Apple may bring wireless charging to the iPhone 8, but you can ditch the charging cable with your current iPhone with a little legwork. Let’s review your options and answer your questions.
Wait, what is wireless charging?
It’s where you place your phone on a charging mat instead of having to plug in your suddenly gauche charging cable. If you want to be precise, call it inductive charging. If you have an electric toothbrush, then you already use inductive charging — your toothbrush charges when it’s simply placed on its charger.
Don’t some Samsung phones have it?
Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S8 ($669.88 at Amazon Marketplace) and, before it, the Samsung Galaxy S7 ($330.67 at Amazon.com) can be charged wirelessly.
What are the benefits?
Convenience. And perhaps a feeling of superiority when you casually place your iPhone on a charging mat and think of your friends still using that beat-up Lightning cable.
Are there any downsides?
It’ll likely take longer to charge your phone. CNET found that the Galaxy S8 took considerably longer to charge when using the charging pad: 3.5 hours to charge wirelessly, compared to less than 2 hours when charged with the USB-C cable.
Also, some assembly is required to retrofit an iPhone for wireless charging. You’ll need to buy a wireless charging pad for your iPhone and an adapter that you slip between your phone and its case.
OK, so what do I need to buy for my iPhone?
This wireless charging adapter from DanForce gets good reviews on Amazon and costs less than $20 (about £15 or AU$25). The wafer-thin adapter sits between your iPhone and its case and has a short cable that wraps around and plugs into your iPhone’s Lightning port.
I haven’t used this product, but it says it’s compatible with iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 6, 6 Plus, 5, 5S and 5C. If you have a thick case, however, it might not work. The product description states it’ll work with cases up to 7mm thick. You’ll find a multitude of other Qi wireless adapters for iPhone on Amazon, but customer reviews are mixed.
The adapter is one half of the wireless-charging equation. The other half is a charging pad. The above DanForce adapter works with Qi charging pads, which is the most common standard for wireless phone chargers. You’ll find plenty of Qi chargers on Amazon.com, from DanForce and others.
What about those wireless charging stations at Starbucks?
Welp, here’s where we all get frustrated yet again by competing standards before one is declared the winner. The charging stations at Starbucks are from Duracell Powermat, which uses a separate standard and, of course, aren’t compatible with Qi devices. If you want to charge your iPhone at Starbucks, then you’ll need a $15 Powermat Ring adapter.
Read more: 3 common iPhone battery problems and how to fix them