Secrets Of The Apple iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case Revealed

The Apple iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have great battery life. Seriously: epic.

But that didn’t stop Apple from wanting to go one better and provide a protective case with a battery built in. But this new model of smart case had new features which puzzled some users. Exactly how the mysterious Camera Button works was among them.

Now, a spectacular series of looks under the cover via X-ray has revealed the answers – and made for a cool series of images into the bargain.

The consistently enjoyable iFixit has peeked under the hood to uncover the technology.

Today In: Innovation

The puzzle was this: how did a new, out-of-nowhere button launch the iPhone camera? After all, this wasn’t a button like the others on the smart battery case, that is, something pressing on the equivalent button on the phone inside the case. Like the volume button, the side button, for instance.

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No, the camera button bears no geographical relevance to any button on the phone, so the answer must lie elsewhere.

In its super-cool X-ray images courtesy of Creative Electron, iFixit has found the answer. Here’s what Kevin Purdy said in his explanation:

It turns out there’s a little circuit board inside the case, which has a thin, flexible circuit running out to connect to the photo button. That circuit board connects the camera button to the phone through the Lightning port “chin” at the bottom of the case. Not totally unexpected, but interesting to see how much hardware design goes into adding just one thing to a battery case.

So, a circuit hands off the information to the iPhone via the Lightning socket.

Seriously, only Apple would even think of this.

The button, in other words, has serious smarts behind it. And there’s even another angle to the cleverness of the button. It is slightly recessed so that it’s both easy for your finger to find without looking and harder to press accidentally.

Plus, a quick press doesn’t activate it, again to reduce accidentally shooting the camera (goodness knows I’ve taken about 1,000 more screenshots this year than I’ve meant to by accidentally holding the side and volume up buttons at the same time).

And, let’s not forget, there’s also a wireless charging circuit in the case and software which recognizes when the case is in place so it can give an accurate read-out onscreen of both the iPhone and the battery case. Information is power.

That’s a lot of sophistication for a battery, so it suddenly seems good value at $129.


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