It’s ironic, but we here at WIRED have long been fans of wireless charging. Not having to fumble with cables is nice! Most wireless charging devices these days follow the Qi (pronounced chee) standard, which has taken its time reaching ubiquity (the user experience has not always been great). The Wireless Power Consortium, which manages the charging protocol, announced the next-generation version called Qi2 in early 2023, and we’re finally starting to see devices supporting it. It promises perfect alignment, with the potential for accessories to bridge the Android and iPhone divide.
What Is Qi2?
Qi2 is the new open wireless charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium, and it brings important upgrades over the original Qi standard. The headline is the Magnetic Power Profile (MPP), which is based on Apple’s MagSafe technology. (Apple was involved in developing the Qi2 standard.) This allows Qi2-branded devices to add a ring of magnets to ensure perfect alignment with chargers and allow for faster charging speeds.
The existing, non-magnetic wireless charging Extended Power Profile (EPP) has also been updated to comply with Qi2. This means that devices without magnets will be branded Qi and will still work with Qi2 chargers. Qi2 is also fully backward compatible, so you can charge an older Qi Android phone or MagSafe iPhone on a Qi2 charger. You can also use any Qi chargers to charge Qi2 devices, though they will charge at slower speeds.
Benefits of Qi2
Wireless charging with Qi2 brings several improvements over the original Qi standard.
Greater efficiency: Wireless charging relies on electromagnetic coils. One or more induction coils in the charging base create a magnetic field and transmit energy. A smaller coil in your phone or other device harvests it. The coils must be aligned for energy to flow between them and the magnets in the new Magnetic Power Profile ensure perfect alignment so less power is lost. When coils are misaligned, energy is often lost as heat, which is also not good for battery health.
Faster charging: The Qi standard was originally limited to 5-watt charging speeds, but Qi2 allows certified phones to charge at 15 watts (just like MagSafe). We expect this charging rate to increase as the Wireless Power Consortium works to improve the Qi2 standard, but probably not until 2025. Some manufacturers already offer speedier wireless charging, such as OnePlus and Xiaomi, but you have to use a specific wireless charger to see those gains.
Wider compatibility for accessories: Any Qi2 charger can charge any Qi2 device, so you can buy a single charger capable of juicing up an iPhone or Android phone. For Qi-supporting phones that lack magnets, you will likely soon be able to buy a case with a magnetic ring that works with Qi2 (as you can currently with MagSafe).
Other improvements Qi2 brings over Qi include wider device compatibility (from tablets to wearables), adaptive charging so chargers can talk to devices to supply the power they need instead of having a fixed power output, and enhanced safety with better heat management and foreign object detection.
Expect a Wave of Qi2 Devices
Before a device can bear the Qi2 logo, the Wireless Power Consortium must certify it in its independent labs. The Qi2 specification includes charging rate, magnet strength, and device compatibility. The Qi2 logo promises that the device meets the WPC’s exacting standards. It is likely that, as with the original Qi standard, there will soon be devices available that have not passed through the official Qi2 certification process.
Apple’s iPhone 15 range supports Qi2, and accessory makers like Anker, Belkin, Nomad, and Mophie have all announced Qi2 chargers. You can expect a much wider range of Qi2 accessories to land soon, and we expect most Android manufacturers to jump on board in 2024. The WPC hopes that Qi2 will unify wireless charging and finally provide the universal global standard we have been waiting for.