Not every iPhone is capable of wireless charging and those that do might support Apple‘s advanced MagSafe connection or the more commonplace variety that was introduced several years ago. While wireless charging isn’t a necessity since every iPhone made so far still allows charging through its Lightning port, it happens to be a very convenient feature for intermittent top-ups as well as overnight charging.

Wireless charging, also known as inductive coupling, was invented over a hundred years ago and was used in various consumer products decades before the first smartphone launched. For example, electric toothbrushes and razors often use inductive charging bases to avoid any risk of water shorting out the device. Qi charging came to smartphones in 2012, allowing the user to drop the phone on a charger without fussing with a cable, even though it isn’t always as easy as that. Apple introduced MagSafe wireless charging in 2020 offering a way to ensure proper alignment of the charger’s coils with those of the iPhone, solving a common problem with Qi chargers.

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Identifying which iPhone supports wireless charging is very simple. Apple began supporting Qi charging with its iPhone 8, which was released in 2017, lagging several years behind Android in this case. Earlier iPhone models can only be charged with a wall adapter and Lightning cable. While that includes the original iPhone SE, the second and third-generation iPhone SE are compatible with Qi charging. Apple‘s new MagSafe charging uses magnets within the charging puck, which is sold separately, to guide the user’s placement on their iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 for perfect alignment and optimal charging.

Best iPhone Wireless Charging

Apple MagSafe iPhone 12 Charging

Without a doubt, MagSafe is the superior charging technology, at least for an iPhone. With twice the power capacity of Qi charging, Apple‘s MagSafe can supply power to an iPhone much more quickly. More importantly, the magnetic alignment means the iPhone can receive the full amount of power being delivered by the MagSafe cable. The most power that can possibly be received by an iPhone via Qi charging is 7.5 watts. If the iPhone isn’t laid on the charging mat or in the dock at the ideal location the speed could be greatly reduced or even fail to charge at all.

Of course, that is why Apple invented the MagSafe connection and built a ring of magnets into the iPhone 12 and 13 series. The solution allows up to 15 watts of wireless power to flow reliably to the iPhone. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 12 mini and 13 mini can receive a maximum of 12 watts wirelessly. With MagSafe charging it’s okay to leave a case on the iPhone as long as it’s compatible with MagSafe, another significant benefit over Qi charging which is most reliable without a case.