Wireless charging means you can re-energize your phone’s battery without a physical tether. It also prevents possible damage to your phone’s charging port. Unfortunately, not all phones support wireless charging, but we’ll tell you which iPhone models do.
Why Wireless Charging?
When you recharge your iPhone’s battery without plugging a cord into it, this reduces wear and tear or possible damage to the Lightning port.
For example, if you recharge with a wired connection and your cat jumps onto the bedside table and knocks your phone off, leaving it dangling, this could damage the port. Ultimately, the less time your iPhone is physically tethered to a charger, the better.
A wireless charging setup typically consists of a circular pad wider than the width of your iPhone. You simply place your iPhone face-up on the pad, and the battery begins to charge. You can only charge an Apple Watch wirelessly via the packaged dock or a compatible third-party solution.
Technically, the power transfer process does require a cord—the power cord that connects the wireless charging pad to an electrical outlet. The energy passes from the power outlet through the cord and into the charging pad.
When your phone begins charging, the screen illuminates a circular animation, along with a “charging” message. A little lightning bolt also appears over the battery icon on the status bar. Meanwhile, the charging pad illuminates a single, multicolor LED, or a ring as a visual indicator of the current charging state.
iPhones that support wireless charging are based on the Qi open interface standard.
What Is Qi?
Pronounced “chee,” Qi is a Chinese word that means “life energy.” In this case, the word refers to a wireless standard developed and maintained by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). It defines energy transferred from one device to another without a physical cable.
An induction coil within the wireless charging pad station continuously receives small amounts of power to remain in a standby state until it detects the receiver coil located inside your iPhone. It then draws more power from the wall outlet.
When the two coils make contact, they create an alternating electromagnetic field. The iPhone’s receiver coil generates a current from this field that’s converted into direct current (electrical energy) used by the iPhone’s battery. The whole process is called magnetic induction.
According to the WPC, there are over 3,700 Qi-certified products. If a product has Qi certification, you’ll see the logo on the product and its packaging. The consortium also provides a Qi-Certified product database, so you can find and purchase the correct wireless charging station for your iPhone.
iPhones That Support Wireless Charging
The iPhone models that support wireless charging feature glass backs, which enable their receiver coils to connect with a charging pad’s induction coil.
You can, however, install a protective cover on your iPhone and still take advantage of wireless charging. Avoid cases that store items with magnetic strips or RFID chips, like credit cards, passports, hotel keys, and so on, as the recharging process could damage their functionality. Either remove these items before you charge your phone or use a different protective cover.
Thick cases and covers might also be problematic. If charging doesn’t start automatically, remove the case, and try again.
The following iPhones are compatible with wireless charging:
- iPhone 11 Pro Max (2019)
- iPhone 11 Pro (2019)
- iPhone 11 (2019)
- iPhone XR (2018)
- iPhone XS Max (2018)
- iPhone XS (2018)
- iPhone X (2017)
- iPhone 8 Plus (2017)
- iPhone 8 (2017)
Unless Apple introduces a new method of charging, future iPhones should also include wireless charging.
Wireless Charging Speeds
You might be wondering whether wireless charging is faster than wired. The iPhone models we listed above support both Fast Wireless Charging (iOS 11.2 and newer) and Fast Wired Charging. Wireless charging, however, is notably slower than wired, given air is less conductive than a wire.
If you need a quick charge before you leave the house or office, a wired connection is the way to go. To charge up overnight or throughout the day while you work, though, a wireless charging station might be the better solution.
The current Qi standard supports 5 (Baseline Power Profile) to 15 watts (Extended Power Profile). The higher the number, the faster the phone battery recharges. All compatible iPhones support up to 7.5 watts, although newer handsets support 10 watts.
Does Your iPhone Support Wireless Charging?
The easiest way to verify if your iPhone supports wireless charging is to check for a physical Home button. The iPhone X to 11 Pro and newer have edge-to-edge screens and don’t have a Home button. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are the only two models with a Home button that also support wireless charging.
Another way to verify is to check your iPhone’s model number. To find your model number on your device, tap Settings > General > About. Next, tap the part number listed to the right of “Model Number” to reveal it.
The iPhone model numbers capable of wireless charging are below:
- iPhone 11 Pro Max: A2160 (Canada, U.S.), A2217 (China mainland, Hong Kong, Macao), and A2215 (other)
- iPhone 11 Pro: A2161 (Canada, U.S.), A2220 (China mainland, Hong Kong, Macao), and A2218 (other)
- iPhone 11: A2111 (Canada, U.S.), A2223 (China mainland, Hong Kong, Macao), and A2221 (other)
- iPhone XS Max: A1921, A2101, and A2102 (Japan); A2103 and A2104 (China mainland)
- iPhone XS: A1920, A2097, and A2098 (Japan); A2099 and A2100 (China mainland)
- iPhone XR: A1984, A2105, and A2106 (Japan); A2107 and A2108 (China mainland)
- iPhone X: A1865, A1901, and A1902 (Japan)
- iPhone 8 Plus: A1864, A1897, and A1898 (Japan)
- iPhone 8: A1863, A1905, and A1906 (Japan)
There are a few things to keep in mind when you use a wireless charger. First, your iPhone will not charge wirelessly if it’s physically connected to a charger or USB port. You can only charge it from one source or the other.
Second, your iPhone might feel slightly warmer than usual when you wirelessly charge it due to unused energy that represents as heat. This tends to happen when the coils within the charging pad and phone are not lined up correctly, or if the battery isn’t fully collecting or storing energy.
According to Apple, iOS might limit charging above 80 percent if the battery gets too warm. If this occurs, Apple suggests you move the phone and charger to a cooler location. When the temperature drops, your iPhone will charge normally.
Vibrations might also extend the wireless charging time or even prevent your iPhone’s battery from wirelessly charging. Notifications, texts, and other alerts that use vibrations might shift your iPhone while it rests on the charger and stop the power transfer. To prevent this, simply put your iPhone in Do Not Disturb mode or turn off vibrations altogether when you charge it.
Finally, putting your phone and charging pad next to your bed could be problematic if you tend to thrash around a lot while you sleep. Place them somewhere else in the room, so your iPhone can properly recharge, and you won’t be distracted by notification sounds.