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Jim Rossman: Larger camera bump means newer iPhones can’t use some wireless chargers

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Published in Science & Technology News

This week a reader wrote, “Since purchasing an iPhone 15, my phone doesn’t connect to the Qi charger in my vehicle because the camera bump prevents the phone from lying flat and making contact. Is there a solution for this?”

This is an interesting situation that mainly involves the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 and 15 models.

Apple has increased the thickness of the camera module, and it prevents the phone from lying completely flat.

The wireless charging coil is centered on the back of the phone, and the gap creates a space between the back of the phone and the charger. It is just large enough to cause the phone not to connect with some wireless chargers.

Qi chargers do work with a few millimeters of gap, but apparently the gap on the iPhone 14, 14 Pro, 15 and 15 Pro (the phones with the 6.1-inch displays) is just a bit too large to allow for wireless charging on some chargers – especially those built into some cars.

The larger 6.7-inch iPhone models are longer, so the gap is not as large, and they don’t have issues. I tested this using a 15 Pro Max and a perfectly flat Qi charger and I had no issue.

 

As for a solution, try a case that evens out the gap. Thin cases might not help, but trying a thicker case that flattens out the back of the phone is worth trying. You may have to try a few cases, so make sure you keep the packaging to return the ones that don’t work. You might have to resign yourself that not every Qi charger will work with those models, and you’ll need to decide if you want a different phone or a different charger.

Recent iPhones can also charge via Apple’s MagSafe charging system, which uses magnets to align the phone with compatible MagSafe chargers and accessories.

The iPhones in question don’t have a problem with MagSafe chargers, just the Qi chargers. Qi is a wireless charging standard used by most large phone manufacturers. Apple’s iPhones work with Qi chargers, but they work better with MagSafe chargers.

Personally, I have a Qi charger in my vehicle. It works on my iPhone 15 Pro Max, but it charged very slowly, so I stopped using it and bought a MagSafe charger and I’m quite happy.


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