What you need to know
- We've heard multiple reports that at least one iPhone this year will not have any ports.
- That raises the key question of how a phone without ports could be restored/recovered if it has any issues.
- A new report claims Apple will solve this with an 'Internet Recovery' feature.
A new iPhone 13 leak claims Apple will use an 'Internet Recovery' feature to get around not having any ports on one of its iPhone models released later this year, as it looks to finally get rid of the Lightning port of the iPhone 12.
The report comes from Appleosophy and McGuire Wood (a.k.a Jioriku). From their report:
Explaining first the dilemma, Wood notes the plight of Apple Watch, which can't easily be restored from home by users if there are software/hardware problems that require a restore or recovery to fix. This is a problem that could impact at least one upcoming iPhone 13 model, as we've heard multiple reports Apple is planning at least one 'portless' iPhone this year, that would rely solely on wireless charging and wireless audio connectivity. To solve the issue of recovery and restoration, Apple is reportedly planning a new 'Internet Recovery' feature:
One such method involves the user manually placing the device into recovery mode, triggering an Internet Restore broadcast feature, which "enables an update to iTunes/Finder to scan for devices in the Internet Recovery state", Wood explains:
The report notes this is the "primary" focus for Apple. A second option could involve a device automatically going into Internet Recovery mode, broadcasting the same signal, with Apple using prompts to instruct a user as to how to restore/update their device's firmware.
The third, "least preferred" option apparently explored an internet recovery prompt using Bluetooth, however, this was found to be insecure and unreliable, as well as too slow.
Wood notes Apple could in fact choose both options one and two so there are multiple options for users.
Wood says that on the hardware side, Apple is instructing teams to "integrate wired data by means of pogo pads", the kind used in the hidden port on the Apple Watch:
According to Wood, this is prototype technology running on a prototype device, but that Apple's developers are "confident in the tech". Apparently, restoring takes about two-and-a-half times longer than using a cable.
Wood, or Jioriku, is a more obscure leaker with a limited Apple track record. However, through Appleosophy, he has previously shared images of a rumored new Mac Pro "mini" reminiscent of a later design leaked by Jon Prosser just this week. Wood also correctly shared details of the iPhone 12's design in August, long before its announcement. Given the prominent rumors of a portless iPhone, it also makes perfect sense that Apple is working on tech to aid remote/wireless recovery of devices. Regardless, given the reports are of prototype technology, Wood says we should take "everything with the usual grain of salt."
Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 13 (more likely a 12S) later this year, featuring a 120Hz display, an under-display fingerprint scanner, and more.
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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