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Is the iPhone 12 hiding a secret reverse charging feature?

The iPhone 12 family of devices could be secretly harbouring the ability to recharge future accessories like AirPods, according to a filing Apple made to US regulators.

The handsets could open the door to reverse wireless charging, where the iPhone can be used to share some of its battery power to replenish a secondary device. This was not mentioned by Apple during the recent iPhone 12 launch event.

If the company decides to unlock the feature mentioned in the filing, future accessories – such as the rumoured AirPods Pro 2 – could feature MagSafe technology and allow for charging via the rear casing of the iPhone 12.

It might also provide iPhone 12 owners with the opportunity to replenish the long-rumoured AirTags trackers, set to launch in early 2021. Bloomberg’s seasoned Apple reporter Mark Gurman speculates: “Another possibility: AirTags — which are rumored to charge with MagSafe. So idea being these would be re-charged on the back of a new iPhone or a MagSafe charger. Bet would be that someone willing to spend money on an Apple Tile would probably have the latest iPhone or charger.”

The detail, spotted by VentureBeat writer Jeremy Horwitz, comes within a filing to the FCC in the United States. It reads: “In addition to being able to be charged by a desktop WPT charger (puck), 2020 iPhone models also support WPT charging function at 360 kHz to charge accessories [including] an external potential Apple accessory in future.”

Related: Best iPhone 2020

Apple wouldn’t be the first company to offer up its phones as a host device for replenishing accessories and even other phones. We’ve seen the likes of Samsung, with its Wireless Powershare feature, offer this in the last few years. As well as recharging other Qi-enabled devices, Samsung also enables users to recharge each other’s phones in a pinch. Huawei offers a similar feature in its Android handsets too.

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