Wireless charging is not new to iPhone; this handy feature has been included in all models since the iPhone 8. But not all iPhones are created equal when it comes to wireless charging speeds, so we tested some of the most popular models with our new Lounge Q fast wireless charger to find out which have the need for speed when it comes to wireless charging.
How we test wireless charging
The ideal conditions for testing wireless charging are when the iPhone's battery level is between 10% and 60%. This is because the charging rate will slow considerably after 60% in order to protect the battery from damage. Therefore the below results are based on how long it takes to charge each phone's battery by 50%, starting from the 10% level. Cases were removed from the phones before testing and the room temperature was kept at an ideal 25° C (77° F) during the test. We also made sure all devices were running the same version of iOS (13.5.1) before beginning.
The slowest-charging iPhones
As is usually the case with first-generation technology, we found that one of the oldest iPhones capable of wireless charging—the iPhone 8 Plus—was the slowest at 1 hour 33 minutes. Compounding this is the fact that the iPhone 8 Plus' battery has more than 10% lower capacity than most other models, meaning that the phone was not only the slowest to wireless charge, but also received the least power during the charging time. Only slightly faster was (somewhat surprisingly) the iPhone 11 Pro at 1 hour 30 minutes.
The middle of the pack for wireless charging was occupied by Apple's prior-generation offerings. The iPhone X took 1 hour and 25 minutes to reach the 60% charge level, while the iPhone XS Max came in just a few minutes slow than the winner at 1 hour 13 minutes.
And the winner is....
It was no surprise to us that the latest iPhone was also the fastest when it came to wireless charging. The iPhone 11 took just 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete the test, making it almost 25% faster than the iPhone 8 and 22% faster than the iPhone 11 Pro. Also coming in at the same charging time of 70 minutes was Apple's recently-released budget iPhone SE 2, however this model has a 30% smaller battery than the iPhone 11, meaning that while the two took the same amount of time to get from 10% to 60%, the iPhone 11 was actually receiving significantly more power while charging wirelessly. It's possible that Apple skimped on the wireless charging components in order keep costs down for the SE 2, which resulted in lower charging throughput.
The results are in! If fast wireless charging is at the top of your must-have list, then the iPhone 11 is the phone for you, with the iPhone XS Max also a good choice and only marginally slower. Wireless charging performance has generally improved over time for the iPhone and in most cases, upgrading to a newer model will bring improvements in wireless charging speed, but steer clear of Apple's cost-down models if you want to enjoy the fastest possible charging speeds.