iPhone XS, iPhone XR: what you need to know about Apple's smart battery case

Apple surprised everyone earlier this week with the launch of the new Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone 2018. ($ 1,000 on Amazon) line. The cases are similar to those of the previous version and do the same basic work: they give your iPhone an extra life of the battery.

You can order the cases right now from Apple, and availability is expected in the store next week. This is what you need to know about the smart battery case, your iPhone and how they work together.

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The new Smart Battery Case is available for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max ($ 1,100 at Amazon Marketplace), and iPhone XR ($ 749 on Apple). Regardless of the model, they all cost $ 129 and come in white or black.

Since the iPhone X and iPhone XS have a similar design, the smart battery case for the XS will work on the X. However, the speakers and microphone may not be aligned, but it will charge your phone.

The basics

You must charge the smart battery box before you can use it. I put my iPhone XS Max in my case and there was not enough charge in the case for the iPhone to recognize it.

You can use the wall adapter and Lightning cable that came with your iPhone or a wireless charging pad to charge the case.

Inside the box, near the bottom, there is a small light that lights up with an orange color when the box is being charged. When fully charged, the light will turn green.


Screenshots of Jason Cipriani / CNET

When you put the phone in the case, you will see a family charge animation in the upper right corner of your phone's screen. If your phone is locked, two battery icons will appear on your screen: one for your phone and one for the case. You can also see the battery status in the Today view, as long as you have the Battery widget enabled.

The Smart Battery Case will be exhausted throughout the day. Only after the case is empty, your iPhone will start using its internal battery.

You should not have any problems with Lightning accessories, such as Apple's Lightning EarPods.

Intelligent charging

The case can be loaded in two different ways, and the way the case and your phone work together to charge each other depends on the charging power of your wall adapter. All this is integrated in iOS and something that your iPhone handles without you having to do anything.

Apple calls the Smart Charging function.

Here is the essence:

  • With the 5W charger that comes with your iPhone, your phone charges first and then the case.
  • With a wall adapter of 10W or 12W, the phone and the case will be charged at the same time at a speed of around 5W each.
  • With an 18W wall adapter, the iPhone will charge quickly first, and then the case will do the same.
  • A wall adapter of 30 W or higher will quickly charge the iPhone and the case at the same time.

With the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, all with wireless charging, it only makes sense that Apple has incorporated wireless charging into the smart battery case. That is, if you have the case installed on your iPhone, you can place it on a wireless charging platform compatible with Qi and your phone and the case will begin to charge.

The case works with the same charging speed of 7.5 watts as the iPhone, with its phone charging first and then the case later.

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