Apple discreetly introduces complimentary performance upgrade for all iPhone 12 users

Apple discreetly introduces complimentary performance upgrade for all iPhone 12 users

When Apple released iOS 17.4 in the first week of March, it made no mention of an upgrade to wireless charging capabilities in the iPhone 12. According to Macworld, it seems that since the software was launched, iPhone 12 users have been able to charge their handsets much faster even with suitable third-party wireless charging pads, something previously restricted to Apple-authorized devices.

March 31 update below. This post was first published on March 28, 2024.

Apple introduced wireless charging back in 2017 with the iPhone X and iPhone 8 series. Then, with the release of the iPhone 12 in 2020 came MagSafe, that superbly convenient system which offers a ring of magnets in both the iPhone and the charging pad to ensure the two items make the correct connection.

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There was, however, a problem. Though you could charge the iPhone 12 at a fast speed, up to 15W, if you were using a charging pad with MagSafe certification, such as ones made by Apple, pads from other companies which lacked this authorization would only reach a maximum charging capability of half this, 7.5W.

Then came Qi2, the next generation of wireless charging, created by the Wireless Power Consortium, of which Apple is a member, and based around MagSafe. As Macworld comments, “Apple gave the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) its own MagSafe specifications to use as the basis for Qi2’s Magnetic Power Profile that defines how the new-generation Qi works. Apple is a WPC “steering member” and chair of the WPC board of directors.”

The iPhone 15 series came with Qi2 compatibility from day one, meaning that Qi2 pads from any manufacturer could achieve fast 15W charging.

Then, with iOS 17.2 released last December, Apple announced that it had achieved the same step forward for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 with that software update. But of the only other iPhone with MagSafe, the iPhone 12, there was no mention.

Macworld says that its tests with a Qi2 charger and iPhone 12, show that the phone is charging at 15W and “even shows up the 15W-only charging animation.”

This is a surprise, as Apple didn’t mention it in the release notes for iOS 17.4. It means that the sleek and attractive new Anker MagGo Wireless Charger pad will charge the iPhone 12 as fast as Apple’s own pad, but for not much more than half the cost: the Anker pad costs $21.99 while Apple’s costs $39.

While it’s not a shock that Apple has been able to upgrade the iPhone 12 to this, it’s puzzling that it hasn’t announced this cool extra.

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March 30 update. Macworld has also been checking out which chargers work with the iPhone 12 at the latest speeds—I rounded up some of the latest ones from Anker here. Some of the wording from Anker is confusing, with one Qi2 charging station from the brand only confirming compatibility with iPhone 15, iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. This may be updated now iOS 17.4 is out, but we’ll see.

And it’s not for every iPhone 12. Macworld says, “Note that the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini charge up to only 12W, but with standard Qi. However, Anker points out that, as Qi2 is fully backward compatible, you can charge an older Qi-compatible or MagSafe iPhone on a Qi2 charger, but at a maximum of 7.5 watts rather than 15W.”

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Notebookcheck.net points out, “Just like MagSafe, Qi2 can hold smartphones magnetically and charge them with up to 15 watts. For users of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, support for Qi2 has two main advantages. Firstly, Qi2 chargers are generally cheaper than MagSafe chargers, as there is no need for certification by Apple. Secondly, the same Qi2 charger can now be used to charge both an iPhone and third-party devices at 15 watts instead of having to use two different chargers as before.”

I’d agree with that. And if the device is great-looking and works well, like the Anker pad mentioned above, and is also much cheaper than the Apple version, choosing it could be a no-brainer.


March 31 update. Although there’s still no official confirmation from Apple that the iPhone 12 can now charge faster on Qi2 wireless chargers, there are more details coming to light. For instance, it results in a curious situation where some Qi2 chargers made by companies which are not Apple, can charge the iPhone 12 not as fast as an Apple own-brand charger, but actually faster.

One of Macworld’s tests went like this: “In our tests, we first used an Apple MagSafe Charger, which was able to power up an empty iPhone 12 Pro Max to 30% in 38 minutes and to 50% in 70 minutes. Using the Anker Qi2 MagGo Wireless Charger, we powered up an iPhone 12 Pro Max to 30% in 33 minutes and to 50% in 64 minutes.”

So, you save five minutes using the Anker charger for the iPhone 12 to reach 30%, and six minutes to reach 50%.

That test was for an iPhone 12 Pro Max, but the contrast was less striking on the iPhone 12 with its smaller battery. Here, Macworld says, both devices were about the same.

However, I’d say the Anker is still the winner since it looks and feels great and is cheaper than the official alternative.

Incidentally, the reason for the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini only charging at up to 12W on a MagSafe charger has never been explicitly revealed by Apple but it’s thought to be for two reasons. First, the smaller battery means it charges quickly, so those extra 3W aren’t necessary. And, second, the smaller size means the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini are prone to heat up faster, so lower wattage suits the iPhones better.

What’s clear is that for all iPhone 12 models, apart from the mini, anyone planning to buy a wireless charging pad should opt for Qi2 over MagSafe, and save themselves money into the bargain.

I’d agree with that. And if the device is great-looking and works well, like the Anker pad mentioned above, and is also much cheaper than the Apple version, choosing it could be a no-brainer.


March 31 update. Although there’s still no official confirmation from Apple that the iPhone 12 can now charge faster on Qi2 wireless chargers, there are more details coming to light. For instance, it results in a curious situation where some Qi2 chargers made by companies which are not Apple, can charge the iPhone 12 not as fast as an Apple own-brand charger, but actually faster.

One of Macworld’s tests went like this: “In our tests, we first used an Apple MagSafe Charger, which was able to power up an empty iPhone 12 Pro Max to 30% in 38 minutes and to 50% in 70 minutes. Using the Anker Qi2 MagGo Wireless Charger, we powered up an iPhone 12 Pro Max to 30% in 33 minutes and to 50% in 64 minutes.”

So, you save five minutes using the Anker charger for the iPhone 12 to reach 30%, and six minutes to reach 50%.

That test was for an iPhone 12 Pro Max, but the contrast was less striking on the iPhone 12 with its smaller battery. Here, Macworld says, both devices were about the same.

However, I’d say the Anker is still the winner since it looks and feels great and is cheaper than the official alternative.

Incidentally, the reason for the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini only charging at up to 12W on a MagSafe charger has never been explicitly revealed by Apple but it’s thought to be for two reasons. First, the smaller battery means it charges quickly, so those extra 3W aren’t necessary. And, second, the smaller size means the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini are prone to heat up faster, so lower wattage suits the iPhones better.

What’s clear is that for all iPhone 12 models, apart from the mini, anyone planning to buy a wireless charging pad should opt for Qi2 over MagSafe, and save themselves money into the bargain.

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