iPhone 13 may support reverse charging, but I don’t expect it at all

Use a powered iPhone to charge a dead iPhone. How many powered iPhones do you get?

This question is a bit confusing and magical. After all, iPhones currently do not have a conventional way to convert electricity.

However, if the "iPhone with battery" is replaced with Android, I might immediately call out the answer to this somewhat absurd question.

That is, get a nearly dead Android and a powered iPhone, and two overheated devices.

To complete the process of converting Android electricity into iPhone electricity and heat, "reverse charging" is used.

▲ iPhone 13 series or use a larger wireless coil. Picture from: EverythingApplePro

According to the news obtained by Max Weinbach, Apple may use a larger coil in the iPhone 13 to improve the power and heat dissipation of wireless charging, and even "unblock" the reverse charging function.

Reverse charging on the iPhone only owes Dongfeng?

Why it says "unblocking" instead of "increase" is mostly because since the iPhone 11 series, Apple has left a back door for "reverse charging".

▲ iPhone 11 Pro Max disassembly. Picture from: iFixit

iFixit discovered by disassembling the iPhone 11 Pro Max that for the first time, Apple had configured two battery connectors in the iPhone, one connected to the battery and the other unknown.

iFixit disconnected the second connector and found that the iPhone can be charged through the Lightning interface, but wireless charging cannot be triggered, so it is speculated that it may be reserved for the "two-way charging" function.

In the iPhone 12 generation, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman found that an FCC document about MagSafe suggested that the iPhone 12 series supports "reverse charging", but it was not turned on for some reason.

As long as Apple is willing, or when the time is right, software engineers can type the code, and an OTA upgrade can "unblock" the reverse charging function on the iPhone 12 series.

However, after discovering this secret, Bloomberg also estimated that Apple is unlikely to turn on the reverse charging function on the iPhone 12 series in the near future.

Reverse charging, icing on the cake or ecological closed loop?

There are two reasons, one is experience and the other is ecology.

The reverse charging function is not new, it is almost standard for Android flagships now. Although it is nominally capable of charging mobile phones that support wireless charging, in practice it is mainly for small devices such as TWS.

▲ Samsung Galaxy S10 supports wireless reverse charging. Picture from: Samsung

Their battery capacity is small, and the recharge will have a considerable effect after a while. More importantly, this process will not excessively consume the power of the equipment that provides power.

However, the conversion rate of wireless charging is about 70%. If you want to charge the AirPods Pro that is close to 400mAh, you need to eat at least the iPhone’s 580mAh, which is about 20% of the power. This makes the iPhone’s inherently less prosperous battery life even worse. "

▲IPhone reverse charging renderings. Picture from: Macotakara

This still does not consider the additional loss and power reduction caused by excessive temperature rise as a prerequisite, the actual situation is only a lot more. Reverse charging can only be used for emergency at present, and it is not recommended to be used as a conventional means of recharging.

With the iPhone 12, Apple also released the MagSafe wireless charging system. Simply put, it solves the pain point of locating the coil position for wireless charging, but it still does not solve the heat dissipation problem under "high power". MagSafe still has a big problem. Room for progress.

▲ MagSafe components are composed of many different components, including magnetometer, shielding layer, magnetic ring and NFC coil, etc. Image from: Apple

Bloomberg also said before that Apple may wait for the MagSafe system to mature and expand, and then start "reverse charging" smoothly, making reverse charging a small part of the MagSafe system.

▲ Patented drawings of MacBook C-side support for wireless charging and iPad support for wireless charging.

Apple's wireless layout is not only on the iPhone. Earlier news pointed out that wireless charging may be added to the iPad and MacBook.

Compared to the iPhone, which has a weaker battery life, iPad and MacBook with larger battery capacity and heat dissipation area may be a better choice for the layout of the "reverse charging" function.

From this point of view, Apple's reverse charging is indeed a bad thing.

A stumbling block on the wireless ecological road, Apple Watch

Before the east wind blows, in Apple's wireless ecosystem, Apple Watch is a "stumbling block."

▲ Apple Watch Series 6. Picture from: theVerge

Like the Android camp, iPhones also use the Qi wireless charging protocol, which is highly compatible.

As for Apple Watch, although it is also a Qi wireless standard, it is not compatible with each other. Naturally, it is not open to third-party charging devices. Strictly speaking, it is a private agreement.

In order to be compatible with the charging protocol of Apple Watch, after several years of research and development, even AirPower using the A11 chip failed to solve the problem of mutual interference and heating of the coils, and ultimately difficult to produce.

▲ Picture from: Bloomberg

After six years and six generations, Apple Watch shipments are visible. According to data released by Counterpoint Research, Apple Watch has accounted for 51.4% of the global wearable market.

Apple wants to improve the wireless charging ecosystem. For the huge Apple Watch market, either MagSafe should be compatible with the Apple Watch's private protocol, or the "strong man" will completely switch to the Qi protocol.

At present, backward compatibility is not a good choice. First, there is AirPower rollover first, and second, backward compatibility will undoubtedly increase the cost. The shift to the Qi protocol and integration into MagSafe is more in line with the concept of "environmental protection".

After the release of Apple Watch Series 6, The Verge wrote an article to speculate that Apple's insistence on using a private charging protocol may be "technical" reasons.

The sensors on the back of the Apple Watch are becoming more and more complex. To be compatible with the Qi charging protocol may need to be redesigned and tested, but this is not insoluble for Apple, but Apple is willing to do it.

Is the iPhone 13 with a larger coil Dongfeng?

Apple completely opened up the MagSafe universe, and the larger coil iPhone 13 may be just an attempt.

▲ iPhone 13 series renderings. Picture from: EverythingApplePro

Try to fine-tune the structure of the coil to see if it can solve the heat dissipation problem of the iPhone under the MagSafe charger and whether it has the potential to increase the charging power.

If all goes well and both of these experiences are solved perfectly, iPhones should be ready.

Next, Apple should consider how to be compatible or solve the problem of Apple Watch charging protocol. And, began to add MagSafe wireless charging to iPad and MacBook one after another, slowly advancing the MagSafe wireless charging ecology.

As for "reverse charging", the applicable scenarios are limited and the conversion rate is worrying. Even if these usage problems are placed on the iPhone 13 with optimized coils, Apple may not be able to "unblock" this function.

Only after the MagSafe wireless ecosystem gradually unfolds and "reverse charging" becomes part of the ecosystem, there may be broader needs and applicable scenarios.

Even if it is rumored that the iPhone 13 series will have a larger capacity battery, it cannot be the motivation to turn on "reverse charging". After all, high refresh rate and 5G are both electric tigers, and the extra battery is more like a preparation for them.

Apple has always been cautious in terms of charging technology. From the opening and closing of "reverse charging", the implementation and optimization of MagSafe technology, and the deployment of wireless ecology, it may take a long time to think and deploy.

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