Two-way or bilateral wireless charging was widely expected to be one of the standout features of this year’s iPhones. Then, it failed to appear. Some reports have suggested that the feature was pulled at the last minute. And in its teardown of the iPhone 11 Pro models, iFixit found some hints that the handsets have some of the physical components necessary for the feature amid conflicting reports.
Evidence of Bilateral Charging
There are conflicting reports on whether or not the new iPhone 11 Pro models actually have the hardware for two-way wireless charging. But iFixit’s teardown suggests that it does.
Most notably, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max appear to have two battery connectors — which is a first for any iPhone.
With a bit more digging, iFixit found that one of the connectors is a “direct line” to the wireless charging coil.
That, of course, would likely be an important mechanism for two-way, or bilateral, wireless charging. But the teardown site found some other interesting details that could be related to the unimplemented feature.
When the site connected the cable, their iPhone unit displayed a temperature warning for a moment before returning to normal.
“We suspect it lost contact with an important battery temperature sensor and shut itself down; this sounds a lot like a reverse wireless charging heat management feature to us,” iFixit wrote.
The iFixit team also found a “mysterious” new board sitting directly beneath the battery which could also be related to two-way wireless charging.
It’s important to note that even if the aforementioned components are related to it, two-way wireless charging is not a feature you can currently use on the iPhone 11 Pro models.
Whether or not you’ll be able to take advantage of the feature in the future is unclear since, as we mentioned, there are competing theories on whether or not the new iPhones have the necessary hardware.
Earlier this month, tech leaker Sonny Dickson reported that the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro actually do have the hardware for two-way wireless charging but that the feature itself is software disabled. Dickson, citing “reliable sources,” also said that it’s unclear whether it was removed prior to final production.
On the other hand, iMore’s Rene Ritchie said that it is his understanding that two-way wireless charging wasn’t pulled from the new iPhones — instead, it was “never slated for production and there isn’t anything (inside the new devices) that could be enabled later).”
In any case, well-connected Apple analyst said that bilateral wireless charging was ultimately pulled from announcement “because the charging efficiency may not match Apple’s requirements.”
All of this is to say that it’s unclear whether Apple could “turn on” the feature in a later software update, or if the iPhone 11 devices even have the required hardware for the feature.
The only thing that is clear is that Apple didn’t announce the feature — and that it was probably because it didn’t meet its stringent requirements.