Apple patent reveals one possible Lightning port replacement for iPhone

Magsafe Patent
Magsafe Patent (Image credit: USPTO)

What you need to know

  • A new Apple patent has revealed one way the company could replace the iPhone's Lightning port.
  • It reveals a magnetic MagSafe charger at the base of an iPhone.
  • Apple introduced MagSafe to the back of the iPhone 12 and is rumored to be on the way to ditching ports from its smartphones altogether.

A new Apple patent has revealed one way Apple could ditch the Lightning port on its iPhone, using the same MagSafe tech found in the iPhone 12.

The new patent is titled 'Magnetic surface contacts' and covers a range of applications relating to magnetic smart connectors, akin to its MagSafe charger for the MacBooks of old and the smart connector from the iPad's Smart Keyboard.

The patent is interesting as it shows that Apple is still considering different ways to charge and interface with mobile devices of the future. Whilst the patent doesn't mention the iPhone specifically (they never do), the images clearly show a smart connector and corresponding dock at the base of a smartphone.

Whilst Apple is tipped to never rever the iPhone to a USB-C connector, there are rumors it plans to ditch ports altogether, perhaps as soon as this year. As early as May 2020, serial Apple leaker Jon Prosser stated at least one iPhone 13 model will not have any ports.

A recent leak claimed Apple is working on an Internet Recovery feature for the next iPhone as a plan to enable the restoration and recovery of a portless iPhone with software issues.

The patent might never see the light of day, and given its recency should not be taken as information about the iPhone 13. It does indicate, however, that Apple is still considering other options away from the Lightning port on the iPhone.

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