Here's How Apple Is Using the Hidden Apple Watch Port

Apple may not want third parties to take advantage of the hidden diagnostics port behind the Apple Watch's band connector, but that hasn't stopped Apple from using it. In some leaked photos, a Brazilian blog ( shows how Apple's own display stands keep those Apple Watches charged while running demos.

The display watches have a custom band with an electronic interface that connects to the diagnostic port. The other end has a Lightning cable and that's where the power comes from. Note that it's not a USB connector, so somehow it is connecting to a Lightning-based power source. In theory, it could plug in to an iPhone or iPad, but then one of the devices would be powering the other, and it would ultimately run out of juice. There must be some kind of Lightning splitter or hub as well.

It's understandable that Apple would need a way to keep the devices charged while on display, and not have to worry about the watches slipping off the magnetic charger. Whenever I visit BestBuy, I usually see a poorly designed display, with a device like the Moto 360 off its base and out of power. Apple clearly doesn't want to have that experience.

I also understand why Apple wants to discourage third parties from using the port. Apple could change its functionality or placement later, or remove it altogether. Additionally, third-party chargers have led to fires and explosions. That has led to Apple offering a trade-in program for third-party chargers just to get them off the streets. After all, even if Apple didn't make them, their failures reflect badly on Apple.

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Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.