Wireless charging has been a part of Apple’s mobile arsenal since 2017, but it could get its first significant upgrade since then with the iPhone 13.
That's according to the latest video from EverythingApplePro (opens in new tab), which cites well-connected tipster Max Weinbach (opens in new tab) with a rumor that the iPhone 13 models will ship with a “slightly bigger” wireless charging coil. This, in turn, could be used to enable reverse wireless charging in the new phone, although that claim should be treated with a degree of skepticism.
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The video notes that the most likely reason for the bigger coil would be to compensate for stronger MagSafe magnets, or to better deal with heat management and higher wattages. But it also does tease another possibility, namely reverse wireless charging.
Reverse wireless charging is exactly what it sounds like, and is a feature that first went mainstream in Android with the Samsung Galaxy S10. When enabled, the back of your phone becomes a wireless charging pad, letting you sacrifice a bit of your phone battery to charge another compatible device. Typically, the devices you’d want to charge would have far smaller batteries (think true wireless earbuds or smartwatches) so you wouldn’t lose too much of your phone’s precious juice in the process.
For Apple, it would certainly be an appealing feature, potentially offering an extra way of topping up both AirPods and the Apple Watch — the latter of which has more strain than ever on its limited battery thanks to the introduction of sleep tracking in watchOS 7.
We know that Apple has been thinking along these lines. Indeed, a patent published last year revealed that the iPhone 12 might actually have reverse wireless charging built in already, just disabled for regular users. That's probably a smart move, given the significant power drain such a feature requires and the weak battery power of the iPhone 12 family of handsets.
However, an upgraded battery is something we believe will be coming with the iPhone 13 — and that in turn makes it much more likely that this charging tech might be introduced with the next generation of Apple devices.
That said, “might” should still come underlined here, as even Weinbach doesn’t seem sure on this point. At the point in the video where the wireless charging coils are discussed (two minutes in, if you want to check for yourself), the direct quote at the bottom of the screen reads: “could also be for reverse wireless charging but not confirmed there.”
It’s also worth noting that another well-connected source, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, claimed that reverse wireless charging is “unlikely in the near future” as recently as February.
We’ll probably know for sure in September when, if recent form is anything to go by, Tim Cook will officially unveil the iPhone 13. Unless it’s the iPhone 12s for superstitious reasons.