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Phone Cases And Wireless Charging: What You Need To Know

Now that Apple and Samsung (among others) are using the same wireless charging standard in their phones, more people are ready to join in on the wireless power fun. (That’s probably why you’re reading!) Setting a phone down on a charging pad is straightforward enough, the more important question: which phone cases will block wireless charging?

The need-to-know basics

  • Qi is the most popular wireless charging standard being used.
  • You want to look for chargers that are Qi-certified, rather than chargers that might use tricky language like compatible with Qi charging.
  • Sticking to Qi-certified chargers will provide the best performance and safest wireless charging experience.
  • Having a case on your phone will not block wireless charging–by default.

A quick debrief on wireless chargers

Wireless, inductive, charging works by connecting the coil built into compatible phones and a electromagnetic coil in the charging pad.

  • More coils = a larger target area to set the phone down
  • More coils ≠ stronger charging
  • Inductive (wireless) charging works with cases less than 7mm thick.
  • Wireless charging can work through different materials–silicon, leather, plastic, wood, etc.

Will my case work with wireless charging?

There are too many cases out there to name specifics, but, with the above info about charging area and materials for Qi wireless chargers, you can make some safe assumptions about why your phone case might or might not work.

  • Those “unbreakable,” cases may be too thick.
  • Fancy gold-plated or metal cases could block the signal.
  • Adding a metal plate on the back of a basic case for a magnetic car mount will also probably block the signal.
  • Putting Popsockets or ring holders on the back of the phone could make the distance too far.
  • Wallet cases with cards on the back may make the case too thick.

Pro Tip 1: Wireless charging won’t automatically damage credit cards in wallet cases, but it can. You should remove the cards to avoid issues.

Pro Tip 2: Foreign object detection is used in Qi chargers to avoid heating up accidentally. Chips in credit cards and other parts of cases can trigger this FOD.