Google Pixel 5 has a killer hidden feature iPhone 12 can't match

Google Pixel 5 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Google Pixel 5 features plenty of clever software features and conveniences, but Google's kept quiet about one neat trick its reverse wireless charging can do.

As seen on a Google support page by 9to5Google, plugging the Pixel 5 into a USB-C charger automatically activates Battery Share, letting you charge wireless earbuds or similar accessories immediately by placing them on the back of the handset. It's a small feature, but yet more proof of why we enjoy the Pixel phones' user experience so much.

You don't have to plug in the Pixel 5 to use Battery Share though. You can activate it manually from the Battery options in the Settings menu, although your phone's battery will have to be between 10% and 50% full for this to work, depending on what minimum you have selected.

There are limits to this. Reverse wireless charging disables automatically if there's nothing charging on the back of the Pixel, the phone gets too hot, the accessory is fully charged, or if it's struggling to charge it due to "poor placement, a thick case, or other issues." And of course, the Pixel 5 can't simultaneously reverse wireless charge and wireless charge at the same time.

In our Google Pixel 5 review, we complemented the phone's software and excellent photography skills as well as its great battery life, perfect for donating via Battery Share. The phone's weaknesses come in performance and cost. Despite costing $700, the Pixel 5's Snapdragon 765 chipset and 8GB RAM is easily surpassed by phones such as the OnePlus Nord, which costs around $200 less. So as impressed as we are by this clever automatic Battery Share feature, we still prefer other phones such as the iPhone 12 or Google's own Pixel 4a.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.