Apple is reportedly testing MagSafe battery packs for iPhones

Though whether they'll actually turn up on shelves is anybody's guess.

VCG/Visual China Group/Getty Images

According to Bloomberg, insiders say that Apple is working on a magnetically attached battery pack for the iPhone 12 range that could launch in the near future. The products have allegedly been in development for about a year now and will use the MagSafe system introduced with the latest iPhones that already includes charging cables and stands, wallets, and car mounts.

Apple has offered its own battery-packing cases for years, and third-party accessory makers like Mophie have done likewise. Some users would, of course, prefer if larger batteries were simply put in iPhones (which could also do away with the camera bump), but that's not how Apple does things. Why make phones fatter and last longer when you can create a new optional accessor and sell it instead?

What's delaying Apple from launching this? — Development issues are already popping up, according to Bloomberg. For one, insiders say that the battery pack has led some iPhones to falsely claim that the pack is overheating when it isn't. Case problems have surfaced, too. In some test runs, Apple has witnessed connectivity problems when a user swaps between an iPhone in a case and one without one (or the same one with the case removed).

Apple's AirPower wireless charging matt never made it to market.AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images

Apple's history with charging systems means these MagSafe battery packs may never materialize, so we should probably temper our expectations. In 2017, for example, the company touted a forthcoming AirPower mat at one of its regular showcase events for new products that would have simultaneously charged an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods and wouldn't require users to place the items on the mat in specific locations. It never made it to market, though, due to issues around overheating the proved insurmountable.

But, perhaps considering these battery packs would attach more precisely they can sidestep those problems. Developer Steve Moser once spotted a reference to a battery pack in Apple's iOS 14.5 update.

There also have been rumors about Apple allowing its mobile devices to wirelessly charge each other like recent Samsung smartphones can. Frankly, considering we almost never leave the house and are thus always near a wireless charger or cable, we can wait a while for new on-the-go charging solutions, so we'll be perfectly happy if Apple chooses to take its time getting them right.