Apple MagSafe Battery Pack Review. Apple portable charger iPhone

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack Review

Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is a compact and convenient way to add hours of battery life to your iPhone 12.

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.

Pros

  • Fits all iPhone 12 models
  • Sturdy design
  • Simple, bidirectional pass-through charging

Cons

If you make heavy use of your iPhone 12 and often find the battery running low while you’re out and about, the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack (99) will likely become your favorite new accessory. Small enough to slide into a or bag, the MagSafe Battery Pack adds hours of use to your phone, snapping neatly into place with the aid of precisely positioned magnets. Apple’s external battery solution may seem pricey when compared with other portable chargers and power banks, but its excellent build quality and one-year warranty make it one of the best ways to charge your iPhone on the go, and our Editors’ Choice winner for iPhone 12–compatible external batteries.

Slim and Sturdy

The MagSafe Battery Pack is a small, slightly chunky device that measures 3.75 by 2.5 by 0.43 inches (HWD). It works with every MagSafe-compatible iPhone and fits perfectly on the back of the iPhone 12 mini.

The aesthetic here can be best described as utilitarian. The outer shell is made of a durable white plastic with a gray Apple logo centered in the upper half. The charging face of the battery pack is covered in gray silicone that matches the logo on the other side. A Lightning port and an indicator light are on the bottom edge.

Although the outer shell has a matte finish, it’s very slippery and easy to drop, though after several accidental drops, we didn’t notice any scratches. The only damage that occurred was some staining on the silicone charging plate from being attached to a phone in a leather case.

Belkin Boost Up Charge Magnetic Portable Wireless Charger Pad

Apple doesn’t offer AppleCare for the MagSafe Battery Pack, but it does include a one-year warranty. If the device stops working and there’s no obvious damage, you can take it to any Apple Store for repair or replacement.

We wish Apple offered designs that complemented the iPhone 12, as a thick white puck stuck to the pack of the back of a blue or green iPhone 12 looks clunky. It would also be useful to have a USB-C port in addition to the Lightning port.

Much Than a Number

At 3,687mAh, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s battery may seem paltry compared with the 5,000mAh cell in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, but don’t be fooled by a simple number. Thanks to Apple’s more efficient hardware and software, our tests showed the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s battery lasting for more than 15 hours, compared with a bit over 11 hours for the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

And even those tests don’t tell the whole story. The truth is that most battery drain tests, including our own, aren’t an accurate representation of day-to-day usage for any phone. We start with a full charge and force the phone to do battery-intensive tasks nonstop until it’s drained. Most people use their phones on and off throughout the day. For instance, you may read the news on your morning commute, check your messages a few times during the day at work, and then turn on Spotify and scroll through on the way home. That will have a different effect on battery than our torture tests.

The white MagSafe Battery Pack doesn’t match the aesthetic of the iPhone 12. (Photo: Steven Winkelman)

The MagSafe Battery Pack’s 1,460mAh capacity might seem low at first glance; it’s little more than half the capacity of the iPhone 12 mini’s 2,227mAh battery, and far less than the 5,000mAh external batteries you can find for a quarter of the price. But the numbers are once again deceiving.

Milliamp-hours (mAh) theoretically define a battery’s capacity to power a device—or recharge a device, in the case of battery packs—but that statistic is calculated with the assumption that the two devices have the same voltage. If their voltages are different, the effective mAh rating changes. Since all the iPhone 12 models have 3.81V batteries and the MagSafe Battery Pack has a 7.6V potential, the Battery Pack’s effective mAh capacity is actually 2,920mAh. (A lot of math is involved in figuring this out; Apple Insider’s Wesley Hillard (Opens in a new window) does an excellent job of breaking it down.)

The Apple MagSafe Battery Pack charges your iPhone 12 at up to 5W when unplugged, and at up to 15W when plugged in. (Photo: Steven Winkelman)

To make things even more confusing, the effective mAh capacity doesn’t account for inefficiency. If you use a regular Qi wireless charger to charge a phone, about half the power is lost due to device placement, heat, and other environmental factors. MagSafe is more efficient than Qi because the magnets ensure perfect positioning of the phone on the charger, but there is still a significant amount of lost power. And both the iPhone 12 and the MagSafe Battery Pack have built-in safety features (Opens in a new window) that help prevent the products from overheating and minimize battery degradation, but limit charging capability and speed in the process.

