The new MagSafe Battery Pack taps into reverse charging in iPhone 12

As sometimes happens, the more interesting details about a new Apple-branded product only show up after the initial announcement. That’s the case for the new MagSafe Battery Pack, Apple’s newest wireless accessory for the iPhone 12 lineup. Turns out the new product actually unlocks an oft-rumored feature for the smartphones.

You’ll probably recall that the iPhone lineup has been rumored to add reverse wireless charging for quite some time now. It was a feature expected to arrive in the iPhone 11 lineup, but when that didn’t happen all eyes turned to the iPhone 12 family. And it turns out it finally happened. Kind of.

The MagSafe Battery Pack technically unlocks reverse charging.

Promotional graphics showing the back of iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 in purple with Apple MagSafe Battery Pack attached magnetically on the back
Image credit: Apple

When Apple introduced the MagSafe Battery Pack, the company said that if you connect a charging cable to the external pack while it’s magnetically paired to the iPhone, it will charge both products at the same time. Which makes sense! The battery pack charges the phone and the cable, attached to a power brick, charges the battery pack.

But it turns out that if you plug in your iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max and then attach the MagSafe Battery Pack, the iPhone will charge the battery pack. This is the first implementation of reverse charging in an Apple product, which is potentially good news for the future.

It’s worth noting that this feature is pretty limited in scope, all things considered. While the iPhone 12 lineup technically supports wirelessly charging the MagSafe Battery Pack while it’s paired to the phone, it can only do that while it’s wired to a charging source.

Does this mean that we’ll see reverse wireless charging in the iPhone 13 that can power other accessories like AirPods Pro? Maybe! Now that we know the MagSafe Battery Pack unlocks the feature in the current generation of iPhones, the sky appears to be the limit.