Surprise, Apple’s latest iPhone 12 models may have a hidden feature. Now that MagSafe has been introduced as a charging option for iPhones, it seems Apple may be looking further at the potential for reverse wireless charging.
According to Forbes, a MagSafe feature hidden in Apple’s FCC filings has teased that reverse wireless charging may be inbuilt within the new iPhone models, to be activated sometime in the future.
This will mean that your iPhone can serve as a charging point for other wireless charging devices, including compatible AirPods. Reverse wireless charging is already a staple for many Huawei and Samsung devices.
Reverse wireless charging theoretically should work by placing any wireless charge device on the MagSafe charging magnet hidden on the back of the iPhone. The iPhone will then share its battery power with the other device, but make note that this will also deplete your phone’s battery so make sure there’s enough to keep your iPhone going before you start charging other devices.
Jeremy Horwitz, of VentureBeat, first reported on the hidden feature and also dug into the wording of the document to explain things further. Apparently, the wireless charging feature should work both while the iPhone is plugged into an AC power outlet and while it is mobile, with a charge rate of 360 kHz.
A new MagSafe feature was hidden in Apple FCC filings: “In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhone models also support WPT charging function at 360 kHz to charge accessories [including] an external potential apple accessory in future.”
— Jeremy Horwitz (@horwitz) October 28, 2020
The FCC also refers to an “external potential accessory” which is likely the next generation of AirPods that are yet to be announced by Apple. The AirPods Pro model currently comes with an inbuilt wireless charging case but it’s also possible to buy a wireless charging case separately for other AirPod models.
So all the pieces are in place for Apple to enable reverse wireless charging for AirPods in the future.
Hopefully, this wireless charging feature will also extend to other devices, like the Apple Watch, or to other iPhones so that you can share your precious battery power with your mate when they’re running low.
When the wireless charging feature will be activated is another question, but it probably won’t happen until next year when Apple reveals more about its new line up of products.