Apple’s FCC filing indicates iPhone 12 may have inactive support for reverse wireless charging

VentureBeat’s Jeremy Horwitz points us to a new Apple filing with the United States Federal Communications Commission in which the Cupertino technology group hints at a possible new feature that appears to be similar to wireless power sharing on Samsung’s recent phones.

An excerpt from the filing:

In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhones also support WPT charging function at 360 kHz to charge accessories. Currently the only accessory that can be charged by iPhones is an external potential Apple accessory in future.

Interestingly, reliable Apple analysts Ming-Chi Kuo predicted reverse wireless charging for the iPhone 11 lineup a year ago. That never came to be, and Kuo later explained that Apple dropped the featured because “the charging efficiency may not meet Apple’s requirements.”

Featured Qi wireless chargers for your iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch

The FCC filing doesn’t specify which future Apple accessory might work with reverse wireless charging on the 2020 iPhone models, but one accessory certainly springs to mind immediately — the AirPods — and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman acknowledged as much.

Here’s Samsung’s wireless power sharing in action.

Apple is likely to enable this currently inactive feature with a future iOS software update. It’s unclear whether people will be able to charge their existing AirPods with the current Q1 wireless charging case or if a new case with MagSafe support might be needed for that.

Importantly, the filing says that the charging session “only occurs when the phone is connected to an AC power outlet.”

According to Horwitz, the “only occurs” part refers to the current type of charging session where the iPhone is connected via MagSafe to the wall charger versus the “potential accessory” that would be used while the phone is fully portable.

The Loop’s Dave Mark speculated that Apple’s long-awaited AirTags item trackers might be able to be charged on the back of the iPhone 12 models, a perfectly valid assumption.

What do you make of this?