Apple’s iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack vs. alternatives from Anker and Mophie
Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is here with a clean design and seamless integration with iPhone 12 and iOS. But is it worth the 99 price tag? Follow along for a detailed comparison of the Apple MagSafe Battery vs. Mophie and Anker’s solid alternatives at half the price.
The official Apple MagSafe Battery Pack has arrived nine months after the iPhone 12 lineup debuted with the handy magnetic functionality. And earlier in the year, two of the most compelling MagSafe compatible battery packs to launch have been Mophie’s Snap Juice Pack Mini (reviewed) and Anker’s PowerCore Magnetic 5K (reviewed).
Apple MagSafe Battery vs Anker and Mophie alternatives
Design and price
|Finish||Smooth plastic||Fabric||Rubberized plastic|
All three of these MagSafe battery options have their own unique design. A departure from its previous Smart Battery Cases, Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is only available in white but, of course, comes with the company’s signature seamless design.
- First impressions: Apple’s MagSafe battery pack isn’t perfect, but you’ll probably still want to get one
From left to right: Apple MagSafe Battery Pack on iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max
Mophie goes with a clean dark gray fabric and black-framed design, while Anker uses a simple rubberized black plastic. For I/O, these two solid third-party choices use USB-C while Apple uses Lightning.
Left: Mophie Snap Juice Pack Mini on iPhone 12 Pro. Right: Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K on iPhone 12 mini
At 99 compared to ~50, read on for all the pros and cons to see if Apple has enough advantages over Mophie and Anker to make it worth the premium.
How much extra battery?
Ok, so this is a bit messy for a few reasons. First, Apple doesn’t share any guidance for how much extra iPhone 12 battery to expect, like not even an estimate. But we’ll start with what we expect to see (actual numbers from Mophie and Anker shown in the chart and our estimates for Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack). Keep reading below for the fine details.
|Charge per device||Apple||Mophie||Anker|
|iPhone 12 mini||Likely around 75-100% charge||Up to 1.25 charges||1.2 charges|
|iPhone 12/12 Pro||Likely around 50-75% charge||Up to 1 full charge||95% charge|
|iPhone 12 Pro Max||Likely around 25-50% charge||Up to 75% charge||75% charge|
So how did we come up with the Apple estimates above? Apple did share the raw specs of the MagSafe Battery Pack, but those can be misunderstood at a glance. It can be easier to look at the Wh (watt-hours) rating to more easily compare these batteries and the charge they’ll offer for the iPhone 12 lineup.
Because Apple is using double the voltage of Mophie and Anker, it suggests there are actually two 1460mAh cells used, putting the true mAh around 2920. One more factor to consider is that Apple may have a higher efficiency (maybe around 70%) when it comes to wireless power transfer.
|Raw battery specs||Apple||Mophie||Anker|
|mAh (milliamp hours)||1460 (2920 at ~3.7V)||5000||5000|
So even though the 11.13Wh compared to 18.5Wh for Mophie and Anker seems notably lower, the disparity in how much of a charge to expect may not be quite as big due to efficiency differences.
For reference, the iPhone 12 mini has an 8.57Wh battery, the iPhone 12/Pro has a 10.75Wh battery, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 14.13Wh battery. That means Mophie and Anker batteries have wireless transfer efficiency of around 60% based on the charges they offer.
Based on the 11.13Wh rating of Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack and the assumption that its efficiency is closer to 70%, that could mean up to 1 full charge for iPhone 12 mini, up to 75% for iPhone 12/Pro, and up to 50% for iPhone 12 Pro Max. But again, those numbers could be lower if Apple’s efficiency in wireless transfer is lower.
Mophie and Anker will still probably provide about 25% more power for any given iPhone 12 device.
It was interesting to see top brands like Mophie and Anker skip the official MagSafe designation, but this detail probably explains why – even Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack offers just 5W wireless charging on the go.
And in fact, Mophie offers faster 7.5W wireless charging than both Anker or Apple.
As described in Apple’s support document, the only way to get 15W fast charging with Apple’s Battery Pack is to use it when plugged in. That means there’s not much difference in official MagSafe vs. MagSafe compatible here.
So what else sets Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack apart from Mophie and Anker? The integration with iOS and auto power on are likely two of the most valuable features (not fully working with the iOS 15 beta yet).
