Will a Wireless Phone Charger Work Through a Case?

wireless charger for smartphone

by Alex Gustman

Updated: April 14, 2021

Portable devices need electricity to operate. The majority of people have been using (and, in fact, still do use) wires to establish a physical connection between the charger and the phone. However, nowadays, it is no longer necessary. Manufacturers formed a consortium in 2008 to develop a single working standard called Qi. As a result, you don’t have to worry much about how the specific smartphone brand works with your charger – if both support the technology, it will work just fine. However, some manufacturers do offer “fine-tuned” versions that can be used to achieve maximum speed supported by the phone.

How does it work?

Briefly, wireless charging works like this:

  • the base station that consists of an induction coil generates a magnetic field when you plug it in,
  • similar coil located in the rear device panel catches it up,
  • alternative current is being converted into direct inside the device,
  • the energy is then used to top up the battery.

This simplified model is more than enough to understand the basic principle. However, the technology is much more complicated and utilizes sophisticated electronic components to ensure a seamless and harmless charging process.

Multiple kinds of research were conducted to guarantee safety. They all confirmed that there is no adverse health impact on living creatures due to carefully selected operating frequencies. The magnetic field is working with compliant devices only, meaning if you place a regular phone on a pad, nothing is going to happen.

One of the significant limitations though is metallic bodies – manufacturers are unable to create a charger that would be capable of charging through them. The only workaround was to modify the smartphones’ rear panel. As a result, all modern devices supporting Qi technology now have plastic or glass backs.

Do wireless phone chargers work with a case?

Technology is quite limited now and is working through specific materials only as it can easily go through glass, silicone, or plastic case. However, it should not be thicker than three millimeters. Of course, metal cases would have to be taken away. The same applies to the covers with a built-in metal plate that we use to attach the phone to a holder in our cars.

However, some devices are pretending to be Qi-compatible. Have a closer look at your charger – it should be Qi-certified. Otherwise, it will (most probably) work fine but expect neither stability nor the highest speeds. Be ready to take off the cover as well.

Does a phone case slow down wireless charging?

According to the open sources of information, even if it does, it will not make a huge difference. Several more minutes will hardly become a deal-breaking factor. It might be worth taking it off though if you:

  • are in a hurry,
  • use a non-certified charger,
  • have bought a thick cover.

Any combination of the above might potentially make the process slower.

Pros and cons

Like any other technology, Qi charging is a mix of both pluses and minuses. As for pros:

  • it is easier to use as a conventional method – place the device on a pad and wait,
  • there is no need to search for the cable with suitable connector since wireless method works with no plugs at all,
  • you can buy a big-enough charger that is capable of working with several devices simultaneously,
  • it requires to have only one free power socket,
  • there is only one wire connecting adapter to the pad.

Surely, there are cons as well:

  • you have to pay for it – depending on the brand, speed and the size the price may vary,
  • phones with quick charge can be more expensive since it is still a cool marketing feature,
  • it is quite hard to use the phone while it lays on the pad,
  • the process can stop if you move the device far enough – USB or lightning connector is much harder to detach by accident,
  • it can be slower than conventional charge due to lower efficiency,
  • the technology still does not work with metal finishes,
  • the smartphone can overheat, especially if it wears a thick cover,
  • a conventional charger can be more convenient to carry around with you.

Several issues are standing on the way of wireless technology. However, as it develops further, some (or even all) of them can be fixed, which will make it more convenient and efficient than transferring electricity with the cables. As of now, it is an exciting and quite comfortable way to get rid of excessive wires.

Conclusion

Here we have described whether the wireless charging through the phone case works. Yes, it works. At the same time, the process of charging does not slow down noticeably. But the Qi charging technology has its advantages and disadvantages, which we have mentioned above.

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About the author 

Alex Gustman


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