Hardware for missing Apple iPhone feature rumored to be disabled inside the handsets

Hardware for missing Apple iPhone feature rumored to be disabled inside the handsets
Throughout much of this year, we kept hearing that the 2019 Apple iPhones would have reverse wireless charging (aka bilateral wireless charging). This feature first debuted on 2018's Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Samsung named it Wireless PowerShare for the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series. Reverse wireless charging allows the user to flip his phone face down and use the back panel as though it were a wireless charging pad. For example, iPhone users would have been able to power up the AirPods wireless charging case, an Apple Watch, or compatible phone.

It wasn't until last Monday night, the evening before Apple's new product event, that reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told clients that Apple had decided not to equip its new models with reverse wireless charging. The reason cited by Kuo was that Apple felt that the "charging efficiency may not meet Apple’s requirements." And sure enough, during the event last Tuesday, there was not one word mentioned about it.

The big improvement in battery life on the 2019 iPhone models could have been originally related to reverse wireless charging


But that is not the end of the story. On Thursday, Twitter tipster Sonny Dickson revealed via a tweet that he was told by reliable sources that the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro could contain the hardware needed to offer reverse wireless charging, but the hardware is said to be "software disabled." If true, this would be a strong indication that Apple's decision to disable the feature was pretty much a last-minute decision and might have occurred too late for it to remove the hardware from the phones.

Another sign that Apple might have originally decided to include reverse wireless charging on the 2019 iPhones is the nice sized jump in battery life for each model that Apple announced. The iPhone 11 has an additional hour of battery life, and the model it replaced (the iPhone XR) already had the longest battery life of any iPhone ever. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have battery life increases of four and five hours respectively. Since reverse wireless charging uses the battery belonging to the host phone, Apple was expected to include more powerful batteries on the new handsets. In fact, earlier in the year when Kuo noted that Apple was planning on equipping the 2019 iPhones with larger batteries, he specifically said that it was to help support bilateral wireless charging.


When it comes to wireless charging, this has not been a banner year for Apple. In March, it officially canceled the AirPower wireless charging pad that it first unveiled on September 12th, 2017. At that event, Apple also introduced the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. The pad was supposed to be able to charge the AirPods wireless charging case, an Apple Watch and a compatible phone all at the same time. Despite little clues indicating that AirPower was still alive (including a diagram on the retail box of the second-generation AirPods that showed a sketch of the product being used with the wireless Bluetooth earbuds), after 562 days Apple finally turned the lights off on the overly ambitious accessory.

As for the reverse wireless hardware that may be inside the new iPhones, it doesn't appear that Apple plans on enabling the feature with a software update anytime soon. And frankly, it isn't clear that the lack of reverse wireless charging is going to cost Apple that many iPhone sales anyway. Instead, the manufacturer is counting on the upgraded camera systems, the larger batteries and the improved water resistance to drive sales of the latest iPhone models.

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15 Comments

1. gadgetpower

Posts: 265; Member since: Aug 23, 2019

My airpods last a day. So there’s no need for this power share. Maybe in the next iphone, when its powered with 4000mah.

8. Samfruit

Posts: 19; Member since: Sep 11, 2018

If there is no need why then do you wish to have it in the next iphone ?

9. oldskool50 unregistered

The next iPhone isn't going to have a 4000mah battery. When you consider other OEMs have had 3000+ since 2012 and Apple just crossed the only last year, you can bet 4000 won't happen until after 2021. Also when you consider the S10's 9W reverse charging was more powerful than the charging brick Apple included for so long; for Apple to be purposely dragging their feet is ridiculous. Stuff like this is specifically why the iPhone for sure is not worth $1000 when compared to others that cost the same.

2. xxCearxx

Posts: 28; Member since: Apr 11, 2014

iPhone 7 and 7 plus were announced on September 2016. Typo guys! It doesn't make sense to present a charging pad for wireless phone charging, if the phone does not have wireless charging capabilities...

3. tbreezy

Posts: 49; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

Indeed, if I remember correctly, the marketing images of AirPower featured the iPhone X and iPhone 8.

4. foldablephone

Posts: 58; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Yes Alan, I believe there’s a mistake/typo above. I’m typing this in on iPhone 7 which was revealed in 2016 not 2017. I think you meant iPhone X and 8. It is unusual how Apple haven’t been able to engineer wireless charging options however. The first time I seen Huawei’s commercial for this I thought it seemed a very Apple feature, especially considering they killed off the headphone jack. How can a company make the fastest mobile chips but not now how to deliver a wireless charging pad 2 years after announcing it?

5. mackan84

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

There is thousands of wireless chargers on the market. Why do they need to make one? The failed AirPower was suppose to offer something those doesn’t do. When they couldn’t do it they scrapped it.

10. oldskool50 unregistered

Apple doesnt engineer anything but the SoC and phone housing. Wireless charging is owned by Qualcomm and they have license the tech to the Wireless Consortium, which Apple is only one of the brands in the group. This is just Apple being lazy and trying to suck you all dry to give just one new feature every year.

13. mackan84

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Or it’s because this feature is never used by the bigger part of consumers.

6. Alan01

Posts: 621; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Absolutely right guys. Thanks for the heads up. Regards, Alan

11. Tizo101

Posts: 564; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

Something must have went horribly wrong for Apple involving this feature. I have a feeling that they found it harder to implement than expected hence cancellation not forgetting that they try to use the cheapest components.

14. mackan84

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Maybe the Apple Watch didn’t work with it. Would seem dumb that one of their products couldn’t receive the charge.

12. Vokilam

Posts: 1258; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Could be a patent violation they didn’t know they infringed until last minute.

15. mootu

Posts: 1527; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Apple knows full well when it infringing patents, they have the best lawyer team in the world. What the normally do is infringe anyway then try and bankrupt the plaintiff in court. Standard practice for Apple. It could actually be that if Huawei does have a licence on reverse charging tech then Apple would be breaking the US ban on companys doing business with Huawei.

16. Vokilam

Posts: 1258; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Stupid post, extremely one sided. Has no idea how parents work, has no idea how courts work, and defiantly no clue how innovation laws and politics work. Just spews out fanboy drivel without a clue to feed his own narrative.

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