When you attach the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack, it automatically starts charging your iPhone 12, with a charge status showing up on the lock screen. You can also find charge status icons in the Today View and in home screen widgets.
|Auto power on||❌||❌|
|Physical power button||❌|
|Power/charge status in iOS||❌||❌|
|LED(s) on pack||(1)||(4)||(5)|
|Reverse passthrough charging||❌||❌|
Interestingly, Apple offers two ways to use passthrough charging. You can plug a 20W power adapter into the MagSafe Battery Pack, and it will charge both the pack and your iPhone 12. Or you plug in via your iPhone 12’s Lightning port which will charge your smartphone, and the MagSafe Battery Pack via reverse wireless charging.
However, a positive for Mophie and Anker that Apple doesn’t have is wired input and output via USB-C, giving more flexibility for charging other devices.
Also, you can use the wireless Qi pad on the Mophie and Anker battery packs to charge any Qi-supported device. We’ve learned you can do the same with Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack too.
But a bonus with Mophie is that it includes an adapter ring so older iPhone or Android devices can experience the same MagSafe alignment as iPhone 12.
Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack sits in between Anker’s smaller footprint with thicker design and Mophie’s larger footprint with thinner design.
|Weight||~0.25 pounds||0.298 pounds||0.287 pounds|
When it comes to iPhone 12 mini owners, the Anker or Apple MagSafe Battery may fit best since they’re both under 4 inches. However, for iPhone 12/Pro and Pro Max users, any of the three work great size-wise.
Apple MagSafe Battery vs Mophie and Anker wrap-up
There’s a good amount to consider when looking at the Apple MagSafe Battery vs. Mophie and Anker, but hopefully, now you have a good idea of what’s the best fit for you.
Pros for Apple
If strong iOS integration, auto power on, and the Apple design are important to you, and you’re good with white as the only choice – the 99 premium price is probably worth it for the MagSafe Battery Pack.
Pros for Mophie and Anker
And if you want something in black or gray, want greater versatility, larger capacity, and/or would rather spend less money, Mophie’s Snap Juice Pack Mini at 50 and Anker’s PowerCore Magnetic 5K at 46 are hard to beat (sure, there are cheaper options out there, but not from brands as reputable as Mophie or Anker).
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If you have this popular Anker battery pack, stop using it immediately
Mobile charger and power bank maker Anker has issued a recall on select battery packs for fear of overheating and possible fire. Following a housefire likely caused by an overheating battery pack, Anker is recalling its 535 Power Banks with specific model numbers to ensure safety while the company gets to the bottom of the hardware issue. According to Anker, a “small number” of its battery packs “pose a fire safety risk,” so it’s asking for 535 Power Bank owners to safely dispose of their affected units as soon as possible.
If you own an Anker 535 Power Bank, stop using it immediately and consult the information below to see if your unit is affected and, if it is, how to contact Anker for a refund.
How to tell if your Anker battery pack is affected
The most important thing to know with this recall is if your device is affected. Luckily, it’s not all Anker 535 Power Banks that have the issue. Instead, just the ones that are model number A1366. To learn your Power Bank’s model number, look at its rear side and examine the fine-print text on the bottom. On the second line of text, you’ll see the word “model” followed by two Chinese characters. After the characters, you’ll be able to see your model number.
If your model number is A1366, you have one of the recalled models. Stop using the battery pack immediately and take a picture of its rear side with the fine-print text plainly in view. With that done, dispose of it at a facility that takes Lithium batteries. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t simply throw it in the garbage with the rest of your trash as it poses a high risk for fire.
How to return your Anker battery for a refund
As mentioned above, you don’t have to send your affected Power Bank back to Anker to get a refund. As long as you have a photo of the battery pack, you shouldn’t have any issues and are able to get a refund.
To do so, complete Anker’s recall form. Fill out the information correctly and upload the photo of the battery pack you took or an image of your receipt at the end of the form. After submitting the information, Anker will review it and send you your refund.
Regardless of whether you are simply whiling away the hours on a long journey with your Nintendo Switch or are left unable to work because your iPhone X or MacBook is out of juice, running out of battery charge on the go is pretty darn annoying. That’s where a new new graphene-based fast charging USB-C battery pack, currently sweeping Kickstarter, wants to help. Describing itself as the world’s first portable USB-C power bank which works using graphene-based composite packs, it is smaller than many power packs available on the market, and promises to be able to recharge in just 20 minutes.
