Suppose you have:

  1. An iPad (7th Generation) with a Lightning charge/sync port, and
  2. An iPhone 7, also with a Lightning charge/sync port.

The iPad battery is fully charged; the iPhone battery is empty (or close to it). Is there anyway to charge the iPhone from the iPad?

I know that if you are using an iPad with a USB-C port, you can use a USB-C to Lightning cable to charge the iPhone. But what if you have an older iPad model without a USB-C port? An older iPad can definitely charge a 1st-generation Apple Pencil through its Lightning port, so there must be some kind of reverse-charging capability there. Is it possible to charge an iPhone (or, I suppose, any other iOS device with a Lightning port) from an iPad with a Lightning port?

  • I highly doubt it has reverse charging capability. It’s much more likely that the pencil is using the 5V reference current to charge that tiny battery that probably operates at the microvolt level. I also don’t know of any lightning to lightning cables to facilitate what you want to do.
    – Allan
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


In theory the Apple USB-A adapter for Lightning, and any USB-A to Lightning charge/sync cable, should allow charging but I tested that theory and it doesn't work. After I plugged in a 12 watt power brick to the power pass through port on the adapter both of the iPhones I was testing this theory with lit up to show they were charging. I suspect that each were getting about half the power. A neat trick if wanting to charge two phones from one power brick at a time, but not likely useful generally.

The Apple Pencil may just look like a USB device being connected, or maybe Apple is using some proprietary protocol. Maybe the iPad Lightning port works a bit different than that on the iPhone.

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