iOS 16.5 could enhance iPhone 14 with reverse wireless charging

iOS 16.5 could enhance iPhone 14 with reverse wireless charging

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Soon, other MagSafe power banks besides Apple might be able to receive power from an iPhone, not just transmit it.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple will add support for wirelessly charging accessories to the iPhone 14, according to a tipster. iPhones already have limited support for reverse wireless charging, but the capability is supposedly being expanded.

This would make a range of third-party MagSafe accessories more useful.

iPhone reverse wireless charging might become common

Everyone should be aware that most iPhones can receive power wirelessly through inductive charging. But MagSafe iPhones have a limited ability to wirelessly transmit power, too. Currently, this extends only to Apple’s own MagSafe Battery Pack though, no rival accessories.

That could change soon. Included in a series of tweets with information about iPhone 14, McGuire Wood writes, “Wireless charging coil will have the ability to do proper RWC but not at launch. iOS 16.5 is my best estimate.”

It’s not clear if this extends to other MagSafe-compatible handsets, but it’s a reasonable assumption. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 already have limited support for reverse wireless charging, as noted.

The change in iOS, if true, will allow companies besides Apple to make MagSafe batteries that both send and receive power from an iPhone. RWC lets the user plug in their iPhone and charge the handset and a power bank simultaneously with a single Lightning cable. To see the current difficultly, consider that the OtterBox Wireless Power Bank for MagSafe includes two separate sets of charging coils and it still can’t pull this trick off .

And RWC can be useful in other ways. The Scoche BoomCan MagSafe speaker could be recharged by the iPhone, for example. Any clip-on accessory with a battery could get power this way.

There’s a limit

But even if full reverse wireless charging is enabled, it won’t mean one iPhone will be able to send power to another this way. RWC is a facet of MagSafe, and the magnets that are part of the system are designed to hold an iPhone to an accessory, with positive and negative magnetic poles lining up. That means an iPhone won’t properly line up with another iPhone.

We might find out if this unconfirmed report is correct in September, when the iPhone 14 is expected to be unveiled by Apple. Or it could have to wait until iOS 16.5 is introduced.