Image: iFixit

What you need to know

  • iFixit found evidence of bilateral charging inside the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
  • multiple sources have informed iMore that this is almost certainly an error.
  • according to sources, bilateral inductive charging wasn't slated to ship with iPhone 11.

Update: Rene here. After this story broke, multiple different sources reached out to tell me it's inaccurate or erroneous. There's no bilateral charging in any of the iPhones 11 nor was there intended to be. (Though, I personally have little doubt Apple has considered it - they're smart and rich enough time consider everything. Even if they ultimately decide no or not yet.)

Original story below.

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Before the iPhone 11 was unveiled, a report claimed the device would feature bilateral charging. Then, another report said the feature was axed at the last minute. Well, the iPhone 11 was unveiled with no bilateral charging in sight.

iFixit performed its customary teardown of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and uncovered evidence that Apple was indeed planning the feature. iFixit said it discovered two battery connectors inside the new iPhone, suggesting that bilateral charging was supposed to exist.

Here's what iFixit had to say:

With the phone powered on, we disconnected the lower battery connector and the phone stayed on and charged via the Lightning port, but not over wireless charging. Seems this extra connector is a direct line to the wireless charging coil, which could be an important feature for bilateral charging!

What's more, when we reconnected the cable, our phone displayed a momentary temperature warning before returning to normal. We suspect it lost contact with an important battery temperature sensor and shut itself down; this sounds a lot like a reverse wireless charging heat management feature to us.

Curiously, following the iPhone 11's introduction, a reliable source said that Apple's new devices do feature bilateral charging, but it's disabled through software. That's why iFixit was able to find evidence of the feature's existence.

Apple didn't mention bilateral charging during the iPhone 11 announcement, and there's no evidence to suggest that it plans to enable the feature down the road. Apparently, Apple ran into charging efficiency issues and abandoned the feature so the iPhone 11 wouldn't be delayed.

It would seem that bilateral charging is there, you just can't use it.

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