Apple is working on iPhone cases that charge your AirPods

AirPods (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A newly discovered patent points to a future iPhone case that will also charge your AirPods.

A newly discovered patent could hold the secret to a new iPhone case that also acts as a charger for your AirPods. Titled "Cases and folios for carrying and charging accessories," the new patent includes a couple of different ways AirPods could be charged by nothing more than an iPhone case.

First spotted by Apple Insider, the patent suggests that a case could have "a cavity" that would be filled by AirPods whether that's at the top of the case or within the cover of a folio-type case. Apple says that being able to charge your AirPods on the move would mean that people wouldn't be left without juice even when they don't have a charger handy.

Airpods In Iphone Case Patent

Airpods In Iphone Case Patent (Image credit: Apple)

This application relates to a case for retaining a portable electronic device and an accessory. The case can include a main body that includes a back panel and sidewalls for retaining a portable electronic device. The case can also include a receptacle coupled to the main body. The receptacle can have a cavity that generally corresponds to the dimension of an accessory for retaining the accessory. The case can further include a first terminal, a second terminal, and a battery. The first terminal can receive electrical energy from the portable electronic device to charge the battery. And the electrical energy stored in the battery can be transferred to the accessory through the second terminal. The case and the portable electronic device may communicate via near-field communication. The case can further include a slotted compartment to store money and credit cards.

While there could well be cases that include a battery, like Apple's own battery cases, this patent would allow for the iPhone itself to act as the power source. AirPods likely wouldn't use too much power, allowing an iPhone to top them off without too much issue.

Charging a pair of AirPods currently involves putting them into their case and then either placing them on a wireless charger or connecting a cable. Some had hoped that Apple would add reverse wireless charging to the iPhone 12 lineup to allow it to wirelessly charge AirPods – but it seems Apple might be looking at an alternative solution instead.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.