Hidden Apple Watch Port May Be Key to Better Charging

There's a hidden port on your Apple Watch. And it could be the solution to speeding up charge times for Apple's smartwatch.

The port, located within a slot where you attach a strap to the Apple Watch, appears to be used for diagnostic purposes. But, as reported by 9to5Mac, the makers of the forthcoming Reverse Strap accessory say that the 6-pin port can be used to charge the device.

"The Reserve Strap will take advantage of this using a simple, retractable connector instead of the previous inductive charging cradle design," the developer writes on its website.

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If true, it would be a significant discovery for keeping the Apple Watch charged. Apple promises 18 hours of battery life with its watch, and while our Apple Watch review found that the device lived up to that claim, other smartwatches, particularly those with e-paper displays can go longer between charges. As a result, accessory makers are working on ways to recharge the Apple Watch, though nearly all involve inductive charging. By tapping into this 6-pin port, the Reverse Strap could charge the device, even as you continue to wear the watch.

This technical illustration from the Reverse Strap website shows how the accessory would plug into the Apple Watch's 6-pin port.

This technical illustration from the Reverse Strap website shows how the accessory would plug into the Apple Watch's 6-pin port.

There are other benefits as well, the strap's developer says. "We've been able to achieve a higher charge capacity and quicker, more efficient charging times while also improving durability and eliminating any interference with Apple Watch functionality including taptic feedback and heartrate sensors," Reverse Strap says on its website.

Of course, there are a few things in the way of you plugging a charging accessory into that hidden port. For one, the port is closed, though Reverse Strap says it will include a tool that will let users open up the port. The $250 Reverse Strap also isn't expected to ship until the fall, when it will be available for both 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches in white, gray, and black.

Most importantly, though, it's unclear how Apple feels about this use of the watch's diagnostic port, though if the past is any indication, the company tends not to disapprove of third-party accessory makers using its devices in unapproved ways. We've asked Apple for comment, and will update the story if the company responds.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.