When the Qi2 wireless charging standard was first announced at CES earlier this year it brought a fair amount of promise, notably with the addition of Apple to the Wireless Power Consortium and its inclusion of magnets. On Wednesday, the next step in this transition -- which should bring faster magnetic wireless charging to both iPhones and Android phones -- got a more solid time frame as the WPC announced that "Qi v2.0" certified devices will "be available in time for the holiday season."
Apple's recently announced iPhone 15 lineup already has support for Qi2 and Belkin, Mophie, Anker and Aircharge have already announced Qi2 accessories. The WPC says that "over 100 devices are currently in testing or in the certification testing queue."
With Qi2 (pronounced "chee two"), manufacturers will be able to incorporate magnets into their devices to make it easier for phones to snap onto wireless chargers and other magnetic accessories. While Apple has incorporated magnets for its MagSafe accessory line since the iPhone 12's release in 2020, Android phone users interested in a similar feature have relied on phone cases to use similar accessories.
Using magnets should help devices better line up with wireless chargers for faster recharging, especially compared to current Qi chargers that might not charge properly if your phone isn't lined up exactly as intended.
"These certified Qi2 chargers provide smoother, faster charging that is more energy efficient, and offers wide interoperability," said Paul Struhsaker, executive director for the WPC, in a press release announcing that the first devices have completed certification testing.
There are two main parts of Qi2, the magnetic portion known as the Magnetic Power Profile, which is based on Apple's MagSafe and utilizes magnets, as well as an "enhancement to the existing wireless charging Extended Power Profile." The latter portion does not include magnets but still "complies" with the new standard.
Only devices with the magnetic profile will feature the Qi2 branding, with other devices using the existing Qi logo even if they support EPP.
The WPC confirmed to CNET that the maximum wattage for devices with the magnetic profile is 15 watts -- which matches that of Apple's MagSafe chargers. It also confirmed that Qi2 wireless chargers will be able to charge older devices.
Because the incorporation of magnets is no longer proprietary to Apple, Android device-makers can now adopt Qi2 into their upcoming devices and allow them to tap into the technology and potentially the surrounding ecosystem of noncharging magnetic accessories.
The WPC's board includes members from Apple, Samsung and Google, with The Verge noting that Google's representative, Liyu Yang, has worked on bringing wireless charging to Pixel devices. A release announcing his appointment to the WPC board this month noted that he is "currently leading the investigation and design of next-generation wireless charging platforms for future Pixel products."
Apple has used the technology to add software features, such as StandBy mode on iOS 17, but no other phone-maker has yet announced similar additions.