iOS 17.4 gave your iPhone 12 a wireless charging speed boost, but you'll need a new charger to use it

iPhone 12 mini in purple
(Image credit: Future)

Apple released iOS 17.4 not that long ago and while we already have iOS 17.4.1 out in the world, we're still learning about what that earlier update had to offer. And while Apple mentioned nothing of it in the iOS 17.4 release notes, it would appear that the update brought with it a stealthy charging boost for those using iPhone 12 series devices.

Apple announced that its best iPhones, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro would support 15W wireless charging via the Qi2 standard back in September of last year and then we saw the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models receive the same support via a software update towards the end of the same year. But now it seems that Apple has expanded that same 15W wireless charging capability to the iPhone 12, too.

While the iPhone 12 already supported 15W wireless charging, that was only available via Apple MagSafe-compatible chargers. Those chargers tend to be costly due to the Apple licensing and technology used, leaving standard wireless chargers to limp along at a sedate 7.5W charging speed. But now anyone who uses a Qi2-capable wireless charger will be able to enjoy the same 15W speeds without any of the additional cost associated with MagSafe.

Faster than ever

Qi2 chargers are essentially MagSafe chargers but without the Apple component which means that they are cheaper to make and as a result, cheaper to buy for consumers. But they still offer the same 15W wireless charging capabilities — and there's scope for the speeds to increase beyond that in the future, too.

Now, Macworld reports that its testing shows that despite Apple keeping mum, the iOS 17.4 update did indeed bring Qi2 compatibility to the iPhone 12.

"Since iOS 17.4, Macworld tests have shown that clamped on to Qi2 chargers the iPhone 12 matches the charging speed of fully Apple-certified MagSafe chargers and even shows up the 15W-only charging animation—yet Apple makes no mention of this support in the iOS 17.4 release notes," the report explains.

Macworld goes on, saying that its testing showed that Qi2 chargers are just as fast, if not faster, than Apple's MagSafe chargers.

"In our tests, we first used an Apple MagSafe Charger, which was able to power up an empty iPhone 12 Pro Max to 30 percent in 38 minutes and to 50 percent in 70 minutes," Macworld explains when detailing its testing. "Using the Anker Qi2 MagGo Wireless Charger, we powered up an iPhone 12 Pro Max to 30 percent in 33 minutes and to 50 percent in 64 minutes."

Despite all of this, it's still important to remember that the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini will top out at just 12W when wirelessly charging, so this change isn't a silver bullet for that little limitation.

It isn't clear why Apple hasn't so far mentioned that this change was made as part of the iOS 17.4 update. But with the same update making wide-sweeping changes to the way the App Store works in the EU and opening the door to third-party app stores, it's probably fair to say that the company had bigger fish to fry that week.

There are already tons of Qi2 chargers on the market after a slow start to the standard and we can expect more chargers to be announced throughout 2024 and beyond, too.

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Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.