Long story short: The MagSafe Battery Pack is more capacious than it looks, but it can’t fully recharge any of the iPhone 12 models from 0% to 100%.

Adaptable and Versatile

Apple’s MagSafe Charger can deliver 15W charging, and so can the MagSafe Battery Pack—as long as it’s plugged into a 20W power adapter. Unplugged, it maxes out at 5W.

apple, magsafe, battery, pack, review

These are all theoretical speeds. When we connected an unplugged MagSafe Battery pack to an iPhone 12, it delivered 4W of power on average. Plugged into a 100W charger, the MagSafe Battery Pack’s actual charging wattage varied from 3W to 11W.

An indicator light on the bottom of the MagSafe Battery Pack turns green when it’s fully charged. (Photo: Steven Winkelman)

When the MagSafe Battery Pack was plugged in, it managed to add 72% to our iPhone 12’s battery in about 2.5 hours. Unplugged, it gave a boost of 67% over a period of 4 hours. When we attached the Battery Pack to a fully charged iPhone in the morning, it kept the phone at 100% for about 7 hours.

For the fastest charging speeds, you’ll need a 20W USB-C power adapter and a USB-C–to-Lightning cable; neither is included with the MagSafe Battery Pack. However, if you already have a good fast charger for your iPhone 12, that should be just fine.

In addition to being able to charge your iPhone, your iPhone can charge the MagSafe Battery Pack. To do this, plug in your iPhone with the MagSafe Battery Pack attached. Your phone will charge at a Rapid 20W, and when it’s charged up to 80%, it will begin passing power through to the Battery Pack. An indicator light on the bottom of the Battery Pack turns green when it’s completely charged. A charging indicator also appears on your phone’s Lock Screen and Today View.

Bidirectional charging makes it much simpler to keep both your phone and battery topped up. Plug in the battery on your bedside table or desk and keep your phone parked there whenever you’re not using it, the way you would with any MagSafe charging station. When it’s time to go, both the iPhone and battery will be fully charged. And if you later need to charge your phone faster than the battery can, plug it in directly and it will juice up the battery in the process.

The Perfect Companion

The Apple MagSafe Battery Pack can get even the most demanding iPhone 12 users through a full day between charges. It’s durable enough to handle your daily commute with ease, and easy to charge when you get home. Even without a power adapter and charging cable in the box, we still think the MagSafe Battery Pack is a good value, especially once you add its warranty and safe charging features into the equation.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, check out our recommendations for the best portable chargers and power banks. But we know Apple customers value thoughtful design, clever features, and simplicity of use, and that’s why the MagSafe Battery Pack earns our Editors’ Choice award.

Best MagSafe battery packs for iPhone in 2023

While the latest iPhones have significantly better battery life than the iPhones of old, we still have to take our workdays into account. Long working hours and more screen time consume the phone’s battery, leaving us scrambling for a power bank. Fortunately, you now have the best MagSafe iPhone battery packs available in the market.

These battery packs come in different shapes and sizes, adding power, portability, and relief to your normal working day. Since there’s a huge collection that you can choose from, I’ve decided to make things slightly easier for you through this list of the best MagSafe battery packs for iPhones. Let’s check them out below.

Apple MagSafe battery pack – Editor’s Choice

Of course, the first and best choice for your iPhone when it comes to MagSafe iPhone battery packs is the Apple MagSafe battery pack. With this battery pack, you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues. In fact, the pack can be used with iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14 models. You’ll have to use iPhone MagSafe cases for the best results, though. over, the battery pack is easy to use and has a compact and intuitive design.

It won’t interfere with your credit cards, either. Furthermore, you won’t have to constantly switch it on or off. Instead, you just need to snap it on the back of your iPhone, and you’re good to go. For better charging consistency, you can use a Lightning cable for 15W of power. It also supports 20W power adapters for superior charging speeds!

