iFixit iPhone 11 Pro Max Teardown Hints at Unimplemented Bilateral Wireless Charging Feature [Updated]

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iFixit this morning did a quick teardown of the iPhone 11 Pro to provide a brief look at the new smartphone's internals, and now the site is in the process of doing a much deeper dive through an iPhone 11 Pro Max teardown.

The repair site is just now digging into the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but has already found signs of the bilateral wireless charging feature that was rumored ahead of launch but ultimately not announced.


The iPhone 11 Pro teardown found two battery connectors in the new iPhones, which is a first, and further investigation by iFixit suggests the extra connector is a direct line to the wireless charging coil.
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.
Bilateral wireless charging would have allowed the new iPhones to wirelessly charge devices like the AirPods, the Apple Watch, and even other iPhones. It was an expected feature for much of the 2019 rumor cycle, but just before the new iPhones launched, rumors indicated Apple had decided to pull the feature.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often shares accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that bilateral wireless charging was nixed "because the charging efficiency may not match Apple's requirements."

It's not entirely clear if bilateral wireless charging is something that can be implemented at a later date if the hardware is in place, or if that's Apple's plan, but as of now, there is no two-way wireless charging option despite the hints of it in the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.

iFixit has also discovered a "new mysterious board" sitting below the battery that could be related to bilateral wireless charging.

The teardown so far has also revealed a slimmed down logic board to make room for the triple-lens camera setup and similar adhesive to last year's iPhones despite new water resistance ratings.

iFixit is going to be working on its iPhone 11 Pro Max teardown for the next few hours. Those interested can follow along on the teardown page for updates, and we'll also update this article when new details are shared.

Update: According to iMore's Rene Ritchie, bilateral inductive charging wasn't pulled from the iPhone 11 because it was never slated for production to begin with. Ritchie says there is no hardware in iPhone 11 models that would allow such a feature to be enabled later.

Update: It's my understanding bilateral inductive charging wasn't pulled from the iPhones 11. It was never slated for production and there isn't anything in there that could be enabled later. (It would also be dumb to ship it without Watch support...) https://t.co/vXQxM4T3Yf - Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) September 21, 2019



Article Link: iFixit iPhone 11 Pro Max Teardown Hints at Unimplemented Bilateral Wireless Charging Feature [Updated]
 
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JPack

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Mar 27, 2017
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Question is, will it be activated during the life of iOS 13?

Or will it be sold as a unique feature for iPhone 5G, similar to Watch Series 5 always on display?
 

Falhófnir

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A shame they couldn't make it work, having to remember to keep things changed is one of the most off putting things about wireless accessories for me. This would have gone a long way to removing it as a problem, particularly if you could get ~30m-1h of use from a 15s-1m charge like with the apple pencil.
 
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rosegoldoli

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im sure they tried but felt battery depletion would hurt their marketing of the phone lasting 18 hours
 

Mabus51

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I feel like they couldn’t implement the feature in time is more reliant on the iOS 13 problems they have been squashing to make release day. Maybe they’ll announce it for the .2 update or maybe they won’t at all and those of us who bought the Pro paid a premium price for pieces of hardware we can’t use and most likely would never know is there if it weren’t for people like Ifixit. I lean on the side it will never be active. If Apple planned it to be they would have announced it. ECG wasn’t available at launch for Watch 4 but was still planned so it was announced.
 

Relentless Power

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To me, this is a crucial future I would like to see activated, specifically being that if I can top off my AirPods or Apple Watch for extended battery life, that would be ideal when traveling, and I can eliminate bringing extra cables with me. Hopefully this is reinstated in iOS 13 or the 2020 iPhones.
 

Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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I feel like they couldn’t implement the feature in time is more reliant on the iOS 13 problems they have been squashing to make release day. Maybe they’ll announce it for the .2 update or maybe they won’t at all and those of us who bought the Pro paid a premium price for pieces of hardware we can’t use and most likely would never know is there if it weren’t for people like Ifixit. I lean on the side it will never be active. If Apple planned it to be they would have announced it. ECG wasn’t available at launch for Watch 4 but was still planned so it was announced.
I can imagine they might not have announced it even if they do still have plans to try and make it work for a point release after getting burned on AirPower, but I have a feeling this won't be happening at all too. More because if it is an efficiency thing, I'm not sure how effective a firmware/ software fix would be.
 
