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New Apple accessory enables a hidden iPhone 12 feature

Published Jul 14th, 2021 3:50PM EDT
iPhone 12 Reverse Wireless Charging
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The iPhone 12 phones have a hidden feature that we’ve known about for months. The problem is that you couldn’t take advantage of it until earlier this week. Apple quietly unveiled a highly anticipated accessory that works only with the iPhone 12 series. That’s the official MagSafe external battery pack that retails for $99. The charger doesn’t just bring fast wireless charging to the iPhone 12. It also enables reverse wireless charging for the first time ever.

Android phone vendors introduced reverse wireless charging a few years ago. It was Huawei that first unveiled a phone that could recharge other gadgets wirelessly. The handset acted like a regular charging mat, so there wasn’t anything spectacular about that. It’s still the same wireless charging you get from traditional wireless chargers.

Others followed, with Samsung and Google phones getting reverse wireless charging support. Rumors dating back to the iPhone 11 said that Apple was interested in the functionality, too. FCC documentation last year revealed the iPhone 12 and its MagSafe wireless charging components could offer reverse charging. But Apple never addressed the feature, and there’s no way to enable it yourself.

iPhone 12 reverse wireless charging is finally available

Apple unveiled the MagSafe Battery Pack on Tuesday. The accessory works with all iPhone 12 devices, as they’re the only iPhones to feature MagSafe magnets. The battery pack attaches directly to the back of the phone. The MagSafe connection offers 15W wireless charging speeds, which is the fastest wireless charging speed for the iPhone.

The company posted a support document to reveal that the iPhone 12 can also recharge the MagSafe Battery Pack wirelessly. It uses the reverse wireless charging support that is built into the handset.

Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is available now for $99. Image source: Apple Inc.

The caveats

Apple disclosed the iPhone 12’s reverse wireless charging capability in the support document. The company casually drops an example where you’d want to recharge both devices, with a focus on the iPhone. That’s the only kind of scenario where reverse wireless charging kicks in:

Charge your MagSafe Battery Pack and your iPhone


If both your iPhone and MagSafe Battery Pack need to be charged, you can charge them at the same time. Attach your MagSafe Battery Pack to your iPhone and then plug the MagSafe Battery Pack into a power adapter. Using a 20W or higher power adapter, the MagSafe Battery Pack can charge your iPhone with up to 15W of charging power.


You can also charge both if you attach your MagSafe Battery Pack to your iPhone, then plug your iPhone into a power source. You might want to charge this way if you need to connect your iPhone to another device while charging, like if you’re using wired CarPlay or transferring photos to a Mac.

There’s also one thing to remember: the iPhone will have to reach 80% or higher before the MagSafe Battery Pack begins charging. Reverse wireless charging isn’t available for use with any other devices, like the AirPods or AirPods Pro.

You’ll also need a software update on your iPhone 12 version to enable reverse wireless charging. Apple explains everything at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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