While the overall design and features seem rather simple and minimalist, this is where the genius of this product lies. There are no extra features that are ultimately cumbersome. Rather, you’re getting exactly what you pay for.

However, the battery pack is quite expensive for the capacity that it offers.

  • Perfectly compatible with iPhones
  • Easy to use
  • Supports up to 20W power delivery
  • Minimalist and elegant design

Anker 633 MagGo battery pack – For a touch of versatility

Anker is known for producing some of the best accessories that can be used with your iPhone. If you’re looking for a battery pack that delivers an excellent price-to-performance ratio, check out the Anker 633 MagGo battery pack. This pack comes with a two-in-one design. Firstly, it attaches to the back of your iPhone for charging it. Secondly, it has a kickstand feature that can prop your smartphone up for easier use.

Apart from this, it comes with a 10,000mAh battery capacity which is excellent for this price segment. According to the manufacturer, you’ll be able to charge an iPhone 13 Pro almost two times with a single full charge cycle of the battery pack.

Furthermore, the battery pack supports high-speed charging. Basically, you can use the provided 20W USB-C Power Delivery port to charge your iPhone up to three times faster. Finally, you won’t have to worry about quality, thanks to the two-year warranty that comes with the product!

Unfortunately, the battery pack’s design isn’t essential for long-term use, as it is pretty heavy.

  • Versatile design philosophy
  • Excellent build quality
  • Up to 20W USB-C power delivery for faster charging speeds
  • Two years’ worth of warranty

Baseus magnetic power bank – Superb power delivery

While all the products that are listed here provide some form of value for money, this MagSafe iPhone battery pack from Baseus is in a league of its own. Of course, the battery pack uses MagSafe technology for wireless and hands-free charging. over, it comes with a kickstand so you can prop it up for better viewing angles and ease of use.

The battery pack uses strong magnets to directly attach to the back of your iPhone, and you don’t even have to press a power button to start the charging process. Coming to the battery capacity, the battery pack has a 10,000mAh battery capacity, which is excellent for any iPhone.

However, the Baseus magnetic power bank takes the cake when it comes to power delivery options. When you’re charging just your iPhone wirelessly, you can get up to 7.5W of power. You’ll also be able to charge two devices simultaneously through 5W power delivery for each. over, it supports both 10W and 20W USB-C wired charging. In other words, you’re spoilt for options with this one!

Nonetheless, the size of this battery pack can be off-putting for quite a few probable consumers, as it is quite large.

  • Plenty of power delivery options
  • Comes with a kickstand for hands-free use
  • Can charge two devices simultaneously

ESR MagSafe battery pack – Safe and secure

ESR is another company that manufactures iPhone accessories of excellent quality. So, you shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve included this ESR MagSafe iPhone battery pack on this list. The battery pack is quite compact, has a kickstand, and has a decent overall capacity.

With the 10,000mAh battery, you shouldn’t face any issues when charging your iPhone 14 or older models. In fact, it also supports 7.5W of wireless charging and up to 20W of fast charging, albeit in the wired form. Nonetheless, the capacity is completely adequate regardless of the iPhone you’re using.

When it comes to the battery pack’s best feature, however, things are a tad different. The main attraction of this battery pack is the strong magnetic locking feature. It comes with powerful magnets that lock into your iPhone with over 1000g of holding force. This ensures that your battery pack will never fall off. Finally, it’s also Climate Pledge Friendly and has a year’s worth of warranty.

However, it does have a tendency to warm up when being used with the Lightning Cable or a 20W power adapter.

  • Extremely strong magnetic lock for security
  • Provides up to 20W of fast charging
  • One year warranty
  • Climate Pledge Friendly

HAIARA MagSafe battery – Very affordable

While most MagSafe battery packs for iPhone tend to be expensive due to added features or brand value, they might not be for everyone. If you’re looking for an inexpensive battery pack option, the HAIARA MagSafe battery pack is a decent option. It’s quite inexpensive and comes with powerful magnets to safely lock onto your iPhone’s surface.

