An Apple iPhone sitting on a wireless QI charger
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Wireless charging is one of those smartphone features that’s not essential, but it’s super convenient if you have it. You may think if your phone doesn’t have wireless charging there’s no way to retroactively add it. You’d be wrong.

How Does Wireless Charging Work?

It might not seem like it, but wireless charging is actually a very old technology. Electric toothbrushes have been using it since the 90s, and it was first included in phones in the late 2000s. To understand how you can add it to a phone, let’s take a look at how it works.

Wireless chargers use magnetic induction to transmit energy. Essentially, a magnetic field is created between the coils in the wireless charger and the coils in the phone. The magnetic energy is converted to electrical energy, which charges the battery.

Wireless charging coils.
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Those coils are the key for our purposes. Wireless charging coils are very thin and small. They don’t take up much space in the phone at all. In some cases, people have opened up phones and added the coils themselves. We’ll be doing something a lot simpler than that.

RELATED: How Does Wireless Charging Work?

Adding Wireless Charging to a Phone

Wireless Qi adapter
Amazon

All we need to do is add those wireless charging coils to your existing phone. This is surprisingly easy to do. The only thing to consider is what kind of charging port your phone has: USB-C? Lightning? Micro-USB? (Hopefully not that last one.) Modern Android phones tend to have USB-C, while iPhones use Lightning.

There’s a wide selection of “wireless charging adapters” available online. They’re simply a wireless charging coil connected to a small cable that plugs into your phone. The coil part often has adhesive to stick to the back of your phone. It can easily be hidden under a case.

The Nillkin Qi Receiver is a popular choice for those with USB-C charging ports. It comes in a “long version” or “short version” so you can match it to the size of your phone. This adapter is also water-resistant, so if your phone is water-resistant you can still take advantage of that.

Best USB-C Adapter

Nillkin Qi Receiver USB-C

An affordable wireless charging adapter for USB-C devices that offers different sizes for different sized phones.

Nillkin offers the same adapter with a Lightning cable for iPhones and iPads that don’t have wireless charging. Like the USB-C version, there are different sizes to help fit the device you have.

Best Lightning Adapter

Nillkin Qi Receiver Lightning

An affordable option with varying sizes for those with iPhones and iPads without wireless charging.

Micro-USB has mostly fallen out of use on smartphones and tablets. However, if you happen to have one of these old devices, you can still add wireless charging. Nillkin has the same adapter for micro-USB, but pay attention to the direction of the port.

Best Micro-USB Adapter

Nillkin Qi Receiver Micro-USB

You still can add wireless charging for an affordable price if you have a device with micro-USB.


These are just a few of the many options you can find online. Simply search “wireless charging adapter” along with the name of your phone’s charging port type (“USB-C”, “Lightning”, or “MicroUSB”) on Amazon or your favorite tech retailer. It’s surprising how uncomplicated wireless charging really is. You can pretty much add it to any device with a little sticker. Technology is cool.

Of course, you’ll also need a solid wireless charger. Not all wireless chargers are equal, and they can charge different devices at different speeds.

The Best Wireless Chargers of 2022

Best Wireless Charger Overall
Anker PowerWave II Stand
Best Budget Wireless Charger
TOZO W1 Wireless Charger
Best Samsung Wireless Charger
Samsung Wireless Fast Charger Stand
Best Wireless Charging Pad
Anker PowerWave Sense Alloy Pad
Best Wireless Charging Station
iOttie iON Wireless Duo
Best Wireless Charging Stand
Anker PowerWave II Stand
Best Wireless Car Charger
iOttie Auto Sense
Best Wireless Charger for iPhone
Apple MagSafe Charger
Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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