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What is Qi2? The new wireless charging standard explained

Wireless charging is a hugely popular feature on most flagship smartphones, but it’s not the perfect way to ditch the cables not yet, anyway. 

The next-gen Qi2 wireless charging standard has been revealed, and it comes with huge upgrades to the charging system that should not only make it easier but more power-efficient to wirelessly top up your smartphone and other tech accessories. 

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the new Qi2 wireless charging standard coming to smartphones later this year. 

What is Qi2?

Qi2 is the next generation of the Qi wireless charging standard used in smartphones and other consumer tech to provide charging capabilities without the need to plug in a cable. While the original Qi charging standard is very much still in use, the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) has big ideas on how to improve the standard.

The biggest change will be the use of magnets, or more specifically a Magnetic Power Profile, in Qi2, allowing magnetic wireless chargers to snap into place on the rear of smartphones, providing a secure, optimal connection without having to find the ‘sweet spot’ on your wireless charger. We’ve all been there, right?

It should also trigger a boom in wireless charging availability as the magnetic Qi2 standard opens the market to “new accessories that wouldn’t be chargeable using current flat surface-to-flat surface devices” according to the WPC. 

When was the original Qi standard announced?

The original Qi wireless standard was announced in 2008. Although there have been several minor improvements to the standard in the years since, this is the biggest step forward in Qi wireless charging since its inception. 

What’s the difference between Qi2 and MagSafe?

At this point, you might’ve realised there are some similarities between the newly announced Qi2 standard and Apple’s proprietary MagSafe technology it revealed on the iPhone 12 in 2020 and that’s because Apple has had a direct hand in shaping the Qi2 wireless standard.

According to the WPC, Apple “provided the basis for the new Qi2 standard building on its MagSafe technology”, though with different parties working on the magnetic power tech specifically.

A white-silver disk connected to a white wire resting on a wooden table

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of similarities between MagSafe and Qi2 both use magnets to provide a secure, power-efficient way to wirelessly attach chargers to smartphones, and both deliver a slightly faster charging speed than standard Qi.

They could differ more as the technology matures, however, with the WPC claiming that the new standard could introduce “significant future increases in wireless charging speeds” further down the line.

As we know all too well, Apple doesn’t tend to chase fast charging speeds, so that could be a key differentiator as the tech matures.  

Which phones support Qi2?

Here’s the disappointing part no Android smartphones actually offer support for the new Qi2 standard just yet. 

Unlike the original Qi charging standard that took a few years to materialise, the WPC has confirmed that Qi2-compatible smartphones and chargers are set to be available by the end of 2023. Still, there’s no word on which smartphones in particular will boast the tech.

It’s not hard to imagine that it’ll be available in flagship smartphones from manufacturers like Samsung, Oppo and maybe even Apple, but it’ll largely come down to what’s available to manufacturers during the development stage. 

This may mean that 2023 flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S23 miss out on the tech, but we’ll have to wait and see for now.

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