Apart from this, the 5000mAh battery capacity is enough to charge your iPhone for an entire cycle. It also comes with USB-C and USB-A ports to allow charging for three devices simultaneously. Additionally, it’s pretty lightweight, coming in at 0.56-inch width and just 4.3 oz of weight. This makes it portable and can be used for extended periods.

You won’t have to worry about safety, either. This MagSafe battery pack comes with overcharge, overcurrent, and even overvoltage protection, along with premium chips for maximized safety.

However, the overall build quality of the battery pack could have been a bit better.

  • Aggressive pricing
  • Lightweight and thin for added portability
  • Plenty of protection from overcharging and overvoltage

podoru MagSafe battery – Super fast charging speeds

Today, everyone wants everything to be done fast. Getting a cup of coffee to go? You need it in five minutes or less. Going from point A to point B, you take the shortest route. Things are no different when it comes to battery packs and wireless charging. Fortunately, this MagSafe iPhone battery pack from podoru comes with 22.5W of fast charging capability for your charging needs!

The battery pack is compatible with all the latest iPhone models, especially those in the iPhone 14, iPhone 13, and iPhone 12 series lineups. Apart from this, it uses the latest magnetic technology in the form of nano adsorption for securely locking the charger to the back of your iPhone.

It’s lightweight as well, with a weight of just 0.4lb, and comes with a large 10,000mAh battery capacity. When it comes to power delivery, you’ll get 22.5W USB PD, 20W USB-C, 15W, 7.5W, and 5W options. In fact, you can charge up to three devices simultaneously with this battery pack. Finally, with a Smart LED display and eight built-in low-temperature ice cores, you can rest assured that this device will last you for a substantial period.

However, you could face some heating issues with higher power delivery options. So, you’ll have to be wary of this point if you want to purchase this product!

  • Very fast power delivery of up to 22.5W
  • Excellent range of power delivery options
  • Can charge three devices simultaneously
  • Smart LED display for added convenience

Anker 737 PowerCore 24K – Premium pick

If you’ve got a substantial budget to spend on a MagSafe iPhone battery pack, you can’t go wrong with the Anker 737 PowerCore 24K. This is basically one of the best battery packs available in that market at the higher price segment and for good reasons.

The first thing you’ll notice about the battery pack is its size; it looks like a massive brick but provides a 24,000mAh battery capacity, along with a 140W power delivery. In other words, you’ll be able to charge your iPhone 13 almost 5 times via a single charge cycle of the battery pack.

Apart from this, it comes with Power Delivery 3.1 and a bi-directional technology. There’s also a Smart Digital Display which shows the output power, input power, and the estimated time for the battery pack to charge. Finally, with two years’ worth of warranty, you know you’ve invested in the correct battery pack for your needs.

Of course, the massive size can make it slightly difficult for taking the battery pack around with you on a daily basis. Oh, and did I mention that it’s exorbitantly priced?

  • Massive 24,000mAh battery capacity
  • Up to 140W power delivery
  • Smart Digital Display
  • Two years’ worth of warranty
apple, magsafe, battery, pack, review

BLAVOR magnetic power bank – Solar power at an affordable price

BLAVOR has been in the portable power bank game for over ten years. Considering the company’s track record, it’s no surprise that its solar power banks have become such huge hits. With this MagSafe iPhone battery pack, you get the essential features, along with the ability to charge your power bank through solar energy.

The power bank itself comes with a 10,000mAh battery capacity. It also has USB-A and USB-C ports for charging three devices simultaneously at 50 percent faster charging speeds. over, the strong magnets in the battery pack ensure that your phone is secure at all times.

In terms of build quality, the battery pack is made of flame-retardant ABS PC materials and is also IPX5 rated for water resistance. Basically, its build ensures that even if you’re outdoors on a hiking trip, it can handle rough terrain and prevent water damage. Finally, BLAVOR has provided a three-year warranty on the product at a price that’s relatively affordable. What else do you need from a battery pack at this price segment?

