iPhone 12 MagSafe Wireless Charging: Everything You Need To Know

We thought Apple’s MagSafe was dead after the popular charging technology was removed from the MacBook years ago. But it’s coming back in a big way with the iPhone 12 lineup.

This new version of MagSafe is a clever way to wirelessly charge all four iPhone 12 series handsets faster. And it looks like it might be one of the most important features of the iPhone 12. Here’s what you need to know.

What is MagSafe?

In short, MagSafe is a magnetic wireless charging system for the new iPhone 12 phones. But the technology has a history.

For those of you who didn’t know, MagSafe was originally used to simply attach a charging cable to MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro MacBook Air Laptops. The power of the magnets would snap the cable neatly into the charging port. However, if you accidentally catch the cable on something or a clumsy colleague tripped on your charger, the cable would easily detach from the connector instead of dragging the connected MacBook to the floor.

We’ve seen Microsoft’s Surface devices do the same thing with the Surface Connect port, just not as well as MagSafe. However, when the MacBooks were converted, both the Pro and Air machines were set to USB-C connections, leaving no room for MagSafe. And so one of the nicest functions of Apple’s laptops was brought to the bone garden.

By adding magnets to the back of the iPhone 12 phones, Apple turned MagSafe into what appears to be a pretty decent wireless charging system.

(Image credit: Apple)

How does MagSafe work?

MagSafe is not reinventing wireless charging. instead, it improves it. Similar to the wireless Qi charging that Apple phones have been supporting since the iPhone 8, MagSafe is based on a wireless charging coil on the glass back of the iPhone 12.

With a magnetic ring around the coil, a MagSafe wireless charger can be snapped onto the back of an iPhone 12. The magnets ensure that the coil in the phone is perfectly aligned with the coil in the charger. This avoids problems with misalignment of the coils that can prevent a phone from charging or filling very slowly.

And MagSafe can’t just be used for charging. It supports MagSafe enclosures which can be easily snapped into place by the magnets. There’s also a MagSafe leather wallet that snaps onto the back of all four iPhone 12 phones and can be used as a stylish card holder.

Apple and third-party partners can make more MagSafe accessories. A MagSafe tripod, for example, could hold the iPhone 12 Pro Max in place so that the high-end camera suite can be optimally used.

How fast does MagSafe charge?

(Image credit: Apple)

Thanks to the precise orientation that MagSafe offers, the iPhone 12 phones get a charging speed of 15W. While the OnePlus 8 Pro won’t outperform 30W wireless charging, it is an upgrade from the 7.5W Charging process of the Qi standard from the iPhone 11 series.

MagSafe doesn’t offer as fast a charge as a Lightning connection. While Apple doesn’t provide a charger in the iPhone 12 box, it does support charging with 20W via a USB-C to Lightning charger.

But MagSafe still has enough watts to charge an iPhone 12 in time. So it is likely that you can access your iPhone 12 before bed and wake up with a fully charged phone.

What do MagSafe chargers cost?

Apple MagSafe leather wallet
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple sells its official MagSafe charger for $ 39, which is pretty reasonable for an Apple peripheral. And it costs about the same as other major phone brand chargers.

The MagSafe chargers are also a lot cheaper than Google’s Pixel Stand wireless charger, which costs a whopping $ 79.

Other MagSafe accessories cost a little more. MagSafe Compatible Cases are $ 49, while the MagSafe Leather Wallet is $ 59.

However, we can assume that third parties will offer more MagSafe accessories. Belkin has the BoostCharge Pro MagSafe 3-in-1 charger for $ 150 and a MagSafe vent mount for $ 40. PopSockets, that strange grip accessory for smartphones, are supported by MagSafe. Expect a lot more accessory brands to jump on the MagSafe bandwagon.

What’s next for MagSafe?

Apple MagSafe
(Image credit: Apple)

We suspect MagSafe chargers will become a near-must-have accessory for the iPhone 12 range when they arrive this month and November. But we also hope that this is a sign that MagSafe will return for other Apple devices.

A MagSafe stand for iPad would be handy as it could prop up the tablet so users could watch Netflix or stream games while the power went out. And a clever form of wireless charging pad for MacBooks would be pretty good – imagine if you could just go to your desk and put your MacBook on a flat charging pad and get on with your day without finding any charging cables.

Time will tell if Apple pushes MagSafe further. But for now we’re glad it’s back as it will be one of the most satisfying features on the iPhone 12.

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