Even though wireless charging is advantageous in many situations, it isn’t necessarily useful all the time. In this article, we’ll talk about the disadvantages of wireless charging for iPhone.
It’s been almost five years since Apple first announced wireless charging capabilities in its iPhones. Apple diehards were buzzing at the news. Apple wasn’t the first company to build Qi wireless charging into smartphones, but as the most iconic smartphone company in the world, they received a lot of attention about it. Although there are many advantages of getting a wireless charger for your iPhone, there are also many disadvantages. Compared with wired charging, iPhone wireless charging has the following disadvantages.
Disadvantages of wireless charging for iPhone
1. Can’t play with your iPhone while charging
“One thing, one thing, yes.” As far as the current commercial technology is concerned, when using wireless charging, the iPhone must be placed on a fixed wireless charging board. According to my observation, this is also the “main force” in the current complaints about wireless charging.
Most of the iPhone wireless chargers on the market are placed flat, and the iPhone must be close to the charger. In this charging position, you can barely use your phone while it is charging. You can’t pick it up, move it, or do anything besides use it while it remains flat on the charger. With a normal wire, you can use your iPhone for sustained periods while it’s charging. In my living room, I love having a long cable with a wired charger because it allows me to scroll Twitter while I watch TV. As long as you’re close enough to an outlet, a wired charger means you can keep using your iPhone even at the end of a long day. That’s especially true with long cables; a 10-foot Lightning cable should let you reach any outlet without having to be right next to the wall.
2. Wireless charging is not compatible with metal back cover
Metal phone cases will definitely disrupt the connection between your phone and a wireless charger. Aluminum phone cases are very durable and robust, keeping your phone safe, but they’re no good for wireless charging devices. This is why Apple’s new iPhone models no longer feature an aluminum shell. Instead, they offer a solid glass back that helps conduct the charge efficiently. In other words, it’s not just about aesthetics.
3. Wireless charging is slow
Qi wireless chargers are slower than wired chargers, full stop.
There’s a reason we normally plug devices in to charge them. It’s just faster and more efficient to transmit energy over a wire.
The fastest chargers we’ve measured in our testing recharged a fully drained iPhone 13 to only 50 percent battery capacity in an hour, around half as fast as a wired charger. But any wireless charger can still fully charge any phone overnight. That’s why I also use one on my bedside table. If I wake up in the middle of the night and want to check my phone (bad habit, I know), I don’t have to worry about waking up my partner when I’m fumbling to plug my phone back in.
One thing I didn’t realize about the MagSafe Charger is that it charges much slower than a lightning connection. I assumed that the magnetic alignment would make it charge super fast, but this is not exactly the case. The MagSafe Charger can only charge the iPhone at 15W, which takes about an hour to charge an iPhone 13 to 50% battery capacity. Considering a lightning-connected 20W adapter can charge an iPhone 13 to 50% in 28 minutes, that’s quite a bit slower.
If you value getting the most charge to your iPhone as fast as possible, like those precious few minutes between when you get home from work and when you have to run back out the door, stick with a wired charger.
4. There is electromagnetic radiation
Wireless charging of mobile phones is carried out by electromagnetic induction, so the charger generates electromagnetic waves all the time. This electromagnetic wave is generally in the frequency range of tens to hundreds of MHz. Although it may not cause much harm to the human body, it is still much more harmful than wired charging.
5. It’s wasteful
While the normal person might not care, wireless charging is an inherently inefficient form of power transfer. (Take this as an exaggerated example: a wired charger will transfer, let’s say 80% of the power it gets at the wall to the phone. thus to charge a theoretical 1000ma battery, it will use 1,250ma. If a comparative wireless charger is able to transfer 40% of the energy to the phone, the same amount of charge will take 2,500 ma at the wall. This extra energy is wasted as heat.)This wastes energy, which is bad for the environment and our energy grid.
6. Not true wireless
When people hear the term wireless, they immediately think that they can move around pretty freely. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with wireless charging. Wireless charging requires a charging pad. The charging pad must be plugged in. Already not so “wireless”. The iPhone must sit on top of the charging pad (perfectly) to receive a (trickled down) charge. Meaning, when you lift your iPhone off the charging pad to use it, it’s no longer receiving a charge.
True wireless charging would mean that beam-shaped power would be directed at the device from across the room. The power source finds all devices in the room and magically squirts microwave juice into them.
There are a number of patents about which describe this sort of true wireless power. But the stray microwave issue might be a source of concern. Your devices might magically recharge on your bedside, but no one wants to wake up with a half-cooked face.
Maybe the biggest disadvantage that is often overlooked by people is the need to pay closer attention to charging your phone. This is because, you have to get the iPhone centered just right, or buy a $50 plus pad with multiple coils. Then you STILL have to get the iPhone centered just right. And the charging pad still has a wire attached to it, so it won’t help wire clutter that much. So it’s a solution looking for a problem.
7. Wireless charging usually causes iPhone to overheat
There are many discussions around whether or not ” wireless charger heat harms your battery” amongst those who have started charging their iPhones wirelessly. Wireless charging usually generates a bit of waste heat and can even make the iPhone battery overheat compared to conventional cable charging. Some of that wasted power transform to heat, and the extra heat will cause more wear and tear on the battery, speeding up the aging of your battery every time your iPhone’s battery gets exposed to high temperatures.
8. Wireless charging pads cost more than cable chargers
The charging pad is much more complex than a standard USB wall charger power supply and cord. That means they are more expensive.
Check the price for cables and wireless chargers on Amazon, and you will find that most of the cables are less than $10 while usually, a wireless charger costs $20 more or less. That’s quite a big difference.
For example, at my office I might need another charging pad. Do I really want to drag one charging pad around with me? No. Do I want to buy multiple, expensive charging pads or cradles? No. Plug-in cords are so much cheaper, and only represent about 3 seconds of extra effort to connect and disconnect versus placing a phone on a pad.
9. Wireless chargers are less portable
In addition to being more expensive, they are also less portable. They require a surface on which to rest, preferably flat and level. For example, there’s not a spot in my car that is either flat or level, so I can’t reliably use a charging pad in my car. I probably could get a cradle that holds the phone firmly, but the cradle wouldn’t be useful outside of my car.
Although the same charging stations can be used for different Apple devices, there are people who have witnessed an issue with the same. There are cases where people have reported to have faced problems with regards to charging varied Apple devices.
There have also been compatibility issues with some iPhones not being attracted to draw in power from the power station.
The dream of wireless charging is great, of course. If only we could have some sort of wireless power device in our home that would charge our iPhones as we use them without having to press them against it. If only our iPhones would charge automatically when we placed them down on a table at a restaurant. But we’re a ways from that.
Wireless charging is a new technology in the world of gadgets; hence it certainly will require some time for more development to be truly wireless and also to gain popularity with all.
With so many disadvantages of charging iPhone wirelessly, if I had to recommend a single charger, I’d still say go with a wired charger. It’s more versatile and almost always smaller, which makes it more convenient if you need to bring it along to work or school or when you’re traveling.
But it’s a luxury to have different charging options in different areas of the house. Think about how you use your phone in each spot — use wired where you want to keep your phone in hand or you need a faster charge, and choose wireless where you’ll get more out of the simplicity of dropping it and leaving it. Charging, both wired and wireless, is going to continue to get both faster and less expensive over the next few years, making it even easier to optimize your setup.