Hands-On With Apple's MagSafe Charger for iPhone 12

Alongside the new iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a MagSafe charger that attaches to the back of the iPhones using magnets embedded both in the charger and in the ‌iPhone‌. It allows for speedier charging and paves the way for a portless ‌iPhone‌ in the future. ‌MagSafe‌ chargers are shipping out and are in some Apple retail locations now, and we picked one up to check it out.


‌MagSafe‌ isn't a new word for Apple -- it's what the magnetic MacBook chargers used to be called before Apple swapped over to USB-C. ‌MagSafe‌ in its current incarnation is totally different from the original ‌MagSafe‌ chargers, but the common theme is the magnetic connection.

The puck-shaped ‌MagSafe‌ charger looks like a larger Apple Watch charging puck, featuring a circular design with a cord at one end that plugs into a power adapter. The charger is designed to snap on to a ring of magnets built into the ‌iPhone‌ 12 and 12 Pro, for a perfect alignment without any hassle.

magsafe1
When you order a ‌MagSafe‌ charger from Apple for $39, you get just the charger, which has a cord with a USB-C connector at the end. It needs to be paired with a USB-C power adapter, and Apple recommends its $19 20W USB-C option. The cord attached to the ‌MagSafe‌ charger is non-removable, and the charger itself is made from aluminum, but the front middle section has a grippy, rubber-like feel to it.

magsafe2
Apple's ‌MagSafe‌ chargers line up right with the charging coil inside the ‌iPhone‌ 12 models, and can provide up to 15W of power. That's double the charging speed you're able to get with the 7.5W Qi wireless chargers, which makes this a much more appealing wireless charging option.

magsafemain
If you're wondering if the ‌MagSafe‌ charger works with older iPhones, the answer is yes. It is compatible with all iPhones that support wireless charging, which includes the ‌iPhone‌ 8 and later. When used with an ‌iPhone‌ 12, the charger snaps onto the back of the device with what appears to be a strong magnetic connection, but the older iPhones don't have that same magnetic ring so it the ‌MagSafe‌ charger can't connect in the same way.

We don't have an ‌iPhone‌ 12 model on hand yet to see the actual difference between the magnetic connection of one of the new models and an existing ‌iPhone‌, but just based on the marketing materials Apple has released, that magnetic ring in the ‌iPhone‌ is an important factor when it comes to the strength of the connection.

magsafeotterbox
Even using a MagSafe-compatible ‌iPhone‌ 12 case from OtterBox results in a connection that's not super strong, and it appears that OtterBox, at least, has just stuck a couple of magnets in a little insert in the case to add ‌MagSafe‌ functionality. Presumably, the ‌MagSafe‌ ring built into the ‌iPhone‌ 12 models makes the connection between ‌MagSafe‌ charger and ‌iPhone‌ much stronger, and Apple's own cases may also be more magnetic.

insidemagsafeotterbox
While the ‌iPhone‌ 12 models can charge at 15W using the ‌MagSafe‌ charger, it's not yet quite clear how fast it can charge older iPhones, so there may be some speed limitations involved when using it with non-iPhone 12 models. As mentioned before, there's no strong magnetic adhesion, so the non-iPhone 12 models just rest on the charger like your basic Qi charger.

The ‌MagSafe‌ charger is also able to charge Qi-based Android phones as well as the AirPods, but unsurprisingly, it is not compatible with the Apple Watch.

We'll have an ‌iPhone‌ 12 and 12 Pro on Friday to test out with the ‌MagSafe‌ charger, so make sure to tune in to MacRumors later in the week to see our ‌iPhone‌ 12 hands-on with more detail on using the ‌MagSafe‌ charger with an ‌iPhone‌ that has the built-in magnetic ring.

Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....

Top Rated Comments

jimbobb24 Avatar
48 months ago
No wall connector in a $39 wireless charger.

Also - its important to point out the hypocrisy of apple ditching wall chargers ”for the environment” and then pushing the inefficient wireless charging which results in power loss and therefore more power needed to charge the device. Wireless charging is “bad for the environment” by Apples logic.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scottish Avatar
48 months ago
I’ve taken a couple of photos to show how raised the pad is.





Edit: adding in photo comparing overall depth of charger to the Apple Watch charger



Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gmanjeff Avatar
48 months ago

How would they possibly own all these existing 20W USB-C blocks?

The “30 existing USB blocks” that vast majority of people own won’t work with MagSafe. You fail to remember that USB-A is what Apple has included with devices over the last 10+ years. But now they are literally forcing them to buy a USB-C charger if they want to use this new MagSafe charger.

In fact, MagSafe won’t even work with the 18W USB-C chargers that came with the newer iPad Pros and iPhone 11 Pros! Considering how MagSafe caps at 15W of wireless charging, this makes absolutely no sense, other than prompting customers to spend another $19 on a 20W adapter.
I received my new MagSafe charger today and can confirm that it works with the 18W USB-C block included with the iPhone 11 Pro. In addition, I just got off the phone with a guy from Apple Support and he confirmed that the same 18W block can maximize new MagSafe wireless charging (up to 15W) on iPhone 12s. No need to get new 20W adapter.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ewrapple Avatar
48 months ago
Please also test the 18W charger to see if you are able to achieve 15W wireless charging.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
talisto Avatar
48 months ago
Hopefully 3rd-parties will start making cases for iphone 8 to 11 with magnets in them so that the magsafe chargers will latch onto older phones as well.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sniffies Avatar
48 months ago
That’s why I try to avoid third-party products as much as possible

They will never be Apple quality
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)