Apple Still Working On 'Reverse' Wireless Charging

John Lister's picture

iPhones could soon act as wireless chargers for other devices. It's been in the works for many years but will likely be restricted to premium models.

The logic behind the move is that modern smartphones have high battery capacity (even if iPhones don't always have the best reputation for long battery life). That could be a source of power for smaller devices such as smart watches and wireless earphones.

Although such devices usually last longer between charges, that can be a disadvantage for charging. That's because the chances of them running out of power when the user is away from home are relatively low, which also means most users don't carry around a charging cable specifically for smart watch or earbuds.

It's also possible to use the wireless charging to top up other handsets, for example to help out a friend in a pinch.

Heat And Speed Both Problems

The concept Apple is working on (which is already available on some Android handsets) is simple enough: users could simply place the small device next to the phone for a short period to top up the battery. Indeed, Apple even included the necessary hardware in some previous iPhone models, but chose not to activate the feature. (Source:

In practice it's proven trickier than anticipated. One of the biggest holdups is trying to find the right balance of how much power to transfer at a time.

Too low a transfer rate and it takes too long to meaningfully top up the device to make it a convenient feature. Too high a transfer rate and it generates enough additional heat to cause a problem. This could be a risk of damage to the devices themselves, or simply a noticeable heat increase that is safe but could put people off using the feature.

Firmware Solution

Apple is now said to have be "pressing ahead" with the wireless charging firmware. One possibility is having the firmware automatically adjust the power transfer rate to avoid either extreme.

Apple engineers are also said to be designing on-screen animations and sound effects that would clearly confirm the wireless charging is happening, ideally being useful without being annoying.

According to 9to5Mac, which first reported the story, Apple did have firm plans to introduce the feature on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models but didn't have it ready in time. It now plans to introduce it on a future model. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Would you use such a feature if it was available? How long would you be prepared to wait while topping up a device in this way? Would you be OK with a small heat increase on the phone or devices if you were assured it was safe?

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