  • Superior build quality
  • Has an IPX5 rating for water resistance
  • Can be charged via solar energy
  • Three years’ worth of warranty

With this, we come to the end of this list of the best MagSafe iPhone battery packs. I’ve included different types of battery packs at multiple budgets. Hopefully, this will give you a decent idea of what you’re looking for when it comes to a battery pack. If I’ve missed out on any of your favorite products, let me know in the comment section below!

myCharge Mag-Lock Review: The Best MagSafe Battery Pack for iPhone

Now that MagSafe has been available for more than just a few months (now past the one-year mark), the market for MagSafe accessories has exploded. One area of concern when Apple debuted even the iPhone 13 series was that battery life for non-Pro Max models would continue to be abysmal. But the problem is only compounded when you need to worry about trying to keep a portable charger and Lightning cable with you.

Related Reading

Thankfully, we have started to see more and more accessory makers release MagSafe-compatible portable chargers. These just magnetically attach to the back of your iPhone and will provide an ultra-portable wireless charger that you can take with you anywhere. Apple even went so far as to release its own MagSafe Battery Pack, but that’s not without shortcomings of its own.

Since then, we’ve also seen options from Anker, who is one of the industry leaders when it comes to charging accessories of pretty much any kind. Now, myCharge is getting into the game as it announced its MAG-LOCK wireless charger right around the same time as the iPhone 13 launch.

MyCharge Mag-Lock Review: Design

The MyCharge Mag-Lock comes in five different colors, while also being available in three different capacities. The colors available match the same color options that Apple released across the iPhone 13 lineup, allowing you to mix and match, or just match, based on your preferences. In terms of the different capacities, you can get one of these in the following battery capacities:

The lowest model provides an additional 16 hours of battery life, while the 6,000mAh version bumps that up to 32 hours. Then, the 9,000mAh Mag-Lock offers a whopping 48 hours of additional battery life before you’ll need to recharge it.

One thing that Apple manages to do extremely well, is offer designs for accessories that are simply unmatched. The company’s own MagSafe Battery Pack only comes in one color, but it’s minimal and just works. That’s not to say that the Mag-Lock doesn’t work, we’ll touch more on that later, but there is a bit of a difference that adds some bulk and functionality.

Out of the box, the myCharge Mag-Lock looks like a behemoth and feels rather heavy. On the “inside” of the Mag-Lock, you’ll find some branding, along with a soft-touch ring which is the side that attaches to your iPhone. The soft ring is not only there to help you line things up, but to also act as a bit of a buffer between the plastic and back glass of your iPhone.

Looking at the bottom of the Mag-Lock, you’ll find some regulatory information, including the charging speeds and capacity. But this is also where you’ll find the USB-C charging port for when it’s time to juice back up the Mag-Lock. On the left side (facing down), you’ll see a single button with an LED indicator that gives you some indication as to how much juice is left in the pack. Other than that, you won’t find any other buttons with the only difference being the myCharge branding on the Mag-Lock.

MyCharge Mag-Lock Review: Function

The unit that we received for review is the 6,000mAh version, which retails for 60, but can be had at Amazon for just 41 at the time of this writing. This is said to provide up to an additional 32 hours of battery life for the iPhone 13, and it surely doesn’t disappoint there.

In my time with the Mag-Lock, I found myself reaching for this MagSafe charger more than my Apple, Anker, or Mophie one just because it seemed like it always had enough juice in the tank. Even with using an iPhone 13 Pro Max, the Mag-Lock helped keep my iPhone with enough power until I was able to make it home or to plug it into my car charger.

Another nice touch with the Mag-Lock is the fact that there’s an audible chime that plays whenever you attach or detach the charger from the iPhone. It’s extremely helpful, especially for those who want to put their iPhone in a bag or and want to make sure it’s still being charged. Too many times have I put my Apple MagSafe Battery Pack into a only to realize that it wasn’t aligned properly and my iPhone didn’t end up charging properly.

