of this topic by well-known portals, which, no doubt, didn’t invest much effort to shed more light on the whole thing and to enhance it journalistically, shows that the main goal was to attract attention and clicks. We have taken the effort and compiled a list of facts for you here:
- First of all, it should be said that the report mentioned-above is merely an extrapolated estimate of “used charging cycles” (recorded via app) and not a specific laboratory test or similar.
- Furthermore, the author in no way claims to have significantly less battery performance at the end of its warranty period than Apple’s estimates, which still calculate 80% performance after 500 charge cycles.
- Rather, he assumes that the trickle charge required by the Qi charger to keep the battery at 100% ensures that new charge cycles are always used up and thus the battery wears out faster. With the cable, the device would be supplied with energy directly via the cable itself.
- The author extrapolates the cycles thus consumed and concludes that the 500 charge cycles are already used up after 20 months. However, the assumption that a charging cycle calculated by the manufacturer starts at 99% and ends at 100% is, in our opinion, fundamentally wrong and leads significantly to this worrying misjudgment.
- The provider Belkin goes one step further and offers an additional guarantee for its Boost Up 7.5 W Qi charging station, officially recommended by Apple, to counteract concerns. According to the manufacturer, devices that are charged with the Boost Up 7.5 W are covered against damage with up to 2000 €. The manufacturer also offers an extended warranty of 3 years on the charging station itself, if you register your product on the website. You can find more information about the warranty service described above and corresponding links with the warranty conditions here.
The leading smartphone manufacturer Samsung already built this technology into its smartphones six years ago and Apple also decided to use this technology – hardly knowing that the built-in batteries would wear out significantly before the end of the warranty period due to wireless charging. As usual in this environment, extensive tests under laboratory conditions were probably carried out by Apple technicians before taking this step. Estimating projections of a click-dependent technology author, which are opposed to this, are therefore not tenable in our opinion. This is also a reason why we have dealt with this topic here only late. In conclusion, it can be said that since then, as far as we know, no comparable report has appeared that has claimed or tested anything similar.
Conclusion: Apple iPhone Wireless Charging
If you want to use inductive charging on a newer iPhone model, you will necessarily have to use the manufacturers Belkin, Mophie or Logitech recommended by Apple. Around Apple’s announced wireless charging mat “AirPower” it has become quiet at first. The appearance of Apple’s AirPower Charging Mat was expected at the beginning of 2019 – we are curious when it will finally be released. If you want to charge older iPhone models such as iPhone 7 or iPhone 6 wirelessly and upgrade them with the Qi standard, all you need is a Qi cover or another Qi receiver – more information can be found here.
Video: iPhone Wireless Charger Review 2020
Images: © Apple, iphonetopics.com