It supports charging up to 60W, which means that a battery with a capacity of 6,000mAh can be charged in as little as 20 minutes. You can also quickly charge gadgets with 40W, allowing the iPhone X and iPhone 8 promising to reach a full charge in just 90 minutes, as opposed to the usual three hours. The USB-C connection means that it’s compatible with the power adapters for Nintendo Switch, the MacBook, or Lenovo, Dell, and HP laptops. You can alternatively use a special adapter to get it to work with old laptop chargers or MagSafe adapters.
What a power bank lacks in style and aesthetics, it makes up for in the amount of power it holds. While portable chargers aren’t horrible looking, there aren’t a ton of customization options.
GoGoToro is here to change that with its latest Gamer Series Power Banks. Available in three different game-inspired designs, you can customize them however you’d like with the sticker packs provided. The rubber coating gives it a nice, sleek feel and it’s also small enough to fit into your without feeling too heavy.
Let’s face it, as we’ve added more and more mobile devices to our lives over the past few years, the need for portable power has dramatically increased, too. There are a lot of options available for keeping our favorite gadgets up and running while away from a power outlet, but most of those options force us to make compromises along the way. But a new portable charger called the Saber promises to make it easier than ever to keep our smartphones, tablets, and even laptops running while on the road.
The Saber comes our way courtesy of Romeo Power, a company that is best been known for creating power solutions for electric vehicles and energy storage for small businesses. Founded by engineers from Apple, SpaceX, Tesla, and other top tech companies. the team at Romeo set out to create a portable battery pack that could provide the same speed and convenience of charging as we would get when plugged into an outlet at home. The result is the Saber, an innovative power source that fits in the palm of your hand.
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MagSafe Battery Pack review: One year later, still the one to beat
The MagSafe Battery Pack continues to be our favorite portable power bank
After spending a year with the MagSafe Battery Pack we’re more certain that the controversy and concerns at launch were overblown.
The MagSafe Battery Pack is a direct successor of the Smart Battery Case for iPhone. It takes advantage of the MagSafe accessory system found in iPhone 12 and later to charge with minimal user interaction.
When the MagSafe Battery Pack was first announced, we were excited by the prospect of this simple attachable battery extension. Using the Smart Battery Case on previous iPhone models was a chore, and some even kept it attached at all times.
Mired in controversy
Once iPhone users learned the specs like charge speed and battery capacity, an uproar broke out. People considered it a weak offering that wouldn’t function near as well as existing cheaper options.
After we received one to test, we quickly made it our go-to charging accessory and scored it a 4 out of 5 on the review. Controversy aside, the math didn’t lie — this was the most efficient MagSafe battery pack you could buy at this size.
As always, with Apple products and hot takes, the whole story wasn’t known at the onset. Third-party battery packs could attach using magnets, but they weren’t MagSafe — a big factor in determining worth.
The efficiency of Qi charging is low enough that a 5,000mAh battery would still only charge the iPhone 14 Pro Max to about 50% despite it having a 4,323mAh battery. Conversely, the MagSafe Battery Pack with a 1,460mAh capacity could charge an iPhone 14 Pro Max to about 40% capacity.
These numbers may not make much sense, but that’s because there is a missing crucial value — voltage. The MagSafe Battery Pack has a 7.62V rating, making it an effective 2,920mAh when compensating for the iPhone’s lower 3.81V.
Combine this number with the high efficiency of MagSafe charging, and it makes sense how the MagSafe Battery Pack can provide an effective 1,729mAh to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. We get into the math more in our capacity breakdown. The controversial hot takes lacked this data.
At the time, 99 for a MagSafe Battery Pack with those dimensions and charging capacity was an easy decision. Customers had to decide between a low price and a bulky pack or a higher price and a minimalist pack.
One year with the Apple MagSafe battery Pack
Our initial impressions and review ended up proving true in the long run. The MagSafe Battery Pack remained our favorite way to charge the iPhone when away from a dedicated charger.
We’ll cede the fact that Apple has a lot of proprietary tricks available that third-party accessories do not. It’s the same reason why we favor Airpods over other earbuds. The Apple ecosystem is a significant advantage and, to an extent, an unfair one.
