What to look for in a wireless charger for your iPhone

Macworld | Aug 31, 2018

All wireless chargers are not the same. Here’s what you should consider before you buy.

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You’ve got a new iPhone and want to take advantage of wireless charging. Just buy whatever’s cheap and looks good, right?

Wrong. All wireless chargers are not the same. Here are some of the things you should consider as you dive into the world of wireless charging.

First, consider whether you want a wireless charging pad or a stand.

Stands often cost a little bit more, but they’re convenient to keep on your on your desk.

I’ve listed three of our favorite wireless chargers in the description below, but for a more complete and up to date list, check out the article on Macworld.com.

When shopping for a stand, look for one that has a steep enough angle that the TrueDepth sensor can see you clearly. You want to unlock your phone with Face ID without removing it from the stand.

You also want to make sure it’s designed to charge your phone in either portrait or landscape mode, so you can watch videos while it charges.

A good stand will have a nice stable base that doesn’t slide around or tip over as you tap and swipe around on your phone.

Instead of a stand, you may prefer a pad—they’re usually a little cheaper and you might want your phone to lie flat if it’s somewhere like yoru bedside table.

A good charging pad will have rubber on the bottom and enough heft to stay put without sliding around, and the top should grip your phone well enough to keep it from moving easily.

Some pads have a small coil that requires very precise phone placement to charge; you want one with a nice big “sweet spot” so you don’t have to be so exact.

Whether you get a phone or a stand, you want to make sure it supports Apple’s somewhat odd 7.5-watt charging rate.

Now, any wireless charger that uses the Qi standard will charge your iPhone at 5 watts. That may soudn the same as the adapter that comes in your iPhone box, but wireless is usually less efficient so don’t expect quite the same speed. If you want speed, use the iPad adapter or a USB-C adapter. We’ve got a link in the description to a video where we test the performance of wired power adapters.

Some chargers say they support 10-watt fast wireless charging, but that speed is only supported on certain Android phones.

And just because a charger says it does 10 watts on those Android phones does not mean it charges iPhones at anything more than the 5-watt minimum. So look for one that specifically says it supports 7.5 watt iPhone charging.

Finally, if you’re the type to put a case on your iPhone, make sure you get a wireless charger will work through most iPhone cases. None of them will work if your case has a metal back or is really thick, but a quality charger should still work fine if you’ve got an average-sized iPhone case.

Keep all these things in mind and you’ll be sure to get a wireless charger that’s such a joy to use, you’ll never plug in your iPhone again
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