What is Apple MagSafe? Everything you need to know

Apple released their iPhone 12 range this Autumn, introducing a host of new features to their customers - one of which was MagSafe. To learn more about what this feature is, and what it means for the future of iPhones, keep reading below. 

Last updated: 16th Nov 2020 at 3:39pm

Apple is one of the most successful manufacturers in the world, selling 2.2 billion iPhones since they began producing the model in 2007. Along with Qi wireless charging and 5G compatibility, Apple have contributed to the evolution of mobile phones - and now they’re attempting to take it a step further, with MagSafe. 

What is MagSafe?

MagSafe is a new wireless charging system for iPhones. The name may sound familiar, as it was originally designed for Macbooks to stop someone hurting themselves (or the computer) by tripping over the charging cable. 

iPhones 8 to 11 already support wireless charging, which allows users to simply place their phone on top of a wireless charging pad to recharge the battery. This removes the need for cables and wires, and is supposed to charge your phone faster. 

MagSafe is a magnetic system that improves upon the wireless standard already in place, and will likely result in the removal of the lightning port from future models. Removing the lightning port will change the future of charging, completely eradicating any need for cables. 

MagSafe technology also works in conjunction with phone accessories, allowing your phone to charge inside a case. 

How does it work?

Normally, with wireless technology, you have to ensure your phone is placed correctly. Sometimes, this alignment is off, which means your phone doesn’t charge as quickly (or maybe not at all). 

MagSafe uses magnets to properly align the iPhone on the MagSafe charging pad to reap up to 15 watts of power, which is double that of current wireless technology. The magnetic force snaps the two together in perfect alignment, keeping both the iPhone and charger in place. The force is so strong that the charger can be held up at an angle, and the iPhone will still stay stuck to it. 

The aim is for iPhones to charge completely without being able to fall or slide off the electrical circuit. This means that you’ll have an effective charge every time, without the worry that someone might knock your phone out of alignment. 

How much does it cost? 

As with all Apple products, you’re going to have to pay for it! Here’s how much you’re looking at, depending on the type of charger: 

MagSafe charger - £39

Magsafe Duo charger - £139 (charges your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case; two at one time)

MagSafe accessories

Cases

MagSafe has also introduced a line of iPhone cases, which allow you to charge your phone with the case still on, rather than taking it off and leaving the model vulnerable to incidents. 

MagSafe case - Clear - £49

MagSafe case - Silicone - £49

These cases are built with the same magnetic technology that is integrated into the iPhone 12 range, meaning you can still wirelessly charge properly. The technology means that this case won’t have the usual lip sticking out to grip the edges of the phone, it also has a ring on the back to showcase where the magnet lies.

iPhone sleeves and wallets have also been launched, which snap onto the back so you can store your bank card with your phone. 

Magsafe Leather Wallet - £59

Third-party integration

Due to the popularity of iPhones, other third-party companies who sell cases and other accessories for Apple models will have to adapt to this new way of charging.  

PopSockets, a company which provides pop-up accessories (for better grip and movability) that stick to the back of iPhones, have announced that they intend to incorporate MagSafe technology into their products. 

Belkin have already hopped on the trend, releasing a MagSafe case that can mount inside a vehicle to charge on the go. 

The catch

You’ll have to buy a MagSafe charger and a MagSafe case for this technology to work, though, giving Apple more control over the sales and distribution of their products. 

Normal Qi wireless chargers won’t work with the iPhone 12, nor will regular iPhone cases. You also can’t take advantage of Magsafe accessories if you already own an iPhone. 

The introduction of MagSafe might eliminate all lightning ports and Qi wireless compatibility in the future, if Apple continues to develop this exclusively for further models. 

Problems with the magnetic technology

Some customers have expressed concern over the use of the magnets in the back of the iPhone 12 or its case, which could damage other items in your pocket - like the magnetic strip on credit and debit cards. Other chip-magnetic items may also be at risk, like passports. 

Perhaps this conflict of physics may pose a risk for Apple’s charging future - we can only wait and see.

Summary

  • More powerful charging compared to existing technology 
  • iPhone won’t fall or slide off electrical alignment = guaranteed charging every time ✔
  • Easy attachment ✔
     
  • Possible damage to other magnetic items in your pocket or bag ✘
  • Have to buy all new MagSafe products for it to work ✘
  • Costly ✘

To see what sort of MagSafe accessories Apple have launched, you can check out their online store

The iPhone 12 may be the latest in the series, but it doesn’t mean you should rush out to buy one. Find out which iPhone is right for you first so you can make an informed decision.

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