The MagSafe Battery Pack gets a unique launch animation that shows how much battery is left in the pack. It also doubles as a 15W MagSafe charger when connected to an external 20W power source.
These features aside, it still offers a great capacity with magnetic attachment in the smallest package available. Apple’s battery pack is so small it fits in any or bag without any problem.
Apple even increased the usefulness of the MagSafe Battery Pack with a mid-life update. In April 2022, Apple increased the battery pack’s charging speed from 5W to 7.5W.
Over the last year, we’ve had multiple great use cases for this battery pack.
For example, we’ve gone on a few road trips in a vehicle without any means to charge a phone. The iPhone was able to play music to a Bluetooth speaker and provide GPS directions on a six-hour trip while attached to the MagSafe Battery Pack.
Sure, the battery pack was drained by the halfway point of the trip, but it provided enough power to get us there with battery life to spare. Otherwise, we’d have been running cables from our extra large battery.
Another great use case has been on outdoor trips like amusement parks or nature trails. We could keep our iPhones charged while walking around without needing a bulky battery.
And, since it’s MagSafe, it fit everyone’s iPhone as long as they had an iPhone 12 and newer with a MagSafe case. Other battery packs can do the same, but some of those original ones released in the summer of 2020 are so big they’d be incompatible with the oversized camera bump on the iPhone 14 Pro.
Overall, the MagSafe Battery Pack has been an excellent investment over the past year, and we’re interested in what Apple does next in this space. Competitors are catching up, though, and offer some unique options.
Catching up with Apple
Battery and charging technology has changed a lot since the summer of 2021. However, the magnetic battery pack ecosystem hasn’t gained much.
Apple didn’t update how MagSafe worked with the iPhone 13 or iPhone 14. So, they still operate using the same magnets at the same 15W max charging rate.
The iPhone still defaults to 5W or 7.5W wireless charging speeds when using Qi. Only official licensed products have access to MagSafe 15W, so everything else still uses the less-efficient Qi standard.
Third-party battery packs have gotten much smaller. Some, like Anker’s MagGo 621, are nearly the same size as Apple’s pack.
The reduction in size, multiple color options, and some unique features make Apple’s pack less of a standout. The Qi efficiency issues are still there, and Apple’s is still the best for its size, but there’s more to it.
Get the Anker 622 battery pack and it has a fold-out stand. It may be bigger than Apple’s, but the utility of a built-in stand can’t be understated.
There are other battery packs on the market, but few come as close to Apple’s as Anker. We hope to see other companies try to compete in the space, but most make such large packs they may as well be separate banks.
So, if we were to make a recommendation today, it is only slightly more complicated. Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is still 99, while competitors’ options start around 40.
If you can get Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack on sale, or even open box, do it. It’s an okay buy at 99 for what you get, so anything less is a steal.
The previously mentioned Anker battery packs are great options if you’re not willing to spend more. The added stand in the 622 model is also worth checking out.
Competitor’s options are still around 5,000mAh despite getting smaller. The low efficiency of Qi means more energy lost during charge, which translates to more heat during charging.
heat means more battery degradation in the iPhone. Keep that in mind when choosing options other than Apple’s since the MagSafe Battery Pack will provide power with less heat loss.
The MagSafe Battery Pack is still the one to beat for its size versus efficiency ratio. Though it isn’t perfect, and Apple could easily release an updated version.
MagSafe Battery Pack 2.0 wishlist
The MagSafe Battery Pack is already about as minimalist as things come. There are no buttons, no flashing displays, nor any fans.
However, we’d love to see some color options, if not a black model at least. The stark white material is easily dirtied and clashes with dark cases. We’ve even taken to using a silicon cover to make it appear black.
Another annoying factor is charging the device itself. We’ve minimized our travel bag to wireless charging and USB-C — except for the MagSafe Battery Pack and Airpods Max.
Today, Lightning makes sense for a product that charges an iPhone, which is also a Lightning product. However, rumors suggest that iPhone 15 could have USB-C. We’d love to see USB-C on the next MagSafe Battery Pack.
Also, the magnets on the MagSafe Battery Pack are the same polarity as a MagSafe Charger, so it cannot be charged via MagSafe. Apple could add MagSafe or some wireless charging option to the other side of the MagSafe Battery Pack — but that’s not strictly necessary.
