Bloomberg: iPhone Reverse Charging for Apple Watch and AirPods 'Unlikely in the Near Future'
In a report outlining the development of MagSafe battery accessories for the iPhone 12 lineup, Bloomberg says that Apple has "internally discussed a goal of letting many of its mobile devices like Apple Watches, AirPods, and iPhones charge each other," however, the report notes that it's unlikely to be launched in "the near future." With the launch of the iPhone 11 series in 2019, Apple was planning, but then later scrapped plans to allow the iPhone to reverse charge AirPods, according to the report.
Earlier this week, evidence discovered by MacRumors in iOS 14.5 hinted at a possible MagSafe battery accessory. Code within the beta software reads, "To improve charging efficiency and maximize available battery life, the battery pack will keep your phone charged at around 90%."
Apple has been researching the ability for devices to charge each other for some time. Patents discovered in January reveal a concept of a future MacBook wirelessly charging an iPhone or Apple Watch on either side of the trackpad. The patent envisions an ecosystem in which devices are reliant on each other for charging, and presumably syncing.
Despite the feature not being officially released, the technology itself is already available within the iPhone 12. According to FCC filings, all models in the iPhone 12 lineup have the ability to reverse charge an Apple accessory on the back. The iPhone would serve as a wireless charging pad for devices with wireless charging compatibility such as the AirPods (second generation), AirPods Pro, and the Apple Watch Series 3 and later.
In theory, Apple could enable the feature with an iOS update, although there's no indication the company will. It could be holding off on enabling the feature until it releases the newly reported MagSafe battery accessories.