I ditched lightning cables by using wireless charging pads instead

Originally published at: I ditched lightning cables by using wireless charging pads instead | Boing Boing

I’m looking to switch to wireless charging as well. But, I don’t want leds glowing by on my bedstand while I try and sleep. All the ones I’ve come across have leds. Anyone know of a non light-up wireless charger?

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Mrs Peas forgets to plug in her phone all the time, so I got her a set of chargers like this. One is a disk like in the picture and the other is a stand. The disk-shaped one sits in a drawer because the necessary alignment between the phone and pad meant that it wasn’t even charging 50% of the time. The stand-shaped one works well because it is always properly aligned, plus it holds the phone at a nice angle for her desk.

I’m not going to upgrade my iPhone 11 Pro any time soon (I usually keep them for 4-5 years until the new cameras are just too good to pass by), but I am really looking forward to the MagSafe feature that eliminates this issue by aligning the phone properly with the coil. I’ve honestly been holding out for the next MacBook refresh just because of the rumor that MagSafe is returning (now that that awful keyboard is fixed).


There are some nice wood ones out there if you don’t want the tech gear look in your decor.

Sharpies and or electrical tape are your friends.


My daughter broke the lightning jack on the phone and has been using a battery with wireless since then.

I’ve got a stand on my desk, nightstand, and car. I only plug the phone in for local backups. Usually means cleaning the dust out first since I do it so rarely.

I got one of these, which has proven really nice. When I want to do some light web browsing, I use the USB C to charge the phone and pair to keyboard/mouse/monitor via Samsung Dex.

I also bought one of these which is really cool as well… But at the end of the day, probably is really only worth half the price tag:

I am sure we’ll get some folks talking about the inefficiency of wireless charging (which is true), but I do not exclusively use it. It fills a niche, which is partly convenience, and also partly to preserve the charging port on the phone. I have had them go bad over time with too many plug/unplugs.

Pro: No physical port to wear out.
Con: Terribly inefficient use of energy.

We need to get ElectroBOOM working on this.

“What’s the point of this, the wire’s right there, I can just plug it in?!?”


I make a pinhole or tiny cut in the electrical tape so there is some visual indication that the phone is still aligned for charging.

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The wasted energy keeps me away from these contact chargers (wireless is an awful term unless my phone can be recharged in the middle of the room while I’m dancing). Plus, cats.

Maybe I’m lucky but no problems with lightening cables. I keep charges with cables in set positions (and cables attached to my iMacs) so perhaps this leads to less stress on the cables.


false dichotomy. you can use both.

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If you don’t want to just cover the lights with tape there are all kinds of tinting stickers so it’s not obnoxiously bright at night.

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What the heck are you doing with your cables? I’ve had bog-standard lightning cables work reliably for years.

Wireless charging wastes two thirds of the energy. I want to charge my gadgets faster, not slower.

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The MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12s does not have a LED. The problem is that you need an iPhone 12 and it is expensive compared to other chargers.

I find it works really well. However I would not upgrade phone ahead of schedule just to be able to use it.

Has anyone, ever, had a Lightning port ‘wear out’?* Sure, the port can collect a load of pocket lint that gets packed in and can cause an intermittent connection, but that’s quickly sorted with a bamboo cocktail stick, which can’t damage the tiny contacts. Unlike shitty USB-C ports, which are impossible to clean out because of that stupid ‘blade’ the sits in the centre. Water ingress is also an issue - it’s dead easy to twist a bit of tissue and push into a Lightning port to soak up any water that might compromise charging, but USB-C makes that impossible; I use a Samsung tablet at work, and I work outdoors all day right through the year, and my tablet gets as wet as I do when it rains. It’s completely out of juice by the time I go home, and I’ve spent the best part of half an hour trying to dry the port out with tissues and a hairdryer on full blast to enable it to charge, and the same issue arises with an external battery pack. Magnetic charging is fine if there’s one specific place with room to charge multiple devices, but I don’t have space to accommodate both my 10” iPad Pro and my iPhone 11Pro Max at the same time - a wall wart with several ports allows both to be charged at the same time in the same space.
*An afterthought - shoving a mini-USB plug into a Lightning port by mistake could do it, but that’s damage through not paying attention, not wear through use; my iPhone 6+ was still charging and connecting fine after five years, and I think I’ve only ever had one Apple Lightning cable go intermittent since introduction, I’ve even got old 32-pin cables for my iPods that work ok.

Let me guess, you run a unicorn farm? Or do you duct tape the ends of the cables so they don’t fray? It’s got better recently, but there was a time when every single lightning or usb-c cable would fray in exactly the same way. Even the expensive braided ones which is mystifying. It almost seemed like it was in the spec. I wonder what Apple will do to break contact charging. Must be aligned exactly so is good, but it’s really not good enough. I guess we’ll see.

Wireless charging is very environmentally unfriendly, as @ashe has already noted. My wife has had iPhones for years and abuses the cables by bending them at the end that plugs into the phone so she can charge and surf at the same time. She has no problems with cable failure at all. The reason? I bought a long armored Micro-B cable and plugged a $2 Lightning connector adapter into the end. Two years later, still perfect performance.


Since I’ve been buying usb-c cables for my android I’ve had no problems. My daughter’s lightning cables for her iPhone no longer fray but they do just break. I suspect you’re right and the Great Northern Utopia only accepts better quality goods. Here on garbage island that’s not the case and things will only get worse, I fear.

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Seriously, keep the phone out of the bedroom (same with TV).

Obviously Google sensed me looking at chargers after this story. $CA 2.98 for a MagSafe charger from Wish…. Not something I would feel safe using.

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