Apple is reportedly building on the iPhone 12 MagSafe wireless charging charging system. According to a new leak, the iPhone 12 could get a MagSafe battery pack accessory that recharges both the phone and a pair of Apple AirPods at the same time.
Regular Apple tipster John Prosser (opens in new tab) told the Genius Bar podcast (opens in new tab) that two versions of the new battery pack, which would magnetically clamp onto the iPhone 12 like a MagSafe charger, are in development. One of these supposedly supports “reverse charging,” which could potentially let you top up the AirPods or AirPods Pro by sitting the charging case on top of the battery pack — while it simultaneously charges your phone.
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It was already an open secret that is Apple working on clip-on battery packs for the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro and the rest of its MagSafe-compatible handsets. Anker even beat Apple to it, launching the PowerCore magnetic power bank. But a two-way battery pack would be completely new, and would give the iPhone 12 a new way to challenge the Samsung Galaxy S21 and its PowerShare reverse charging feature.
However, this is just a rumor for now. Prosser said he’ll release renders of the two battery pack designs later this week, but also said his source is “not sure” if Apple will ultimately release both a standard battery pack and a reverse-charging model. So we may just see an Anker PowerCore-style pack that only charges the phone it’s attached to, not another phone or accessory at the same time.
Apple has something of a mixed record on wireless charging. The MagSafe system was generally well-received, despite a much slower charging time on the iPhone 12 than Apple’s 20W wired charger, but its previous AirPower system infamously perished back in 2019.
That said, recently discovered Apple patents — filed shortly after AirPower was publicly cancelled — detailed a “Wireless Power System with Device Priority,” suggesting Apple may have at least given it another try. Perhaps Apple will apply lessons learned from AirPower to its future wireless charging devices, possibly including these MagSafe battery packs.