Another area where myCharge excels is in the magnets that are used with the Mag-Lock. The company touts this as offering “the strongest magnetic grip of any magnetic charger”, and it definitely meets those expectations compared to other chargers. Plus, you don’t have to worry about taking off your iPhone’s case, provided that it too is MagSafe-compatible.

My biggest qualm with the myCharge Mag-Lock isn’t actually the company’s fault at all. But imagine walking around with an iPhone 13 Pro Max and having the 6,000mAh Mag-Lock attached to it. It’s simply unwieldy and rather heavy to use on a regular basis.

When I first received the Mag-Lock, it didn’t matter when I used it, but as time has progressed, I have found myself placing the iPhone and Mag-Lock on a table or in my center console as it charges just because of the weight. Of course, this isn’t going to be too much of a problem for those who are using any of the other iPhone models, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

MyCharge Mag-Lock Review: Conclusion

Even if you own the iPhone 13 Pro Max, you might come across situations where you need a bit more juice before the day comes to an end. Instead of having to try and carry around a portable charger and compatible cable, we definitely recommend picking up a MagSafe battery pack. As for which one is the best? If you want a few extra bells and whistles, along with strong magnets and different size/color options, the Mag-Lock is absolutely perfect.

myCharge did a wonderful job in integrating just enough useful features, such as the power button and audible chime. Plus, the fact that you aren’t “stuck” with just a single size option goes a long way when it comes to the decision-making process. The Mag-Lock is definitely a must-own for anyone who has an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 with MagSafe compatibility.

Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.

He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including i, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.

Best Portable Chargers for iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS

A portable charger (aka power bank) can mean the difference between stressing over your iPhone’s battery life. Or being able to use it all day long without worry. The best portable chargers for iPhone 8, X, XR, and XS can all fast charge them from 0-50% in 30 minutes. While also offering enough capacity to keep you going, whether for a busy work day or long trip.

Looking to charge at home, work, or for travel? Check out Best Fast Chargers for iPhone 8/X/XR/XS.

iPhone 8 with Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux

Fast Charging iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XR, and iPhone XS

The iPhone XS, XR, X, and 8 series use USB Power Delivery (USB PD) as their fast-charging standard. With a USB-C charger offering 18W or more USB PD the phones will start fast charging. Under this mode charging from 0-50% takes around 30 minutes. The remaining 50% takes longer but is still faster using other types of chargers.

The iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XR, and iPhone XS all include a slower 5W USB power adapter. A USB-C PD charger will charge them up to 3 times faster.

USB-C to Lightning Cable

Besides a charger that offers 18W (or more) USB-C PD, you will also need a USB-C to Lightning cable.

Find a good selection of USB-C to Lightning cables here. All listed cables are MFi certified by Apple. Meaning they meet Apple’s standards and testing to work with iPhones and iPads. Pick your cable based on length, color, and price.

Size

These portable chargers can fit in your jeans But are more comfortable in a jacket Their more limited capacity means fewer charges for your phone.

Among the smallest fast charging portable chargers on the market.

  • Ports: USB-C, USB-A
  • Output: 18W USB-C PD, Quick Charge 3.0
  • Capacity: 5,000mAh
  • iPhone 8: 1.5 charges
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 1 charge
  • iPhone X: 1 charge
  • iPhone XR: 1 charge
  • iPhone XS: 1 charge
  • iPhone XS Max: 1 charge
apple, magsafe, battery, pack, review

The Complete Guide to Apple MagSafe Chargers, Cases, and Accessories

Apple’s iPhones feature the MagSafe charging infrastructure, allowing them to charge without plugging a cable into the devices. While this is not technically “wireless” charging – the MagSafe charger still has a wire – this form of induction charging is practical and it means that you can charge multiple devices without cables.

MagSafe is also a new accessory category for Apple, with a number of different cases available, several chargers, a battery pack, and the MagSafe wallet, which lets you attach a slim leather wallet to your iPhone to carry credit cards or cash.

In this article, I’m going to tell you everything about MagSafe: how it works, what you can charge with it, and which MagSafe accessories are available.

What is MagSafe?