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Saipher

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I believe once they announce their new “Apple Tag” product in October (possibly), the bilateral wireless charging will be enabled through an iOS update. Maybe it will only work on the Apple tags for now and that’s why the feature is disabled for the time being... just a guess.

Edit: I feel that if the AW or the AirPods could be charged by such feature, it would have been announced. Maybe on future iterations? There were rumors of a new AirPod being announced by the end of this year...
 
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Mabus51

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If there wasn't intended to be bilateral charging, Apple wouldn't have made a thicker phone with greatly increased battery size.
One could argue if they intended it to to do bilateral charging they would have announced it and stated it will come at a later .X release like they have in the past. But as @Falhófnir stated they may not have announced it to avoid embarrassment like the AirPower fiasco. All we can do is wait, while some jackass files a class action lawsuit for being secretly sold hardware he/she didn’t pay for.
 

hmark8

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If Apple planned it to be they would have announced it. ECG wasn’t available at launch for Watch 4 but was still planned so it was announced.
I disagree. Apple made that mistake with their wireless charging pad. I'm sure they have learned their lesson about not announcing a product or feature that has a chance of not coming to fruition. And if there is a chance it might not come until iOS 14, then they absolutely wouldn't want to announce it prior. Think there is still a chance we will see it in a software update if its working by 13.2 and if it was only a software issue. Of course if the issue relates to hardware then we will have to wait for the next iphones. Or if software isn't ready until after 13.2 but then they will im sure just hold it off as as selling feature for the 2020 phone which presumably will be a major update.

They also may see how sales are going if not as good as expected then adding the feature would boost sales if doing well without it then would make more sense to hold off to the next iPhone (as much as I'd love it now for simplifying charging when travelling.
 
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Relentless Power

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One could argue if they intended it to to do bilateral charging they would have announced it and stated it will come at a later .X release
One could argue Apple isn’t going make that mistake again twice, they already did that with the Air power, which was obviously never released due to manufacturing concerns. I think bilateral charging is actually a really good feature that would be an ‘up-sell’ , but Apple would have to market in the right way, when it’s actually _ready_ to be announced/released. It’s just a side feature for the iPhone, this isn’t like a main core product like the Airpower was meant to be.
 
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KeepCalmPeople

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I do wonder if they were basically unable to get the software to run the hardware sufficiently well.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Apple Watch uses a proprietary charging standard. Perhaps Apple shot themselves in the foot with the added complexity of that.
 

mi7chy

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'bilateral' sounds silly. Makes it sound like you can charge from both screen side and back side. Should've stuck with 'reverse wireless charging'.
 
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Mabus51

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One could argue Apple isn’t going make that mistake again twice, they already did that with the Air power, which was obviously never released due to manufacturing concerns. I think bilateral charging is actually a really good feature that would be an ‘up-sell’ , but Apple would have to market in the right way, when it’s actually _ready_ to be announced/released. It’s just a side feature for the iPhone, this isn’t like a main core product like the Airpower was meant to be.
I said exactly that in my post you picked apart to fit your argument.
 

diddl14

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Aug 10, 2009
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Maybe a stupid thought but did anyone yet try reverse charging with iPhone 11? Maybe ‚it just works‘ ;)
 

paul4339

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yeah, if it has to do with with bi-lateral charging, I'm guessing that they don't want to repeat the AirPower fiasco; announce it and then have to cancelling it... They could be just holding off the announcement until they are sure it works, so they don't screw up twice.
 

realtuner

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People who repair devices or do tear downs shouldn't pretend they're electrical engineers.

There is absolutely no need whatsoever to have a pair of cables to do reverse charging. The power management circuit that connects to the charging coil would be responsible for current flow into (reverse charging) and out of (charging the phone itself) the coil.

You can see this in tear downs of Samsung phones where there are no additional cables or hardware required for the reverse wireless charging function to work.

So they see something new and they assume it's for reverse charging because they simply don't know.