Reverse wireless charging has been a staple feature on some of the best Android phones for many years, but it’s still not made the jump from to iPhone. There have been rumors circulating for years about the possibility, with nothing to show for it so far. But a new report claims the feature is still in development, and may eventually arrive on a future iPhone.
Sources speaking to 9to5Mac (opens in new tab) claim that Apple had hoped to debut reverse wireless charging in the iPhone 14 Pro range — only to miss the deadline for inclusion. Apparently development is still under way, along with the various software optimizations needed to make the feature work correctly.
Whether reverse wireless charging will come to the iPhone 15 is another matter. Apple typically holds its phones to quite a high standard, and the development team will have to ensure reverse wireless charging can meet those standards before the deadline. If not, the feature would remain missing for another year.
According to the report, Apple is developing a unique “wireless power out” firmware to support reverse wireless charging. This is apparently a big part of the testing process, and will involve managing charging speeds to ensure efficiency and proper heat dissipation.
Presumably this work is why we haven’t seen reverse wireless charging so far, even though older iPhones appeared to have all the necessary hardware.
Teardowns of the iPhone 11 Pro Max found that the phone had the hardware that would enable reverse wireless charging, though the feature itself had been deactivated. Similarly FCC filings suggested that the iPhone 12 range would include the feature, and did to a limited degree — since plugging in the phone meant it could recharge an attached MagSafe battery pack. There were also rumors that the iPhone 13 might come with reverse wireless charging, but as of the launch of the iPhone 14 it’s still curiously absent.
9to5Mac’s sources also claim that Apple is developing a special interface for when reverse wireless charging is active, similar to what it already does with MagSafe. That would include on-screen animations and sound effects to show you that your phone is charging another device.
It would be very cool for the iPhone to finally offer this feature, since Android phones have been offering it since as far back as 2019. While reverse wireless charging speeds are generally quite slow, it does give you the opportunity to recharge other devices in a pinch. For an iPhone that could mean recharging your AirPods, other iPhones, or even non-Apple products you may have to hand.
Unfortunately, sources warned that reverse wireless charging could be delayed further, or possibly even scrapped — all due to the challenges Apple has faced trying to make it a reality. It’s not entirely clear what the problem really is, though, because it’s something rival phone makers have had figured out for quite some time.
It makes sense that Apple would want to offer reverse wireless charging, but should temper out expectations for now. Especially since it’s still a problem the company is trying to figure out.