iOS 11.2 accelerated wireless charging speed vs wired

Matt Birchler compared the time it took to charge an iOS device using:

  • Stock wired charger
  • Apple 29W charger
  • Wireless charging (available on iPhone 8, 8 Plus, iPhone X)
  • Accelerated wireless charging (New with iOS 11.2)

Follow the link, check out the graph. To really get a sense of the difference, look how many minutes it takes each to get to a 40% charge (the second horizontal gray line).

The 29W charger took just under 30 minutes. Accelerated charging took about an hour and 40 minutes.

I don’t know how rigorous this analysis was, but wow, what a difference. We could be seeing the limitations of inductive charging, or we could see these numbers improve with each new release.

Important to note that Matt used a Samsung wireless charging pad. So it is certainly possible we’d see better numbers when Apple releases their branded pad.

But as is, what price convenience?

UPDATE: Had a lot of conversations about this post, about the value of the convenience brought by wireless charging. Add to that the fact that the latest iPhones have plenty of battery life, and the use case comes into focus. Instead of placing my phone on my desk while I type away, if I simply place it on the charging pad, I’ll get a nice little power top-off without the hassle of plugging in.

Conclusion? Wired is clearly a faster charge than wireless, but that’s just fine. Wireless does the job it was designed to do and brings great convenience to the process.

  • ericmurrell

    I think his testing might be flawed? From everything I’ve seen, 7.5W fast charging is only supported by the Apple-promoted Mophie and Belkin pads out of the gate.

  • ignobilitor

    And how convenient is it, anyway? You’re still tethered to a cord that goes into a wall. I’ll never understand the rationale behind inductive charging in its current form.

    • ericmurrell

      I’ve got the Mophie pad on both of my desks now, where I previously had a lightning cable nearby. It sounds dumb, but my phone is now topped off all of the time because it’s mindless to just drop it on a pad. When I had to plug in a cable before, I only tended to do it about 1/3 of the time. I think the win is just eliminating that tiny bit of friction.

      • ignobilitor

        Fair enough.

      • rick gregory

        OTOH, I have a charging stand. Drop the phone in that and boom, it charges.

        • Kip Beatty

          Right, and for that function, say by your nightstand, there really isn’t a big advantage to the wireless pad. Plugging it into a stand for a long, or overnight, charge isn’t really a hassle.

          Forget that one specific use and imagine a wireless pad almost every place you go and would lay your phone down. Imagine them built into your nightstand, coffee table, kitchen table and end tables. Imagine them in most restaurant tables, automobiles, and office desks. That’s where we’re headed and in that scenario they’re a huge convenience over always having to have a wired plug available.

          • rick gregory

            Coffee shops, etc yes. Doubt we’ll see this built into most restaurants, home furniture, etc. True wireless charging is in the research phase and will be the ultimate solution there. Very few people outside of tech types will bother with buying furniture that charges.

            To me the challenge here is that if you need this much and you commute between office and home, you can easily keep your phone charged now with a charger and home and office and a plugin in the car. It’s the more ad hoc places where this will be nice.. coffee shops, but also hotels etc.

          • Kip Beatty

            I think over the next 5 years, we’ll see many new autos being released with this type of charger built in, as opposed to the handful now.

            As for restaurants, I think you might be surprised. For one thing, many of them have openly struggled with getting customers to put their phones down. What better way to do that?

            Second, with Ikea and other future manufacturers now releasing many pieces with Qi charging built in, it’ll become an easy consideration moving forward. Why not offer the convenience?

            The smart phone is (has?) crossing over from a tech item to a basic essential, like a wallet or purse. How long before we don’t even have our wallets at all? I’d be more surprised if businesses don’t jump on the opportunity to offer such a simple convenience.

          • rick gregory

            You only build this in if you think it’s a long term thing. I don’t. I suspect in 5 years or so we’ll see actual ambient wireless charging. Ikea is an interesting case but they’re also a brand that appeals to younger people just starting to furnish things and no one expects an Ikea coffee table to last generations They’re by nature replaceable so the above point doesn’t apply.

            Cars… again, I have a charger in the lighter plug. Minimal advantage there and with a pad I need a way to 1) like my phone flat and 2) feel it’s secure and not going to go flying if I have to stop suddenly.

            Don’t get me wrong – I think there are use cases. I just don’t think they’re compelling for most people. High volume places like Starbucks? Absolutely. Fine restaurants? Doubtful (and yes, I know, someone will do this but the exception doesn’t become the rule).

            The best use case I can see isn’t for single device-sized pucks. Those are silly. It’s for larger pads where you can toss several devices on them.

      • Exactly why I got the Mophie for work. It’s available now, and I don’t need to charge anything else during the day. Though I might consider getting the Qi charge case for my AirPods. But I’m planning on getting the Apple pad for by the bed at night, if it’s not too expensive.

