NFC charging in Android 15 could bring wireless power to devices without wireless charging support

Moshi Sette Q with 2 phones
(Image credit: Moshi)

Android 15 could add wireless charging to previously unsupported devices by harnessing NFC technology.

Near-field communication, or NFC, is commonly used for things like contactless payments or sharing content between phones. However, Android 15 could enable the NFC hardware that's already present in your phone to transfer power to other devices or possibly even charge your phone.

Android Authority found what appears to be an NFC charging feature in the code for the recent Android 15 Beta release, labeled as version 1.0.0 of ‘NfcCharging’. 

This could provide even budget devices with a limited form of wireless charging, as NFC functionality is featured on nearly all phones. In contrast, Qi charging is usually reserved for more premium devices. However, NFC charging is unlikely to replace Qi, which is the current global standard for wireless charging, and is often included in the best phones you can buy.

Useful, but slow 

NFC-based wireless charging wouldn’t be the best way to charge your phone, as it’s currently limited to just 1W charging, which is considerably slower than most wireless chargers – it would take roughly five hours to fully charge a 5,000mAh battery. However, having the extra option could help out in a pinch.

If NFC charging is rolled out to Android phones, it’s more likely to be used to charge smaller devices, such as earbuds, styluses and smartwatches. These devices have lower power requirements and smaller batteries, which makes NFC charging more practical. However, for now, it isn’t known exactly how this technology could be implemented.

The addition of NFC charging could also bring wireless charging to these smaller, low-powered devices, as currently, some are not large enough to accommodate the larger antennas that Qi charging uses. An NFC antenna is significantly smaller than those used in Qi charging, typically being smaller than 1cm in size.

While NFC charging technology was announced years ago, it hasn’t appeared on many devices yet. However, if it becomes natively supported by Android, we could see it become a standard feature and eventually adopted by other phone manufacturers and accessories in the future.

Moreover, if NFC charging is widely adopted and becomes capable of supporting higher charging speeds, it could potentially replace Qi charging. This could also save space in some devices, as they would only need one antenna to handle both data transfers and wireless charging, thus freeing up space for bigger batteries, improved cooling or more storage.

If NFC charging makes it to the final Android 15 release, we anticipate it to be available between August and October 2024. More details about this and other Android 15 features will likely be revealed at the upcoming Google I/O 2024 event on May 14.

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Staff Writer, Mobile Computing

James Ide was a writer for TechRadar specializing in phones and tablets, having previously worked at The Daily Mirror since 2016, covering news and reviews.  

James loves messing with the latest tech, especially phones due to their incredibly rapid pace of development.

When not surrounded by various devices and/or tinkering with gadgets while putting them through their paces, James has a love of handheld consoles.

He is almost the textbook definition of a geek, who loves sci-fi, comics, games and of course, all things tech. If you think you have a story for him or just want to challenge him at Smash Bros, get in touch.