It’s been almost four years since Apple first announced wireless charging capabilities in its iPhones. Apple diehards were buzzing at the news. Apple wasn’t the first company to build Qi wireless charging into smartphones, but as the most iconic smartphone company in the world, they received a lot of attention about it. Fast forward to 2021. The hype has sizzled, but now wireless charging is available in more smartphones than ever before. According to Powermat, the self-described largest wireless charging network in the world, more than ninety smartphones on the market today have wireless charging capabilities.
So what’s the deal with wireless charging? How does it really work and should you be using it to charge up your smartphone? We’re taking a look at the pros and cons to help inform your decision.
How wireless charging for smartphones works
Wireless charging uses a base station or charging pad to transmit power using electromagnetic waves. These waves are then picked up by a receiver coil embedded in the back of your phone that transforms the waves into electricity. This electricity is then used to charge the smartphone.
When you center your smartphone onto a wireless charging pad, the only thing you’ll notice is the change of your battery icon from its standard mode to a battery with a bolt in the middle, signalling your phone is actively being charged.
Wireless charging is also referred to as Qi charging or Qi technology. The Qi standard was introduced in 2008, so the technology is relatively new. Qi uses both resonant and inductive charging, of which the latter requires devices to be close to each other in order to work.
Disadvantages of charging your smartphone wirelessly
- Not exactly wireless. When people hear the term wireless, they immediately think that they can move around pretty freely. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with wireless charging. Whereas with a cord you are at least free to move around the diameter of the cord, with current wireless charging your smartphone has to stay on top of the charging pad in order to continuously charge.
- You aren’t able to use your phone. See above. The phone needs to stay on the pad in order to continue charging.
- It takes longer to charge your phone. The efficiency of Qi charging is still lower than cable charging, so it takes more time to charge wirelessly using the same amount of power. Wireless charging supposedly takes 30-80% longer to fully charge your device than a cable.
- You have to pay closer attention to your phone. Maybe the biggest disadvantage that is often overlooked by people is the need to pay closer attention to charging your phone. This is because, if you pick up your phone to quickly use it while it’s being charged, you have to be much more deliberate when you put it back down. People are used to picking their phone up and putting it down without much thought. With a cord connected, it’s not a big deal. If you put your phone back down absentmindedly and it’s not perfectly placed on the pad, it’s not charging. I can attest to this being a big issue with wireless charging.
- Wireless charging pads cost more than cable chargers. As a pretty new technology, it’s more costly to purchase a wireless charging pad, especially when new smartphones come with a corded charger in the box.
Advantages of charging your smartphone wirelessly
- Less cords to worry about. This one’s a no brainer. With wireless technology, you don’t need to carry around your USB-c charger wherever you go. You just need one cable that is connected to the charging mat.
- Universal compatibility. Qi charging is the universal standard, so if you have multiple different wireless capable devices, you can use the same charging pad without any issue.
- Safer connections. Since the charging is all occurring inside an enclosed environment and without cords, there’s no corrosion because there is no exposure to water or oxygen. This also means that there is less risk of electrical faults. This is a pretty big plus, since there are plenty of companies selling janky charging cables. Need a certified lightning cable? Check out this one.
- More durable. Without having to regularly plug or unplug, there’s also no wear and tear on the smartphone sockets. If you alternate between charging wirelessly and with cables, this also means less wear and tear on your cables.
- Won’t overheat your phone. When your smartphone is fully charged, the wireless charger automatically shuts off. This means less energy, a safer charge, and no overheated battery.
Charge your smartphone wirelessly with your Rokform case on
There are a couple of ways to enable wireless charging with your Rokform case still on.
- Option 1: Remove the magnet that's embedded in your case. You won’t be able to use the magnet technology with the magnet removed, but then again, you can’t actually use your phone while it’s charging as it will need to stay on the charging pad.
- Option 2: Remove the magnet that’s embedded in your case and replace it with a Magnetic RokLock Plug. By removing the existing Neodymium magnet, which rests in the center of the phone, and using the magnet strategically placed inside of the Magnetic RokLock plug, customers will be able to easily charge their phones wireless while keeping their Rokform cases (and magnetic technology!) on their phones.
- Option 3: Charge wirelessly while your phone is mounted with the RokLock Wireless Charger. If you have a RokLock Car Dash Mount or Windshield Mount, you can now charge your phone wirelessly while it's mounted and in use! Put the RokLock Wireless Charger onto your car mount and then mount your Rokform case into place. You won't have to worry about one of the disadvantages we mentioned above, because with your case locked into place, you'll know it's in the perfect spot and actively charging.
Note: If you use any Rokform mounts with RokLock built in, you’ll have to remove the RokLock plug before you can mount onto our accessories. Find out more about the Magnetic RokLock Plug.
Four years into wireless charging accessibility on the iPhones, our guess is you’ve tried charging wirelessly at least once. We love having the option to charge wirelessly, but with the ease of cable charging and speed of fast charging, our favorite charging method is still with a cable.
What are your thoughts? Which do you prefer, wireless charging or fast charging via USB cable? Let us know in the comments below.