        But then I’ll have to get a gen. 3 Apple Watch to justify that. Dang!

    • You don’t see the benefit of casual charging without having to plug and unplug the phone? Really, it’s not hard to imagine tons of scenarios where that’s a convenience.

      One thing I’ve notice with my iPhone X, the dang thing is still 50 to 75 percent charged when I climb into bed on the days that I don’t ever charge it at all. My iPhone 6s would be dead from the same usage before dinner.

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    I think wireless charging is pretty useless. Most of the time I’m using my iPhone and iPad while it’s charging which is much easier while it’s plugged into a lightning cable. I think wireless charging is just one of those ‘feature phone’ gimmicks that android manufacturers came up with and Apple is adding to avoid being perceived as ‘behind’.

    • rick gregory

      I can see it when it’s a large pad and if you have several devices – in a house with iPhones and an iPad or two. Couldn’t use the small pucks, button, but a larger surface? Sure.

  • john doofus

    Maybe my mind will change once I try it, but I’m just not that “amped” about wireless charging at home.

    I think it could make a huge difference in public, though. If it can be built into restaurant and bar tabletops, airplane trays, taxis, etc that would be very useful.

  • Kip Beatty

    I think people are missing the point of “wireless” (inductive) charging. It’s not in anyway for a dead phone that needs to be charged quickly before you run back out. That’s what a fast charger is for, and one can debate their value. I guess if you need it, you really need it.

    The inductive charging mats are for regular use. You drop your iPhone on the desk while working, it’s getting a charge. You plop it in the car, it’s getting a charge. You grab a coffee at Starbucks or lunch at McDonald’s, and it’s getting a charge while you chill. Doing this regularly thought the day keeps the phone charged up or charged up enough that it makes it through a full day, even with heavy use.

    They’re a convenience, not the be-all, end-all of charging solutions. They won’t win charging races, aren’t designed too, but can and will be very handy as their ubiquity grows.

    • ericmurrell

      Yep – that’s exactly where I’m at. It’s the convenience of mindless trickle charging throughout the day.

    • rick gregory

      Last sentence is the crucial one I think. They need to be ubiquitous for this to work. Right now, I have a car charger and desk chargers so there’s little benefit for me in those cases. But I have a friend who lives in Manhattan and walks/subways around to different meetings, sometimes in Starbucks where he might also work between meetings if going back to the office doesn’t make sense. Being able to drop his phone on a table-pad at Starbucks would help him a ton.

      • Kip Beatty

        Indeed, and now that Apple has thrown in with Qi, I expect we’ll see their ubiquity explode. I think hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, auto makers, etc. were hedging their bets waiting to see which way Apple was going to go. Now they can go all in with both Android and iOS using Qi.

    • It’s not either/or, it’s about getting a little charge when you might have the time but don’t need to do a deep charge. It’s like so many thing, binary thinking makes people miss the forest for the trees.

  • itsgene

    This is what I call a “fork in the eye” story. The conclusion is, “duh, inductive charging is slower than over a wire.” Well, did anyone ever doubt that? And the denouement, “What price convenience?” is a little silly. It’s pretty convenient to have a pad on my desk or nightstand to just drop the phone on. Through a regular day, it’s always charged without a second thought.

    I see comments here along the lines of, “I use my phone while it is charging,” or “you’re still plugged into the wall”. The latter is… well, whatever. The former indicates that we’re talking about people who will still be using their phone while they’re lying on a surgeon’s table. So, what are we really talking about? The old 80/20 rule. Apple tries to please the 80%. The 20% are the outliers, who also are the ones (like me) that read Apple-oriented websites everyday all day and demand devices that have week-long batteries, charge completely in 10 minutes, 600dpi screens, and supercomputer speeds. In a package that’s 2mm thick and costs $299.

    Gang, I usually don’t do a lot of commenting. And I’m sorry for this annoying ramble. But really, some debates are just so silly.

    (As an aside, I love this bizarre edge case where someone has a dead phone about to board a plane. Who the hell does that?)

    • Dave Mark
      1. I love the comment, hope to see more of yours in the future.
      2. Your comment, along with Kip’s and the others, made the use case clear to me. Enough so that I updated the post.

      Thanks to all for being such a great and supportive community!

      — Dave

    • rick gregory

      “It’s pretty convenient to have a pad on my desk or nightstand to just drop the phone on.”

      I do that now with a charging stand. This isn’t any more convenient for a single phone. For 2+? Yes.

  • The Samsung pad does not work with Apple’s accelerated charging. The Mophie and Belkin Pads will be compatible (which is why Apple sells them).

  • komocode

    i do see the value in the airpower mat. i never got the idea of buying a single wireless pad charger. but one charging device that uses only one wire to charge 3 devices? something where i dont have to plug three times every night? somethig where i dont have to pack multiple cables and chargers? useful to me.

    otherwise, ubiquity is the key value proposition for wireless charging