ChargerLab has revealed that Apple is quietly slashing the performance of third-party wireless chargers for iPhones running iOS 13. Moreover, there’s currently no guidance for manufacturers to avoid this so owners who have paid for expensive fast wireless chargers may find their money has been wasted.
What ChargerLab found specifically was that with the launch of iOS 13.1 many third-party wireless chargers rated at Apple’s 7.5W maximum wireless charging speeds were now operating at 5W. As you might expect, this lengthened wireless charging times substantially. For example, an iPhone 11 running iOS 13 would wirelessly charge to 80% in two hours but after installing iOS 13.1 it only achieved a charge of 55% in the same time period. That’s woefully slow.
The downgrade still exists in iOS 13.1.2 and, despite no official explanation from Apple, AppleInsider learned from a source within the company that the change is deliberate. “Any vendors who are fully compliant with the Qi charging spec and all of our guidance will see 7.5W charging,” said their source.
As an attempt to protect customers, that would seem reasonable but AppleInsider discovered: “the issue is more complicated. Manufacturers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Apple has yet to give them any specific direction. Also, that they have discovered being fully compliant with Qi certification requirements does not appear to guarantee their products will avoid the 5W cap.”
And here’s where it gets worrying. ChargerLab’s tests found that all wireless charging pads sold by Apple Stores still worked at 7.5W. Apple calls this rate ‘Apple Fast Charging’ but it is actually just part of the Qi wireless charging standard (which goes up to 15W in rival products) so Apple shouldn’t be enforcing any sort of certification under its Apple MFi Program. If that has changed, fast wireless charger prices look set to increase for iPhone customers.
I have asked Apple for a statement and will update this article if one is received.
In the meantime, the company’s silence is concerning. Especially coming just a week after Apple decided to show lockscreen warnings to any iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max owner who damages their screen and doesn’t get it repaired at an official Apple partner. The company similarly locked down iPhone battery replacements in August in a move described as “user-hostile”. So it certainly seems like a pattern.
So no, iPhone owners didn’t need yet another reason to avoid iOS 13. But here it is.