Every few weeks, there's that one night where I either plug my phone loosely or place it slightly wrong on a Qi pad and I wake up to an empty battery. Scrambling to get a bit of power in before I hit the road is never fun, so I always wish my phone could warn me when it's not charging properly. In Android with the latest March security patch and Feature Drop, one of these situations is resolved as the always-on display shows a message when the device is misaligned on the Qi pad.

The neat little warning was discovered by Redditor jotafett, and we were able to reproduce it on our Pixel 4 units, but not on the Pixel 3. It's not clear how the phone detects the misalignment. It could either notice when it's properly aligned and receiving power (even if for a fraction of a second) then quickly moved and stops getting enough, so if you start by placing it correctly then slide it away a little, it'd let you know. However, I'd say that's far fetched. What's likely happening here is that the device can still detect that it's getting some power, but it's too weak and way below regular Qi pads' outputs.

The warning will show up on the ambient display, at the bottom, where you usually see the battery percentage and charging speed. It also uses the orange color to differentiate itself from any other text, so you should be able to spot it before you walk away.

March security patch

This article has been updated to say that the feature is part of the March 2020 security patch. It previously linked it to Android 11, but it turns out that was a false connection. Android 11's first Developer Preview shipped with the March security patch early, leading to a confusion between the features brought by the patch and those genuinely new in Android 11. Now that the patch has rolled out to Android 10 devices, we're able to confirm which new abilities are due to it.

  • Thanks:
  • Armando