While Apple’s MagSafe charging system is pretty exciting, there’s still one type of accessory that’s been conspicuously absent from the lineup of cases, chargers, and car mounts that can attach to the iPhone 12’s magnetic ring.
We’re talking about battery packs, of course, and while a few companies have added magnets to standard Qi-enabled battery packs to fill the gap, we’re not certain that these really count, as you’ll be limited to slower 7.5W charging speeds — a pretty inconvenient limitation for something like a battery pack that you may not want to keep latched onto your iPhone for longer than strictly necessary.
What we have yet to see is a battery pack that can offer the full 15W charging speeds that the MagSafe standard allows for. The good news is that Apple is reportedly working on one, but the bad news is that it seems to be running into problems getting it to work as well as it should.
As we heard last month from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple originally wanted to announce the MagSafe battery pack alongside the entire iPhone 12 lineup last October, but despite having had it in development for over a year, it clearly wasn’t ready, and Apple wasn’t about to pull another AirPower by announcing it too soon.
That doesn’t mean it’s stopped working on solving its problems, however, and now it looks like there could be an added bonus to Apple’s first-party MagSafe battery pack that we hadn’t anticipated.
Reverse Wireless Charging
According to leaker Jon Prosser, Apple’s new battery pack will not only be able to charge your iPhone 12 using full-speed MagSafe technology, but it will also offer the “reverse charging” capabilities that we’ve been hearing about for almost two years now.
While Gurman added in his report that reverse charging wasn’t coming anytime soon, he appeared to be referring to the feature on the iPhone, so this hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Apple could choose to incorporate it into a MagSafe battery pack instead.
In fact, it might make even more sense for Apple to do so, since a standalone battery pack could allow Apple to overcome whatever problems forced it to cancel the feature for the iPhone 11 back in 2019.
However, Prosser claims that Apple is actually working on two different versions of the MagSafe battery pack, with a basic model that would simply offer standard charging, plus a more expensive premium version that would offer reverse charging, although likely only for small devices like AirPods.
Prosser also adds that his source isn’t certain if Apple plans to release both versions, or if it’s simply trying to figure out which one is the more viable product.
It’s worth noting that Prosser’s track record has been somewhat mixed, so while his report corroborates both Gurman’s information and code found in recent iOS 14 betas, the idea of a reverse charging version is as yet unconfirmed by any other sources — although it certainly doesn’t sound unreasonable considering that we know that Apple has worked on the technology in the past.
What’s also interesting is that the FCC filings for the iPhone 12 revealed that it does include a wireless power transmitter, however this was labelled as being designed for “an external potential Apple accessory in the future,” rather than anything that exists today.
We’re still scratching our heads as to exactly what that could be, but clearly it sounds like it would be something other than a MagSafe Battery Pack, unless of course Apple plans to incorporate two-way charging in every possible direction.