Since the iPhone 12, Apple’s been rumored to introduce reverse wireless charging to its smartphone line. This feature, which already exists on other smartphones, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S line, is still in development, according to an exclusive report by 9to5Mac. Sources familiar with the matter said the company hoped to debut the feature with last year’s iPhone 14 Pro lineup but failed to meet the deadline.
FCC filings already revealed some of Apple’s work on reverse wireless charging. For example, connecting a Lightning cable to a MagSaffe Battery Pack will reverse charge the iPhone wirelessly. With full implementation, on the other hand, any Qi-enabled accessory would make the iPhone recharge AirPods, for example.
That said, 9to5Mac says Apple “still has bigger ambitions for reverse wireless charging than we’ve seen so far.”
Internally, Apple is developing a unique “wireless power out” firmware as the basis for the bilateral wireless charging feature. The work on this firmware is a key aspect of the ongoing testing and engineering of the reverse wireless charging hardware. One of the key aspects of bilateral charging is managing the charging speeds between the iPhone and the other device, including heat dissipation and charging efficiency.
Apple is also developing a special user interface for reverse wireless charging, similar to what is currently used for MagSafe chargers and accessories. This would include an on-screen animation as well as a sound effect to indicate that bilateral wireless charging had been initiated.
Reverse wireless charging technology was expected for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, but the feature wasn’t ready when this phone launched. While the company still plans to unveil it in the feature, the publication’s source says this function could be delayed once again or scrapped for good, as the company has been working on it at least since the iPhone 11.