Long-time Apple users will remember the power connectors that Apple used on certain laptops from 2006 through 2019. These connectors snapped onto a special power port on the laptops, and were designed so if you tripped over a power cable, it wouldn’t throw your expensive Mac to the floor, but rather detach safely.

Apple re-introduced this term in 2020 for chargers that work with the iPhone and with certain headphones. While the “Mag” part is still true, there’s not much that is “Safe” about it. But the name sounds impressive, and Apple already owned the trademark. Apple also brought this back in Summer 2022, with the release of the M2 MacBook Air, which is currently the only laptop to offer MagSafe charging.

MagSafe charging is a form of induction charging, which is compatible with Qi charging, a standard used by many tech firms to provide cable-free charging. Both of these use a pad with a transmitting coil, and a receiving coil in devices, to transfer electricity. The magnets in Apple’s MagSafe chargers, and iPhones, allow the charging to be more efficient, since they can align the two coils perfectly.

apple, magsafe, battery, pack, review

How is MagSafe different from Qi charging?

Both systems work in a similar way, but with MagSafe, you can charge your iPhone 12 or 13 at up to 15 W (the iPhone 12 mini and 13 mini can only change at up to 12 W), whereas Qi charging is limited to 7.5 W. Some phone brands allow for Qi charging at 10 W, but Apple limits its devices to 7.5 W, perhaps for safety or efficiency reasons. If you charge headphones, such as Apple’s Airpods or Airpods Pro, the maximum voltage is 7.5 W.

Apple recommends that you use a 20 W or greater power adapter with MagSafe chargers in order to get the full 15 W charging rate.

A new standard, called Qi2, will be built around Apple’s MagSafe technology, specifically ensuring that chargers snap into place with magnets. One problem with standard Qi charging is that, when the coils are not aligned between charger and device, a lot of energy is wasted, and charging is slower. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) will develop a standard for induction charging that requires this alignment for more efficient charging. These new chargers and devices will be available in late 2023.

What do you need for MagSafe Charging?

MagSafe charging requires a compatible iPhone – currently, the iPhone 12, 13, and 14 models – and a MagSafe charger. (The iPhone SE (3rd generation) is not MagSafe compatible.) If you want to charge your iPhone with a case, you have to have a compatible MagSafe case, which also contains magnets, laid out in a MagSafe Case Magnet Array. You can charge an iPhone 12, 13, or 14 on a Qi charger, but the voltage will be lower. And you can charge the following models of Airpods:

  • Airpods Pro
  • Airpods with Wireless Charging Case (2nd generation)
  • Wireless Charging Case for Airpods

Apple sells MagSafe chargers, as do some third parties, under Apple’s “Made for MagSafe” program. Apple has partnered for now with Belkin for these products, and other companies sell “MagSafe compatible” chargers, which use the Qi charging standard, which charges more slowly.

The MagSafe charger does work with older iPhones – starting with the iPhone 8 – but only at the slower, 7.5 W speed.

MagSafe cases

As mentioned above, MagSafe cases have to contain a MagSafe Case Magnet Array, which you can see in this photo of Apple’s clear case for the iPhone 13. The round array magnet passes the charge through the case to the device, and the straight orientation magnet is there to ensure that some devices are lined up correctly.

Apple sells MagSafe cases in clear plastic, silicone, and leather, and also sells a leather sleeve with a wrist strap for the iPhone 12 models. Apple also sells cases from OtterBox, and a number of third party companies sell MagSafe compatible cases. If you have a very thin case that is not designed for MagSafe, you might be able to use it with a MagSafe charger, but the charging may not be as efficient.

MagSafe chargers

The basic 39 Apple MagSafe charger is the ideal device to charge your iPhone, and, while third parties sell MagSafe compatible chargers, they use the slower Qi charging standard. You can, of course, charge your iPhone with any Qi charger, but the point of using the MagSafe charger is to benefit from faster and more efficient charging. Note that Apple’s MagSafe charger has a USB-C jack in its cable, and you’ll need a 20 W or higher USB-C compatible charging brick to get fast charging.

