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Cable charging will always have its place under the sun, but if you’re ready to take the leap to electrical freedom, here’s a crash course in wireless charging.
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that our species loves a good life hack. There are countless TikToks, Pinterest pins, YouTube vids, articles, and…ahem…blogs…on the very subject. We can’t be bothered with something being harder than it should be.
A crowd chanting: What do we want? Convenience! When do we want it? Yesterday!
And it can also be aesthetically pleasing at the same time? Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!


One such life hack the world didn’t know it needed was wireless charging. The funny thing is, wireless charging has technically been around since Nikola Tesla discovered and demonstrated energy transmission without the use of pesky cables in the late 1800s. It wasn’t until relatively recently that this technology was made a practical part of everyday life in the form of Qi chargers.


So here's the rundown of FAQs surrounding wireless charging. Let's go!

How does wireless charging work?

The genius that is wireless charging works through what is called electromagnetic induction. If you’re already saying “electro-whooza-whats-it?” then buckle up for a bit of a nerdy word dump:
In a nutshell, power enters into the charger through an outlet, along the cable, and into the charger’s transmitting copper coil. Very simply put, when you coil copper wire around and around, it can create a small magnetic field. When a similar receiving copper coil is placed within reach of the transmitting coil, it induces an electrical current that reverses its direction many times per second at regular intervals. This creates a voltage that gets passed to the receiving coil and…charges the device’s battery.
So basically…because science.


So what exactly is Qi?

First off, if your brain read that as Qi as in ‘queen’ or ‘quiche,’ it would be wrong. It’s pronounced ‘chee’ as in ‘cheek’ or “mochachino” or “Oh no, Craig! You just slopped some Cheez Wiz on your chinos.” It comes from a Chinese word meaning “life source” or “energy flow.” (So, once again, same as Cheez Wiz.)
Qi was created and is upheld by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) as a way to globally standardize wireless charging in regards to compatibility and safety. Basically, it helps ensure that, no matter who makes it, if a Qi-certified charger is used with a Qi-certified device, they’ll be able to do the Electric Slide with each other safely and efficiently.

Is wireless charging safe?

The short answer is yes. The annoying answer is that it depends on your charging device.
How do you know which wireless charging devices are safe? Opt for products that are Qi certified.
Look for the official Qi logo:
Qi certification logo
This means it has been tested for issues that can cause safety concerns such as heat shielding and foreign object detection.
Heat Shielding - Electromagnetic induction causes heat by nature. Heat shielding puts a lid on the temps that can be damaging to the battery, the device, and surrounding surfaces.
Foreign Object Detection (FOD) - Wireless chargers should be built to transmit energy only when a foreign object that enters the magnetic field range is equipped to handle it (such as your smartphone or earbuds). Qi-certified transmitters are required to have FOD to ensure they don’t transmit voltage and heat up stray foreign metal objects like coins, keys, gumwrappers, etc. that could potentially come into contact with the charger.
Unfortunately some companies do illegally label their products with this certification. Shame on them. So when in doubt, check your product in the WPC’s database: 
Go on, search for our Charge Island. We earned our VIP badge.
In iPhone dressed up like a safety supervisor in a hard hat with a clipboard

Will wireless charging harm my battery?

Nah. The methods used to charge your battery wirelessly are no harder on your battery’s lifespan than a traditional plug and chug cable. That’s a wives’ tale made up by the same people who have been telling you that it takes 7 years to digest that gum you swallowed (sorry to break it to you, but that tally you’ve been keeping for the past 2 years, 4 months, and 17 days was based on lies). So as long as it’s Qi certified with temp controls and proper voltage regulation, you should be good.
That being said, there are charging best practices (like keeping your battery between 20% and 80%) to prolong your battery’s life in general, but those are true whether your device gets juiced wirelessly or the old-fashioned way.

How long does wireless charging take?

This is probably the most-frequent of FAQs on the subject of wireless charging.
Bottom line: As it currently stands, Qi charging is not as fast as your Lightning or USB–C cable plugged directly into your device. Period. Even with a top-notch brick, it generally takes 2.5 to 5 hours to charge a typical smartphone. It’s a game of compromise. You want fast? Plug it in. You want convenient and nicer looking? Plop it on a charging pad.
A Venn Diagram showing Fast vs. Conventient charging methods
Now, for you geeks in the audience, according to the WPC, for smartphones and other Qi-enabled devices, Qi Baseline Power Profile (BPP) delivers up to 5W and Qi Extended Power Profile (EPP) delivers up to 15W. However, that 15W is only delivered as long as the standardized heat threshold is not met. Once it’s exceeded and the receiving coil starts to get too hot, the battery protection circuitry automatically downshifts the power delivery rate until it cools off. So even if a Qi charger seems to boast a faster charge than its counterparts, it will self-regulate that speed by design and slow it to a nice, safe trickle.
It’s a bit of a tortoise vs. hare, slow-and-steady-wins-the-race situation.

Does wireless charging work with a phone case?

Depends on the case, depends on the charger. If your charger operates at a weak frequency, it may not be powerful enough to maintain a strong enough connection to charge through a case. For the vast majority of cases and Qi certified chargers, yes, they will charge through the case just fine. Each layer of distance away from the transmitting coil lessens the magnetic field’s ability to pass power along to your device. So super thick wallet cases, or folio cases are going to have a slower go at charging IF they can even connect at all. That being said, our Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 have been tested with our Charge Island, and they have been known to connect just like our slim Gripmunk.

Tips for a faster wireless charge:

Most likely when you opt for wireless charging, you’re not going to be in a huge rush to get that juice. But if you do want to give the process a little boost, here are a few suggestions:
1) Just another brick in the wall? - Start with a decent charging brick. On the Smartish-made Charge Island and MagSafe-specific Charge Dinghy wireless chargers, we recommend at least a 12W capability.
2) Align those chakras - Make sure your device’s receiving coil is aligned with the charger’s transmitting coil. In the wireless charging game, millimeters matter. The most common issue is that the charging components in the phone and the charger don’t line up, preventing a solid connection. Since most of us don’t have x-ray vision, this is impossible to tell just by looking at your gear. Test it with no case on to find the sweet spot, then pop the case on, line 'er up, and charge away.
3) Flush it - Make sure your device is sitting flush against the charger. Remember, the magnetic field created by your charger only has a range of a few millimeters. The more you can reduce that distance, the stronger the pairing and the faster the charge. If your phone has a beefy camera bump, make sure that bump clears the edge of the charger for that flush fit.
4) Case sensitive - Speaking of reducing that distance, if your preferred phone case or case add-ons create a bulkier profile on the back of your phone, you may need to remove them before giving your phone some R&R. Wallet cases with metal credit cards will never work on a wireless charger, so if you are going to give it a whirl through your wallet case, remove any of those fancy metal cards first. Phone grips like the Smartish Prop Tart or Pop Sockets will create too large of a gap for a good connection and make it virtually impossible to charge your phone. Strip it down before you charge it up.

There. Now you’re a Qi-certified expert. The final question is…where you gonna get that Qi tattoo?
An iPhone dressed as a guy outside a tattoo shop with the Qi logo tattoo
If you're ready to try out some beautiful wireless convenience, you found the right place.