Qi2 — the next version of the wireless charging standard, now with more magnets! — is more almost-here than ever. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) announced today that the first Qi v2.0 devices are nearly through the certification process, with the first available “in time for the holiday season” and more than 100 either in certification testing or waiting in line. The iPhone 15 series will be the first Qi2-certified phones.
Qi is the open wireless charging standard that pretty much everyone uses. It’s in Androids and iPhones, and MagSafe is built on top of it. Version 2.0 includes updates to the non-magnetic Qi standard, which we’ll get to, but it also introduces Qi2.
Qi2 promises faster, less finicky wireless charging using MagSafe-like rings of magnets in both device and charger to ensure proper coil alignment. When I say MagSafe-like, I mean that Apple contributed the Magnetic Power Profile technology to the new standard.
In addition to easier alignment, Qi2 will offer the same higher charging rates — up to 15W — to all compatible devices. Right now, iPhones can only charge at up to 7.5W on regular Qi chargers (with or without magnets); they can do 15W, but only on more expensive MagSafe-certified chargers. Android phones, meanwhile, could charge at up to 15W (but realistically 9 or 10W) on those same standard Qi chargers, including the ones with magnets, but would only charge at 5W or less on MagSafe chargers.
Qi2 should make charging rates much more predictable. After this piece first published, Apple spokesperson Jacqueline Roy confirmed to The Verge via email that the iPhone 15 will charge at up to 15W on a certified Qi2 charger. That same charger will also charge other Qi2-certified devices, including future Android phones, at the same rate.
Only Qi version 2.0 devices with the Magnetic Power Profile, i.e. generic MagSafe, will get the Qi2 branding. According to the WPC’s press release today, the other part of the v2.0 update consists of “an enhancement to the existing wireless charging Extended Power Profile (EPP) that does not include magnets but complies with the Qi v 2.0 standard.” Qi v2.0 devices that don’t have magnets won’t get the Qi2 branding but will keep the existing Qi logo.
Paul Golden, the marketing director for the WPC, said that all Qi v2.0 devices “share a common compatibility layer” and will be able to interoperate: a magnetic charger will still charge a non-magnetic Qi v2.0 device, and vice versa. I asked if Qi2 — the magnetic version — could be added to existing Qi devices through third-party accessories like cases, and he replied, “We expect this should be possible in the future.”
When last we heard from the WPC, around the time the iPhone 15 launched with “future Qi2 wireless charging,” the standards body was waiting for its certification equipment to be delivered. A bunch of companies had already announced Qi2 chargers — including Anker, Belkin, and Mophie, but those chargers need certification to launch. The first should finally be through certification as early as the end of this week, and they’ll be listed in the Qi product database when they do.
Aside from the iPhone 15 family, the only other Qi2 devices we know about so far are chargers and battery packs. We don’t even know whether earlier MagSafe iPhones are compatible. But an Apple-only Qi2 defeats the whole point. So which Android phone manufacturer will be the first to ship a Qi2 phone?
Google might not be the first, but I’m pretty sure it’ll put Qi2 in the next Pixel or possibly the one after that. As I was poking around the WPC website on Tuesday evening (as one does), I found this blog post announcing a new member of the WPC board of directors. Liyu Yang, the newest board member, is a wireless charging expert and Google senior hardware engineer who has worked on the Pixel phones’ wireless charging systems since 2017. Per the post, “Liyu is currently leading the investigation and design of next-generation wireless charging platforms for future Pixel products.”
Updated November 15th, 1:12PM ET: After this story first published, Apple spokesperson Jacqueline Roy confirmed via email that iPhone 15 series phones will charge at 15W on a certified Qi2 charger.