Apple Smart Battery Case
The Apple Smart Battery Case is an iPhone accessory that adds a secondary battery, one that can recharge an iPhone and effectively double its battery capacity. The case has an unusual design with a prominent battery hump, a concept that helps keep the iPhone itself as slim as feasibly possible, given the extra capacity.
● Protective case for iPhone
● Extends battery life
● Battery indicators for case appear in iOS
● Dedicated camera button
● Current versions priced from $129
Get Apple News Directly in Your Inbox
AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.
The Apple Smart Battery Case has been superseded by the MagSafe Battery Pack, released in July 2021.
Apple introduced the Apple Smart Battery Case in December 2015. It entered the market as Apple's attempt at a portable and always-available alternative power source for the iPhone. The original model was released for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6, with the concept resurfacing for new models from the 2018 iPhone models onwards.
Versions of the case are currently available for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max lines. Apple has not yet released a new model for the iPhone 12 series.
The most recent release in the series was rated at 4 out of 5 in an AppleInsider review.
Apple's accessory joined an already quite populated marketplace that already included battery case offerings from third-party vendors. However, Apple's design decisions and iOS integration give its version a few significant benefits over its rivals.
Apple's MagSafe battery pack
Apple tends to introduce a varient of the battery pack for each iPhone a few months after its release. Apple has not yet revealed a battery case for the iPhone 12 lineup, but may not need to.
MagSafe allows accessories to be attached to the rear of the iPhone magnetically. The next iteration of Apple's battery pack could be a simple magnetic battery pack that snaps onto the back of a device.
Some rumors inidicate that the MagSafe battery pack would also provide reverse charging to other devices like AirPods.
Smart Battery Case Design
The case largely consists of silicone similar to other cases made by Apple, with a soft but grippy exterior texture that offers protection from drops and bumps. It is lined with microfiber to protect the encased iPhone's surface.
At the bottom is a Lightning connector that slots into the iPhone's corresponding port. On the outside base of the case is a Lightning port, which accepts a Lightning connector for recharging and synchronization.
On the back is a prominent square hump, which contains the extra battery. While other case producers attempt to hide the cells, typically by making the case larger, Apple instead opts to use as little physical volume as possible in the case's construction, resulting in a slimline case that is also lightweight.
Battery and Charging
The battery within the hump supports the existing battery within the iPhone, and works without needing to be turned on or enabled via a button.
The capacity has varied over the years, with the original holding 1,877mAh, equating to roughly 80% of the iPhone 6s' built-in battery. The later releases boast a boost of up to 50% of the battery life of their respective models, providing many hours of extra usage.
All models can be recharged via the Lightning connector in the base, which is capable of charging both the batteries of the case itself and the iPhone simultaneously. Starting with the iPhone XS series of Apple Smart Battery Case, the company included support for wireless charging. In the iPhone 11 series, a Qi wireless charger can recharge the case and the iPhone simultaneously.
Since the initial model, Apple has taken advantage of its control of iOS to offer an extra feature not available to third parties.
It is possible to see the amount of charge remaining in the Apple Smart Battery Case on the iPhone itself. The charge amount is visible from the Lock Screen when it is being recharged, and from the Batteries section of the Today View.
One major advantage of this is there is no need for Apple to include external indicators on the case itself. Other cases typically include lights and other elements to display the internal battery's remaining charge.
For the iPhone 11 Apple Smart Battery Case, Apple included a dedicated camera button. When pressed, it starts the camera app, and it also acts as a shutter button.
The button's position is on the top right, under where the right index finger rests when held in landscape orientation. This mimics the button placement of other traditional point-and-shoot cameras and is easier to press than the volume-up key, which can be used to trigger the shutter while using the camera app.
To avoid accidentally triggering exposures while being carried in a pocket, the button is slightly recessed.
An x-ray of the new case shows there are small wires leading to the button within the case, connecting it to a small circuit board used to connect the Lightning elements to the batteries.
In January 2020, Apple launched a service program to replace faulty battery cases designed for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR produced between January and October 2019.
Affected cases will not charge, or will intermittently charge when plugged into a power source via the Lightning connector. There are also instances where the case can refuse to provide power to the inserted iPhone.
Under the program, customers with affected cases can visit an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider for a free replacement, or to contact Apple Support for assistance.
Common Apple Smart Battery Case Questions
Does Apple Smart Battery Case charge wirelessly?
For the iPhone XS and iPhone 11 series, yes. For the iPhone XS series, if the iPhone is in the case, the iPhone will charge first, and then the case. For iPhone 11 cases, it can charge both phone and case simultaneously. You can also wirelessly charge the case alone.
Is Apple Smart Battery Case waterproof?
No, it doesn't have an IP water-resistance rating. We don't recommend placing it in water.
Is there an Apple Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 12?
Not yet. Apple has launched its charging cases several months after new iPhone releases, so it's possible the company will release one later.
How much does the Apple Smart Battery Case cost?
The Apple Smart Battery Case price is $129 for recent models and $99 for the iPhone 7.
Apple Smart Battery Case Pricing
The battery cases for the iPhone 11 and older cost $129. Apple also still sells the iPhone 7 battery case at $99.