Why wireless charging is bad for the environment

Wireless charging

The chances are that you’ve made the switch to wireless charging in recent years, whether that be your iPhone or your Apple Watch. Perhaps you’ve even invested in Apple’s new MagSafe charger for iPhone, allowing you to magnetically connect the charging puck to your device? Whatever the case, it’s important to note that wireless charging, as convenient as it is, could actually be bad for the planet. We’ve put together some reasons why…


They use more energy

One of the biggest reasons why wireless chargers are bad for the environment is that they use a lot more energy than a standard wired smartphone cable. According to one report, it takes 15 watt-hours to charge a device using a cable, but on a wireless charger, it’s around 21 watt-hours. OneZero says that this makes the cost of charging your iPhone every day $0.72/year with a wired charger, versus $0.99/year using a wireless charger. Granted, that’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but if everyone made the switch, it would quickly add up!


Charging efficiency

Research into Apple’s current lightning charger revealed that the small 5W charger is just about 78% efficient, whereas Qi, the wireless charging technology that Apple has adopted for its iPhones, is just 59.4% efficient, based on independent studies. That means an 18% difference in efficiency, and that just 60% of the power that your outlet consumes to charge your phone actually makes it into the battery – the 40% is lost waste heat.


The charging pad

Finally, let’s give a quick nod to the charging pads themselves – sure, iPhone charging cables are a nightmare and you might need to replace yours every year or two, but Qi charging pads have a much larger environmental cost and are hard to recycle. Of course, the benefit is that you can charge multiple devices on a pad and don’t need multiple wires hanging out of your computer, but they still have a limited shelf life and will need to be replaced from time to time.


Do you have a wireless charger? Let us know and check back soon for the latest from AppleMagazine.

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