Apple could let your MacBook charge an iPhone or Apple Watch, patent suggests

Charging Patent Wireless
Charging Patent Wireless (Image credit: USPTO)

What you need to know

  • Apple has patented a new way to charge devices.
  • The patent uses batteries and coils to transmit to and receive power wirelessly from other devices.
  • It could lead to charging your Apple Watch or iPhone on your MacBook.

An Apple patent published last week has revealed how we might one day be able to charge Apple devices wireless from other electronic devices.

The patent is titled 'Inductive charging between electronic devices' and its abstract states:

An electronic device and methods for inductively charging an electronic device using another external electronic device. The electronic device may include an enclosure, a battery positioned within the enclosure, and an inductive coil coupled to the battery. The inductive coil may have two or more operational modes, including a power receiving operational mode for wirelessly receiving power and a power transmitting operational mode for wirelessly transmitting power. The electronic device may also have a controller coupled to the inductive coil for selecting one of the operational modes.

The patent is a continuation of previously filed patents relating to wireless charging an electronic device using a second electronic device, i.e. charging a phone or watch using an iPad or MacBook. The patent uses inductive coils that can transmit electric power between devices, drawing power from one and sending it to the other. It's essentially wireless charging, but using a charged device rather than a mat plugged into an outlet. (A technology already used in Samsung's PowerShare feature)

Several of the patent drawings reveal the configurations that this could work in. This includes a tablet charging a phone, a phone charging a watch, a laptop charging a phone (or a phone and a watch) and more.

Chargin Patent Wireless

Chargin Patent Wireless (Image credit: USPTO)

Of course, this is just a patented idea at this stage, but it does signal that Apple is at least considering ways to use larger devices to support the charging of smaller devices, further binding together Apple's ecosystem and perhaps reducing the new to use and carry wired charging apparatus for all of your different devices.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9