The MagSafe Duo charger is great if you have an iPhone and an Apple Watch, and it’s foldable and portable, so it’s the perfect charger to take on the road. It uses a USB-C to lightning cable, so you’ll need the right charging brick, as with the simple charging disc. Apple says that you need a 27 W or higher power adapter to charge at up to 14 W with this charger, and that a 20 W power adapter only charges up to 11 W. Presumably, this lower charging wattage is due to the fact that there are two chargers in the device.

You can buy a mophie 3-in-1 travel charger with MagSafe, which charges at up to 15W. Belkin also sells the BOOSTCHARGE line, which offers some MagSafe chargers that work at up to 15 W, others up to 10 W, and other companies have chargers that are magnetic, but that only provide 7.5 W charging. There are also lots of stands into which you can insert the Apple MagSafe charging puck.

MagSafe battery packs

When Apple introduced MagSafe in 2020, they announced a battery pack, and it took until the summer of 2021 for this to be released. The MagSafe Battery Pack snaps onto any iPhone 12, 13, or 14, and provides from 40% to 70% additional charge for the device. (The percentage depends on the iPhone’s battery; since the iPhone Pro Max models have the largest batteries, the charging percentage is lower). It’s not a lot of power, but it may be what you need to get through the day. Here’s the MagSafe battery pack on an iPhone 13 Pro, and a MagSafe wallet:

It was designed to fit on the smallest iPhones – the iPhone 12 or 13 mini – so it’s a bit small on the larger phones, but it’s sleek and integrates well with iOS, with a visible display on screen when you connect it. The Battery widget on the iPhone shows its current charge.

There are some third party battery packs from companies like Belkin, Mophie, and Anker, which are larger, offer more power, and are much cheaper. At 99, Apple’s battery pack is expensive, but it’s slimmer than other offerings, and at 112g, it adds a fair amount of heft to any iPhone.

MagSafe wallet

Apple’s most recent accessory is an updated version of its leather MagSafe wallet, which can hold a couple of credit cards and some cash. This wallet can fall off your iPhone easily, such as when you put it into or take it out of your. but the newest model supports Find My. You can set up Find My to notify you when the wallet has been detached from your iPhone for more than one minute, and you can locate a lost wallet using the Find My app.

Apple Watch fast charging cable

While not technically a MagSafe device, the Apple Watch has always used an induction charger. The charging puck that comes with an Apple Watch is at the end of a cable that plugs into a charger. With the release of the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Magnetic Fast Charger to USB-C Cable, which provides a 0 to 80% charge for the Series 7 or Series 8 in 45 minutes, and one hour for the Apple Watch Ultra. To benefit from fast charging, you need a compatible charging brick that provides 18W or more, but you can also plug it into a Mac that has a USB-C connector.

Other MagSafe accessories

Most MagSafe accessories are about power, but the magnets in iPhones let you use mounts that grip the air vents in a car, and there are some small magnetic tripods that can leverage the magnets in the phone. Belkin’s recent iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac Notebooks lets you mount an iPhone on a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to use as a webcam. This feature, called Continuity Camera, is available in macOS Ventura and later. The company is also releasing a version for the desktop, for iMacs and displays.

There are plenty of MagSafe stands and mounts for iPhones, including car mounts. As MagSafe matures, especially now that it’s a part of the Qi2 charging standard, we’re likely to see more creativity in accessories that take advantage of this feature.

How can I learn more?

Each week on the Intego Mac Podcast, Intego’s Mac security experts discuss the latest Apple news, including security and privacy stories, and offer practical advice on getting the most out of your Apple devices. Be sure to follow the podcast to make sure you don’t miss any episodes.

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About Kirk McElhearn

Kirk McElhearn writes about Apple products and more on his blog Kirkville. He is co-host of the Intego Mac Podcast, as well as several other podcasts, and is a regular contributor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS, and several other websites and publications. Kirk has written more than two dozen books, including Take Control books about Apple’s media apps, Scrivener, and LaunchBar. Follow him on at @mcelhearn. View all posts by Kirk McElhearn → This entry was posted in Apple and tagged chargers, iPhone, MagSafe. Bookmark the permalink.

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