Tech Tips: Wireless charging for any phone & converting phone audio to mono | TheUnion.com

Tech Tips: Wireless charging for any phone & converting phone audio to mono

Doug Behl & Ken Getz
Columnists

I have an older Android phone, and would love to be able to use wireless charging — I love the idea of just dropping my phone into a wireless charger without dealing with cables. Is there some way to make my phone support wireless charging?

There are so many questions here, and all have simple, inexpensive answers. We'll expand the questions: Does my phone support wireless charging? If not, how can I add the feature? Which wireless charging standard should I use? And finally, which charging base should I get?

If you have a "modern" Android phone (sold in late 2017 or 2018), it most likely supports wireless charging. Earlier models might support it, so check the list at this site to get more info (or search online for your model and the words "wireless charging"): https://goo.gl/Ch6GCi.

If you have an iPhone, only iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X support wireless charging, so far.

It's simple to add the feature, however. You could get a case that adds wireless charging, but a cheaper solution is to search online for "wireless charging receiver."

On Amazon, you'll find a selection of inexpensive, thin, easy-to-use modules that attach to your phone (either with an adhesive, or by placing it between a case and your phone). You'll need to find a highly rated model that fits the type of connector your phone has (USB-C, Lightning, or micro-USB). Most of the ones we saw on Amazon had high reviews, and they're all relatively inexpensive.

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As to the charging standard: Although there have been several competing standards for wireless charging, only one survives. The Qi standard (pronounced "Chee") has become the de facto standard, so only buy a received or case that uses this type of charging.

Finally, which charging base to get? We've tried a few inexpensive ones from Amazon, and they seem to work.

Our favorite review site (http://www.thewirecutter.com) offers this review of the best wireless charging bases: https://goo.gl/2aknEu.

You can't go wrong with any of the ones they list.

Convert phone audio to mono

I like to watch videos on my phone, but I'm completely deaf in one ear, so stereo sound is super irritating. Is there some way to convert the audio to a mono format, so all the sound comes out of both ear pieces? That way, I can hear everything in my one good ear.

This one strikes close to home, as Ken is also hearing-impaired in this way — only one ear works (a sudden change in his mid-forties) and he will concur that stereo audio through headphones is a pain. You'd be surprised how much stereo separation happens in recorded TV shows and movies.

This issue also applies to folks who exercise outdoors (Exercise? Outdoors?) and want to remain safe. It's important to be able to hear your surroundings while exercising among other people and life-threatening obstacles like cars; using a single earbud while engaging in such activity could save your life. But you don't want to miss out on half of the audio. What to do?

The answer is astonishingly simple: All modern smart phones support the feature to combine both stereo channels into a single channel, sending the same information to both ears. All you must do is find your device's Accessibility settings, and locate the option to convert audio to mono. On iOS, for example, select Settings, then General, then Accessibility, then turn on Mono Audio. That's it.

Whether you're mono by nature, or because you want to use only a single earbud (or maybe you just don't like stereo audio), you can easily combine left and right channels to send a single audio stream to both ears.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken's tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.

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