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What is Qi2? The new wireless charging standard explained

Wireless charging is becoming more commonplace, with more smartphones supporting it than ever before. But is it finally time to ditch your charging cables? 

Wireless charging seems to be the new way forward for many smartphone users. The next-generation Qi2 wireless charging standard was announced in January 2023 with the aim of being more power-efficient than standard cables, with the added benefit of being compatible with multiple tech accessories. 

Apple has confiremd that Qi2 will be included on the new iPhone 15 too. If you want to learn more about the new Qi2 wireless charging standard, such as how it works and which devices it’s compatible with, then make sure you keep scrolling. 

What is Qi2?

Qi2 is the next generation of the Qi wireless charging standard used in smartphones and other devices 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.

Qi2 differs from the original technology by using magnets, specifically a Magnetic Power Profile. This will allow the wireless chargers to snap directly into the rear of smartphones, providing a secure, optimal connection without having to find the ‘sweet spot’ on your wireless charger. 

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 will Qi2 be available?

During IFA 2023, Anker announced a range of Qi2 wireless chargers, power banks and wireless magnetic pads, all of which support 15W ultra-fast magnetic wireless charging through the Qi2 standard. 

According to Anker, these new MagGo products will be the first fully compliant Qi2-compatible products to market. 

Apple has also confirmed that the iPhone 15 line of handsets will support Qi2. Unfortunately, multiple rumours have suggested that the latest Google Pixel 8 won’t come with support for Qi2, meaning that Pixel owners will have to wait a little longer to take advantage of this technology.

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?

Knowing which handsets support the latest Qi2 wireless charging standard is a little tricky to pin down at the moment.

Apple has confirmed that the iPhone 15 series will support the technology. As we’ve previously stated, it’s unlikely that the Pixel 8 will have support for Qi2, but we can’t confirm that completely until we hear from Google. 

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 very likely that over time, more flagship handsets – from the likes of Samsung, Oppo and Google – will start to integrate Qi2 in future devices. At this time, it will largely come down to what’s available to manufacturers during the development stage.

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