iPhone 12 could be hiding reverse wireless charging after all

Apple hasn't had that much luck with its own wireless chargers, at least if you look at the still MIA AirPower, so it was a bit surprising when it announced the all-new old-named MagSafe wireless charging system for the iPhone 12. That has almost made a lot forget about the wireless charging capabilities that have been rumored for iPhones since last year. Apple apparently didn't forget and may have sneaked in a reverse wireless charging feature that it may be reserving for new AirPods.

It was speculated and perhaps hoped that last year's iPhone 11 would include a reverse wireless charging function that was becoming a bit popular and common on Android phones. Of course, it's hardly conceivable that Apple would find wireless charging an iPhone with another iPhone to be something practical but it would open the doors to charging some accessories, particularly the AirPods.

That never happened last year and rumors didn't resurface this year so most probably presumed it was a no-go for the iPhone 12 as well. Lo and behold, this year's iPhones apparently do have something equivalent but hidden so well that it took an FCC filing to discover its existence.

VentureBeat's Jeremy Horwitz shares the discovery of a key phrase in that filing, noting that the iPhone 12's MagSafe technology also supports a charging function at 360 kHz. This is pretty much the confirmation of some form of reverse wireless charging, one that's specifically designed to charge accessories. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg connects this to rumors about new AirPods coming soon.

The existence of the feature, at least based on an FCC document, could send a few treasure hunters digging around for more clues, especially if this functionality could be enabled ahead of its planned announcement. While it does hint that Apple may be preparing new AirPods that will take advantage of this feature, it doesn't offer any assurance that this will be taking place anytime soon.