One of the biggest changes in Apple’s new iPhones is the long-awaited addition of wireless charging. Wireless charging has been around for years at this point, which has left time for a large ecosystem of accessories to build up.
So, if you’re an iPhone user, you’ll probably want some kind of wireless charger to use with your new phone. Fortunately, Apple is using a wireless charging standard, called Qi, that nearly every other company in the industry has adopted (instead of making its own weird proprietary format), so getting a wireless charger for your iPhone 8 or iPhone X is actually pretty easy and pretty cheap.
Apple will be eventually releasing its own wireless charger, called AirPower, but it’s not set to release until sometime next year. If you want to be able to charge an iPhone 8 or iPhone X sooner, you’ll need a third party alternative.
There are tons of wireless charging options out there in the world, and finding one that’s actually good for your new iPhone can be confusing. So to help you get ready, we’ve put together a guide of what to look for in a wireless charger for your next iPhone.
- Qi charging: This may seem obvious, but there are a couple other wireless charging standards out there, so make sure whatever you pick up supports the Qi standard.
- 7.5W of power: The iPhone X and iPhone 8 are designed to charge at a maximum speed of 7.5W. So while chargers that output less than that will probably charge your phone, you’ll get the best performance from something rated for the full 7.5W.
- Standard connector: Most wireless charging pads plug in to an adapter of some kind to actually connect to a wall outlet. Some companies use weird proprietary jacks to plug in the pads, and others use standard ones like MicroUSB or USB-C. If you can, it’s probably better to go with a standard connector, just in case you damage or lose the cable. And while there aren’t any yet, it might be worth holding out for someone to make a Lighting-compatible charging pad so that you’ll be able to directly charge your phone with one cable, should you need to.
- Wall adapter: By the same vein, check to see if your charging pad actually comes with a wall adapter. If you’re expected to provide your own, make sure that it can provide enough wattage to charge at full speed — a 7.5W pad with a 5W wall jack will only charge at 5W.
- Brand: A wireless charging pad is still a charger, and when it comes to anything that passes electrical current through your $699–$999 smartphone, you’ll want to be extra sure that nothing is going to get accidentally fried. When in doubt, stick to brands with a good reputation for charging gear, like Anker, RavPower, Mophie, Belkin, or Samsung, to name a few.
- Size and aesthetics: There are a bunch of styles of wireless chargers, some big, some small, some flat, and some that charge your phone at an angle. Consider what you’d want on your desk or bedside table before buying.
- Future proofing: The iPhone 8 and iPhone X only support up to 7.5W for fast charging, but the latest Qi 1.2 standard actually offers up to 15W for compatible devices (like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8). So if you’re investing in wireless chargers, it might be worth looking out for a more powerful charger that will support future devices, should you change phones.
- AirPower: Lastly, you might just want to wait a bit. Apple showed off a new wireless charger, called AirPower, that’s set to launch sometime next year, which is expected to be able to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods simultaneously — typically, chargers can only power one device at a time. It’ll also use a Lightning cable for connectivity, which as mentioned before is useful for iPhone users. Plus, Apple is working with Qi to integrate AirPower features into the Qi standard, so it’s possible we’ll see new third-party chargers with similar functionality not too farther down the road.