back to article Gearheads get their spudgers into an iPhone 11 Pro Max: Bi-lateral charging, anyone?

A teardown of the iPhone 11 seems to have confirmed support for bi-lateral charging – the ability to charge another device using your phone's battery. Aside from helping out a mate with a dead phone, that means you'll also be able to charge up wireless headphones. The guys from iFixit took apart an iPhone 11 Pro Max and found …

  1. werdsmith Silver badge

    On my list of stuff more useful than jamming in more pixels and CPU cycles is drop survivability. Along with better fringe reception and usability in sunlight.

    1. James 51

      Nothing beats old Nokias for sheer drop resilience. The only way I’ve managed to kill one is full immersion in water and even then it limped on for a month before dying.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I once dropped my 5110 on the subway stairs. It rebounded on the floor shedding pieces until it finally stopped 2 stair flights down. I gathered all pieces (main body, battery, battery cover and even the sim card), put them all together and power it up again. Kept using it for several months afterward without a single problem. I still have it a a drawer in case of... nostalgia?

        1. Complicated Disaster

          I had a similar experience with a Nokia 2110 way back in the day - smashed it into pieces and it went back together fine. It was a company phone but that's what made me choose Nokia when I bought my first personal handset.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          All those plastic bits popping off seemed to dissipate the energy. Plus of course they were made out of sensibly deformable plastic, not rigid metal, and worse, glass.

          My old Microsoft Lumia 735 has survived a few drops that would have killed most smartphones - because it's got that weird plastic interchangeable back thing which is basically a case - and that can deform and then fall off. It's not as pretty, but I think a more practical design. Especially as not being directly connected to the glass means that unless the thing falls glass down - the plastic will absorb the shock and not the glass.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            You could also see that in the way the Samsung bounces more, or in the edge drop that it transferred more energy to the holding clip.

            Suffice it to say, if you're going to spunk a lot of money on this kind of kit: get a good case. Currently, the fashion, here at least, seems to be for dweeby clear covers that you can hang around your neck, thus hopefully reducing the chances of dropping the thing and keeping it handy so you can read shit while walking into traffic…

            Otherwise, I've found Otterbox and Quadlock to be good and the one advertised in the video looks good.

            1. Not also known as SC

              Agree about Otterbox. I've dropped my iPhone 8 numerous times (falling out of shirt pockets, holding coat upside down etc) onto concrete surfaces from heights of a metre plus. There isn't a mark on my phone although my Otterbox is quite scuffed.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                My S5 has flown several times from my handlebars in an Otterbox when I failed to lock it in entirely, otherwise it was in a € 10 case with cover. No problems. The S10e is a Quadlock case all the time and, again, no problems so far.

                Mind you, also got a mate with a Blackphone? (cheapish, hardened thingy anyway) which he's almost demolished by running into things with it in his trousers. I think a direct hit on a washing machine saved him from stitches and means he'll need a new screen protector at some point.

                Worth noting that even in a good case, a phone isn't a Thinkpad™, so don't go driving over them! And don't give kids the bling!

            2. Psmo

              Also, it looked to me like the Samsung camera is proportionately heavier, adding a rolling moment to the fall; the iPhone tended to fall flat.

              The uneven impact might also help dissipate the energy.

      2. MonkeyBob

        "The only way I’ve managed to kill one is full immersion in water and even then it limped on for a month before dying."

        I left s Sagem MYX2 in a pocket and put it through the washing machine. Left it to dry for about a day and it carried on working fine. I think it was still powered on after the wash had finished.

      3. Jess--

        I once had a spare nokia that had been deep fried (literally in a chip fryer) for 10 minutes.

        after opening it up and mopping up the oil it powered up and worked perfectly, the screen looked a bit odd thanks to the oil between it and the backlight but it was perfectly usable.

        never did get rid of the smell though.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >I once had a spare nokia that had been deep fried (literally in a chip fryer)

          Are you Scottish by any chance ?

        2. Francis Boyle

          Crumbed or battered?

          A batter bumper would provide more protection but I suspect it would lack durability.

