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You can charge your Apple Watch or AirPods using the new iPhone 15’s USB-C port
The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro ditch Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector in favor of USB-C, and that change has a few side effects. Perhaps most notably, you can now use the iPhone 15’s USB-C port to quickly add more juice to your Apple Watch or AirPods.
Apple made a brief mention of this during the “Wonderlust” keynote yesterday. In practice, the feature works exactly as you would expect it to. You can connect your AirPods or Apple Watch to the iPhone 15’s USB-C port, and they’ll instantly start to charge.
This works via a USB-C to Apple Watch charging puck, via a USB-C to USB-C cable for the new AirPods Pro, and via a USB-C to Lightning cable for older AirPods.
Apple has reportedly been working on reverse wireless charging for years, a feature that would let you charge up AirPods and Apple Watch by placing them on the back of your iPhone. This feature still hasn’t seen the light of day, but the support for power-out via the new USB-C port is a great interim solution.
There’s no word on the charging speed provided to AirPods or Apple Watch via the iPhone 15’s USB-C port. It’s important to note that this feature will only work with AirPods and Apple Watch, so you can’t just plug in any device to the USB-C port and expect your iPhone to charge it.
We’ll have to do more testing to see just how big of an impact using your iPhone to charge your AirPods or Apple Watch will have on battery life. AirPods and Apple Watch have smaller batteries in comparison to the iPhone.
After living its entire life with a side switch, the iPhone has evolved to feature a programmable Action button with the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. Here’s a look at all the ways you can customize the iPhone Action button.
Apple Watch Ultra received the Action button last year and this time around it’s the iPhone’s turn with the 15 Pro and Pro Max.
The Action button sits in the same place as the side switch on previous iPhones and is used with a long press.
Apple notes that when you change the Action button to something other than controlling Silent mode, you can head to Control Center or use Focus modes to change your ringer.
In iOS 17, head to Settings > Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max and you can set the Action button to launch:
- Silent mode (default)
- Focus mode
- Voice Memo
- Magnifier and other Accessibility features
- Translate (arriving with an update “later this year”)
While there are eight main features the Action button can control, being able to set it to control Accessibility shortcuts or run a custom shortcut from the Shortcuts app is huge. That means the possibilities are pretty much endless.
Some features make use of the Action button once you’re in an app too. For example, if you launch the Camera with the Action button, you can press it again to take pictures. If you launch a Voice Memo recording, you can use the Action button to stop the recording, etc.
PSA: Apple Card financing not available for carrier-free iPhone 15 orders
Last month, Apple discontinued Apple Card financing for iPhones purchased without a carrier connection. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, that change applies to the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro.
What this means is that in order to use Apple Card Monthly Installments to buy an iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro, you must connect that phone to AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon.
Previously, Apple allowed buyers to purchase an iPhone with the “Connect to a carrier later” option. This option means users are free to use the iPhone without a cellular connection or via any carrier of their choosing. For instance, you could connect an iPhone purchased with this option to a carrier such as Mint Mobile or Google Fi.
That “Connect to a carrier later” option is no longer available for iPhones purchased with Apple Card Monthly Installments. Instead, your new iPhone 15 Pro will require you to connect to AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon at the time of setup. Note that the iPhones will still be unlocked, but the carrier connection will be required at the time of setup.
Apple points out this new requirement on the purchase page for iPhone 15. “Carrier connection with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon is required to purchase with Apple Card Monthly Installments,” the company explains. “An iPhone purchased with ACMI is always unlocked, so you can switch carriers at any time.”
As said when first wrote about this change in June, it’s a huge bummer for Apple Card users. The ability to finance Apple hardware purchases is one of the biggest selling points of the Apple Card, and this change puts a big restriction on the most popular Apple hardware purchase.