Reverse wireless charging hardware found inside new iPhones-or is it something else?

Reverse wireless charging hardware found inside new iPhones-or is it something else?
For months we heard the drumbeat over and over in our head; the new 2019 Apple iPhones were going to feature reverse wireless charging. First offered on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (who said smartphone innovation is dead-it merely moved to China), reverse wireless charging allows phone owners to use the back panel of their handset as a wireless charging pad. Compatible devices can be placed on the back of the phone and have the battery inside it charged up. The battery on the host phone shares some of its power with the device being charged.

Since John Q. Public, Johnny Appleseed or whatever you prefer to call the average American only knows about Huawei from the Wanted posters hanging in their local post office, this feature most likely escaped their notice at first. But Samsung brought reverse wireless charging (or bilateral wireless charging if you prefer) to the states with the Samsung Galaxy S10 line, calling it Wireless PowerShare. And there was every reason to believe that reverse wireless charging was coming to the new iPhones. In fact, back in April reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple planned on hiking the battery capacities on its 2019 handsets so that iPhone users could spare some extra juice to charge up the AirPods wireless charging case, an Apple Watch or a compatible phone. Kuo was right about the hike in battery capacity, and his report the day before Apple unveiled the new models warned everyone that reverse wireless charging was not going to be available for the 2019 iPhones.

Will Apple enable wireless reverse charging on the new iPhone models?


A couple of days after the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max were unveiled, tipster Sonny Dickson sent out a very interesting tweet. Reliable sources had told him that the hardware for reverse wireless charging is indeed inside the new handsets but is "software disabled." That created hope among iPhone fans that the feature could be enabled via a software update. And that does seem to be the case following iFixit's teardown of the three phones which revealed that each of the units contain a mystery board under the battery. In addition, there is a secondary battery connector never seen before in any previous iPhone model. It plugs in adjacent to the wireless charging coil. According to iFixit, this hardware could support bilateral wireless charging; if so, it can probably be enabled with a software update.


It isn't clear how many people actually use the reverse wireless charging feature on their phone. Earlier this year, Samsung surveyed 6,500 Europeans and found that 35% would rather have a fully charged battery on their phone than receive some cash. 72% said that they would share their battery life with a family member, 62% would do so with a friend or partner and only 14% would help out a total stranger. On the other side of the story, 62% said that they would buy a cup of coffee for a stranger in exchange for some of his or her battery life.

It is possible that the mysterious hardware has nothing to do with reverse wireless charging


To be clear, Apple didn't mention reverse wireless charging at all during the new product event held a couple of weeks ago. The company might decide just to let it go so that iPhone users can fully enjoy the enhanced battery life on the new models without feeling like that have to share some of it with others. The iPhone 11 offers up to one additional hour of battery life compared to the iPhone XR; the iPhone 11 Pro will run up to four hours longer on a single charge than the iPhone XS and the iPhone 11 Pro Max battery will last up to five hours longer than the battery on the iPhone XS Max.

There also is the possibility that what iFixit found has nothing to do with reverse wireless charging. Today, Apple posted a new support page that mentions a hardware and software system that manages the battery on the new iPhones. As the battery inside the phones age "performance is managed so that it can address these needs in real-time. The system is more advanced than previous iPhone battery and power management systems and allows your iPhone to reduce performance impacts from battery aging." It could be that what passes as hardware for bilateral wireless charging is in reality part of this battery monitoring system.

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12 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31253; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Why even put the tech inside, if they're not going to enable it right away? It works damn good on my Note10+, so I'm good. I exchanged my Pro Max for the Note, and so far, I'm blown away. 512 gb aura black.

3. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2427; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

So you traded a phone in after only having it for at most 3 days?

5. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

What's wrong with that? I once traded my HTC M9+ for the HTC A9 less than 48 hours of buying it. The Honor 8 for an S7 less than 5 days, and the S10+ for the P30 Pro in less than 3 weeks. Sometimes reviews and brief hands-on experience in the store don't tell the full story.

9. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2427; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t trade in the device. The point was it being after only 3 days. That’s hardly enough to truly try out a device. I would give it a 2 week period before trading it in. Also, who trades in an HTC M9 for an HTC A9? I think I’m going to stay away from you for buying advice.

12. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

The m9+ had a mediatek cpu, so few apps that I used daily at that time wasn't fully optimized, and they were super laggy. Also, I forgot which camera setup my phone had, but I remember that it was simply awful.

13. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2427; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Ah you bought an international version then. I know the US had a Snapdragon 810.

4. mackan84

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Well couldn’t ifixit just compare it to a Note 10 to have a definitive answer to this instead of speculation? Shouldn’t be to different. It’s still Qi.

2. Alcyone

Posts: 461; Member since: May 10, 2018

How such a small piece could allow reverse charging is interesting. I'd have imagined emitting a charge would need to come from the pad/sticker that receives the charge. Wouldn't see why a whole seperate connection is needed. Probably, all could've been done wirh the one connection and the proper software. Could be totally wrong tho.

8. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2240; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

I’m waiting on the 2020 iPhone 12 Pro Max. I returned the 11 Pro Max as my XS Max 512 with iOS13 creates an amazing experience now. Going from iOS12.4.1 to iOS13 for me was the game changer. Their is no need for me to upgrade. I didn’t get the value of the upgrade from XS Max to Pro Max.

10. Tizo101

Posts: 564; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

So it just doesn't have the tech. No reason to confuse yourselves.

11. Iodine

Posts: 1493; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Or just admit that the rumors were wrong this year ! And those tipsters just can not get over it and lie on - it is Apple fault our ghosip was not true not ours... Cudos to Apple for some secrecy this year.

14. Marcwand3l

Posts: 446; Member since: May 08, 2017

Well apparently the new iphones get quite hot even with normal usage. They are definitely hotter than previous iphones so this could me the main reason they didn't enable the feature.

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