      4. ChipsforBreakfast

        Ericsson GH172

        As close to indestructible as any piece of electronics I've ever owned. Mine survived :

        - Being dropped in a swimming pool.

        - Being dropped off of a cherry picker three stories up (it did land on grass)

        - Numerous drops, bumps, bangs and general abuse

        - Sliding off of a van roof onto the road

        - Being dunked in a pint of beer when it rang during my consumption of Liquid Amnesia on a Friday night

        It finally died of a simple short circuit, only to be replaced by an almost as tough GH197 - much to my delight I could even reuse the old battery as a spare....

        God knows what my Note 10+ would make of such treatment!

        1. Psmo

          Re: Ericsson GH172

          God knows what my Note 10+ would make of such treatment!

          Not much. Dead phones tell no tales and all that...

      5. jake Silver badge


        I miss my old Nokia 5185 ... Over 15+ years, it was stepped on by horses, gnawed on by sheep and puppies, run over by tractors, "cured" in the smokehouse overnight, dropped into toilets (three times), into a pot of boiling soup (twice) and into a bucket of used motor oil (once). When $TELCO forced me to retire it, it was still on its original battery, and didn't seem to function much different than the day it was new. I replaced the outer case and the "antenna" several times.

      6. Dave K

        I was once driving home from work on a very old motorcycle in the rain when the clasp on my side pannier failed. My rucksack fell out at 60mph, landed on the road and was driven over by at least one car (I presume - given the damage it sustained).

        After spotting the open pannier a few minutes later in my mirror, I drove back and found my half-shredded rucksack in a ditch next to the road. My lunchbox was smashed into dozens of pieces and my old Nokia phone's casing was smashed (and battery had flown out - never did find it).

        Amazingly, after a replacement case and battery, the thing still fired up and worked fine. The only damage you could see was a small wet tide-mark in the corner of the LCD screen. I'd like to see a modern smartphone survive tumbling down a road at 60mph and being hit by a car...

  2. simonlb Silver badge

    Glass Back? Why?

    Screen, yes. Phone body, no.

    Whoever thought that was a great design decision is an idiot, and whoever supported that decision through to manufacturing and release to general sale is of massively subnormal intelligence.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Glass Back? Why?

      Agreed, hence I've just replaced the work iPhone with a 7 not an 8.

    2. Craig 2

      Re: Glass Back? Why?

      I can only assume it's for the initial "ooh, it looks & feels lovely" before you stick it in a protective case...

      Considering mobile phones are intended to be carried around all the time, they should be designed to take a bang or two. When you inevitably drop it you could try claiming a free replacement on the basis they're not fit for purpose. Good luck with that though :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Glass Back? Why?

      Because you can't use metal if you want wireless charging and plastic will look a mess quite quickly?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Glass Back? Why?

        Glass on the back is purely for effect.

        My S5 worked fine with a wireless coil and plastic back. The S10 works fine even in the plastic case.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Glass Back? Why?

        Scratched plastic looks a heck of a lot better than shattered glass.

        I can only assume the reason for all-glass is to reduce the scope of the second-hand market.

      3. mark l 2 Silver badge

        Re: Glass Back? Why?

        There is no reason why they couldn't make a plastic back that was just clipped in place, so could be just unclipped and replaced when it began to look worn if that was something that bothered you..

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Glass Back? Why?

          High density PE tends to look worn pretty quickly, but the aftermarket seems pretty happy with it. Of course, cars are required to have crumple zones to protect the "valuable" (YMMV) "cargo".

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: Glass Back? Why?

      Why? It's quite obvious if you analyze it.

      Apple's intended target audience is ... oh! SHINY!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who cares if the glass back breaks?

      I figure if that happens I'll get a minimalist case to cover up the damage/sharp bits. The only thing I care about breaking is the display.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Who cares if the glass back breaks?

        Why not get one now so it doesn't happen?

        Every "naked" phone on this tube train has a smashed something.

        It knocks rather a lot off the resale value. Often a >90% discount.

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