The iPhone 15 and 15 Pro are the first phones to ship with the new Qi2 magnetic wireless charging standard. Well, sort of: it turns out they aren’t Qi2-certified yet. But neither is anything else.
Qi2 is an update to the Qi wireless charging standard that adds a ring of magnets to ensure proper alignment of the charging coils. You know, like MagSafe. Unlike MagSafe, Qi2 is an open standard — Apple even contributed its “magnetic power profile” to it — and Android phone makers are expected to adopt it as well. That’s great. Few things are more frustrating than waking up to a dead phone because you plopped it on the charger a few millimeters off-center, and magnetic alignment fixes that. (So does plugging it in, but bear with me.)
Qi2 also potentially fixes the counterintuitive but true situation that if you take an $18 MagSafe-compatible charger and stick it on your iPhone, the iPhone will charge at 7.5W, but if you slap a magnetic case on your Android phone and put it on the same charger, it’ll charge at 10W. Stick that same Android phone on a certified MagSafe charger, and it’ll drop down to 5W or even less, while an iPhone would get 15W. Qi2 offers the tantalizing possibility of having one damn magnetic charger that aligns properly every time and charges everything at the same rate.
This is good news for iPhone owners: Apple currently limits most wireless chargers to that 7.5W rate, reserving faster 15W charging for (expensive) MagSafe-certified chargers. Qi2 ought to change that, letting iPhones charge wirelessly at 15W with any Qi2-compatible charger.
Anker, Belkin, and Mophie have all announced Qi2 chargers in the past few weeks, and while their official press releases have conspicuously avoided mentioning the iPhone, a Belkin spokesperson told The Verge’s Jon Porter that “the Qi2 chargers will be able to charge MagSafe iPhones at 15W.” In an email today, Belkin’s Cassie Pineda told The Verge, “We have not yet tested the iPhone 15 lineup on this product but we expect it should charge iPhone 15 devices at up to 15W.”
But Apple hasn’t actually specified what charge rates it’ll support over Qi2. The press release for the 15 Pro merely refers to MagSafe and “future Qi2 wireless charging.” There’s no mention of Qi2 in the official specifications for the iPhone or on Apple’s support page that I can find, and Kaiann Drance, Apple’s VP of iPhone product marketing, only mentioned Qi2 in passing.
What’s with the mystery? Well, Paul Golden, the marketing director for the Wireless Power Consortium, which developed the Qi2 standard, told The Verge via email,
I can tell you that no Qi2 products have been certified yet. The Qi2 specification has been finalized. We’re awaiting the certification testing equipment to be delivered, tested and verified.
That explains why the WPC doesn’t have a public-facing certification database for Qi2 like it does for Qi: ain’t nothing to put in it yet.
Golden previously told The Verge that “Magnet size, dimensions and strength will all be specified in the [Qi2] standard,” but we don’t know whether previous MagSafe iPhones will work with Qi2 chargers. We also don’t know whether hypothetical future Qi2 phones will work with all the neat MagSafe-compatible handles, mounts, and stands that are already out there. Be neat if they could, though.
If the iPhone 15 does support 15W charging over Qi2, there’s still at least one reason to spring for MagSafe certification anyway: StandBy mode. While you can use StandBy with any charger as long as it’s upright and in landscape mode, if you use it with a MagSafe-certified charger, it can remember your preferences for that particular location. So if you have a charger by your nightstand and one on your desk, it’ll automatically pop up the right StandBy screen.
Golden told us that the WPC is currently aiming for a “soft launch” in October and full rollout in November. Hopefully, we’ll have more answers soon.
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.