Of course, the most obvious and likely upgrade is more battery capacity. Battery cells can (theoretically) be shrunk as material science improves, or different materials can be used to make them smaller, but we’ll see how that goes with time.
The MagSafe Battery Pack is available via Amazon for 99. There aren’t any rumors about a second-generation model coming anytime soon, so now is just as good as a year ago to buy.
The Best MagSafe Battery Packs of 2023
Chris Hoffman / How-To Geek
Max Buondonno Freelance Writer
Max Buondonno is a technology enthusiast and writer who’s been covering the future of computing since 2015. His blog, Matridox, serves as a creative outlet for him where he can share thoughts on the latest technology news, gadgets he reviews, and more. Read more.
Elizabeth Henges Commerce Editor Elizabeth Henges is the Commerce Editor for How-To Geek. She has close to a decade’s experience reporting on tech, gaming, and gadgets. Elizabeth has had her commerce work featured on XDA Developers, The Inventory, and more. She has also written for publications The Washington Post and The Verge. Read more. About How-To Geek
If you have an iPhone 12 or later but find the battery life lacking a MagSafe battery pack is a great choice for charging your phone throughout the day. There’s no need to carry a cable or plug anything in-it attaches with magnets and charges wirelessly.
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4 Hours Researched
45 Reviews Analyzed
The Best MagSafe Battery Packs of 2023
Update, 03/21/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best MagSafe accessories you can buy.
Shopping For A MagSafe Battery Pack in 2023
Apple’s inclusion of MagSafe technology on the iPhone has enabled a vast ecosystem of cases and accessories, some of which are more helpful than others. One common type of accessory are MagSafe battery packs, which can attach to your iPhone without needing an adhesive and charge your device wirelessly while you’re out and about. Over the years, the market has somewhat matured, and a bevy of different options have sprouted up. They’re each designed for different use cases and tastes, so it’s important to keep in mind exactly what you’re looking for. Size is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. If you want something that can charge your iPhone from zero to 100 percent more than once, you’ll want to shop for packs that are 5,000mAh or more. However, this means you’ll be looking at battery packs that will add quite a bit of thickness to your device.
If you want something discrete that won’t bulge out, you’ll need to look at smaller solutions that will limit the number of times you can recharge your phone on the go (think anything less than 4,000-5,000mAh). But if you don’t mind extra chunkiness, you can pretty much go as big as you want to. Some MagSafe battery packs also offer neat tricks like the ability to charge two devices (one via MagSafe, one over a wire). Some come with bonus accessories like stands, so you have somewhere to dock your iPhone and battery pack at the end of the day. There are many different battery packs nowadays to pick from, all of which are suited for different people. That being said, almost every battery pack is the same in terms of functionality. They all connect to the back of your iPhone, almost all offer 5W charging speeds, and you’ll only ever find either a single USB-C or Lightning port for charging the packs themselves. What matters in your hunt is finding the right size power pack with the right amount of features and a good price. We’re helping you search for a MagSafe battery pack with this roundup of some of the best on the market. Keep reading to check out our selections.
Best MagSafe Battery Pack Overall: Apple MagSafe Battery Pack
Our top pick for the best MagSafe battery pack you can get is Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack. It’s a first-party product, which means reliability and overall quality will be solid. But the main reason we picked this power pack is its performance—it’s the only MagSafe portable charger that supports 7.5W charging. While that’s by no means a significant upgrade compared to 5W, it’s at least a tad faster and will juice your phone up with better efficiency.
For faster charging, you can plug a Lightning cable into the battery pack while it’s connected to your iPhone for 15W wired charging. This will also charge the battery pack itself.
The battery inside the pack is 1,460mAh which, admittedly, isn’t very big—it’s not enough to fill an iPhone 13 mini from zero to 100 percent. However, it’s enough to supply some extra power when you’re out and about when you need it most. The MagSafe Battery Pack also includes a compact design which makes it comfortable to hold.
It’s expensive at 99 and there are plenty of larger MagSafe power packs on the market, but as an overall experience, the MagSafe Battery Pack will provide the best.
Apple MagSafe Battery Pack
Sometimes, to get the best accessories, you have to go right to the source. Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is the perfect example of that, with tight integration with the iPhone and a quality experience, despite its high price and small battery capacity.
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