Apple yesterday unveiled its MagSafe Battery Pack in a move that took everyone by surprise. It was quite a sneaky announcement, however rare they might be in Apple’s realm these days. That isn’t to say the new MagSafe Battery Pack wasn’t rumored beforehand.
People had been, with ample justification, speculating the launch of an official MagSafe Battery Pack from the Cupertino giant ever since the company launched its flagship iPhone 12 lineup with MagSafe charging capability.
Since then, a number of third-party manufacturers have already launched their own portable wireless chargers that latch on to the back of an iPhone 12 and charge it. While it’s not too late (not any way for Apple), now that Apple has finally dipped its foot into the pond; here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s first Official MagSafe Battery Pack!
The MagSafe Battery Pack from Apple costs $99 apiece. It’s considerably expensive as compared to other MagSafe-like portable wireless charging options available. However, it’s also acceptable as Apple’s pricing for its accessories has always been higher than third-party products.
Similar chargers from brands like Belkin or Anker retail for $50 or less, by comparison.
The MagSafe Battery Pack has a compact, candy bar design that conforms to Apple’s affinity with rounded corners.
You may note that the rounded corners don’t appear to be completely round and are rather slightly squared along the edges. This may be due to the fact that the back of the battery pack is flat and achieving perfectly rounded corners, in that case, is next-to-impossible.
On the front, an Apple logo is placed slightly above the center which interestingly relates to the pre-MagSafe iPhone era design. Presently, the iPhone 12 lineup features the Apple logo right in the middle of the glass back which isn’t replicated in the battery pack’s design.
While there’s a chance you might find its placement a bit pointless, if you look closely, the Apple logo on the battery pack seems to overlap the Apple logo on the iPhone, which is impressive attention to detail.
The back of the battery pack is flat. It has indentations accommodating the array of magnets used to attach it to the back of iPhones that support MagSafe. It’s also gray, in contrast with the white front of the pack.
The flat back also features proprietary information printed in an unobtrusive format so as to not tarnish the simple design of the battery pack. It’s worth noting that in some countries, the proprietary information may vary and could even be removed entirely; as is the case with iPhones.
Below, there’s a Lightning port for charging the battery pack. Besides, the battery pack also includes a dedicated status light for indicating the charging status.
The battery pack is sufficiently sized to fit the length of the iPhone 12 models. For instance, it sits edge-to-edge on the iPhone 12 mini below the back camera. On the other hand, it spares some space around the edges when attached to the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
As for the look and feel of the battery pack, its smooth plastic interior provides the illusion of it being soft to touch. Once the effect of the illusion wears out, it’s a simple hard shell.
Weight and Dimensions
The MagSafe Battery Pack has a thickness of 11mm and weighs around 114 to 115 grams.
This is considerably thicker than some alternatives and might affect the way you carry your iPhone around.
Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is only available in a white finish. It’s unclear if Apple plans to release alternate color options in the future as it would make up for a certainly more lucrative product.
How does the MagSafe Battery Pack work?
The MagSafe Battery Pack sticks to the back of a MagSafe-compatible iPhone. Currently, the only iPhones that feature MagSafe are the ones in the iPhone 12 lineup.
When you attach the battery pack to the back of your iPhone 12, it snaps onto place aligning with the circular array of magnets in your iPhone to charge it wirelessly.
There are no buttons to press. The battery pack automatically starts charging your iPhone as soon as you attach it to the back of your iPhone, thereby resonating with the simplicity of the MagSafe brand.
You can charge the MagSafe Battery Pack using a USB-C to Lightning connector or using your iPhone via reverse charging. When the pack is charging, dedicated lights indicate the charging status. An amber light means the battery is charging and a brief, green light indicates that the battery is fully charged.
The MagSafe Battery Pack has a battery capacity of 1460 mAh. Furthermore, it’s a 7.62V, 11.13Wh battery.
There is no definite number as to how many times Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack can charge different iPhone 12 models ranging from the iPhone 12 mini to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This is due to multiple factors affecting the charging process including temperature, the battery capacity of the iPhone, how efficient the charging process is, and more.
Given the voltage and wattage, there are two cells arranged in series in the battery pack which essentially doubles the battery capacity that is mentioned on the label, bringing it to 2,920 mAh.
This means that you may be able to charge the iPhone 12 mini once completely since it has a 2,227 mAh battery while also factoring in the loss of efficiency of the battery pack due to Qi wireless charging constraints.
On the other hand, the battery pack may only be able to partially charge the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max since these devices have larger batteries.
The charging speed of the MagSafe Battery Pack while using it portably is only 5W. This means that your iPhone will require some time before it either completes charging or drains the battery out of the pack. It’s definitely not as fast as charging using the lightning port on your iPhone.
Moreover, charging speed is also throttled by the iPhone to alleviate temperature issues and to conserve its battery’s health.
If you want a faster charging speed, Apple says you can use a 20W adapter with a USB-C to Lightning cable to charge the battery pack while it’s connected to the iPhone; which will simultaneously charge the iPhone at 15W.
However, when it comes to portability, the charging speed is considerably reduced to a mere 5W.
We have already established that you can connect your battery pack—stuck on the back of your iPhone—to a 20W power adapter using a USB-C to Lightning cable to simultaneously charge your iPhone.
However, surprisingly, you can also use your iPhone to charge your battery pack. According to Apple:
“You can also charge if you attach your MagSafe Battery Pack to your iPhone, then plug your iPhone into a power source. You might want to charge this way if you need to connect your iPhone to another device while charging, like if you’re using wired CarPlay or transferring photos to a Mac.”
However, it’s worth noting that, while simultaneously charging both devices, the battery pack will only begin charging when the iPhone has reached a battery level above 80%.
Back when Apple launched the iPhone 12, it was discovered that the device featured a reverse charging capability. However, it was never put to practical use, that is, until now. The MagSafe Battery Pack is the first accessory from Apple built to take advantage of the phone’s previously untapped reverse charging capability.
That said, this also opens up discussion for a future possibility of being able to charge your pair of AirPods by simply placing its case onto the back of your iPhone alongside other such applications.
Apple says that prior to using the MagSafe Battery Pack for the first time, you will need to fully charge it once using a 20W or a higher power adapter.
Apart from that, Apple has devised other charging management features that aim to prolong the battery life of both the battery pack as well as your iPhone.
For one, the battery pack might stop charging the iPhone once it has reached 90% capacity and it will send a notification on your iPhone in that case. However, you can head over to the Control Center and press and hold the Low Power Mode toggle and when a prompt appears, tap “Continue.”
Moreover, as discussed before, when your iPhone’s battery gets warm while charging through the MagSafe Battery Pack, it will stop charging as soon as it reaches 80%.It will resume charging as soon as the temperature of the battery decreases to a suitable level. Meanwhile, you can also try to move your iPhone to a cooler location to accelerate the process.
Furthermore, according to Apple, the MagSafe Battery Pack also features a smart charge management feature that safeguards its battery life at times when you leave the pack on charge for “prolonged periods of time.”
Lastly, one of the most important aspects of the MagSafe Battery Pack charging experience is its collaboration with the iPhone’s Optimized Battery Charging feature. When it is enabled, you’ll receive a notification suggesting when the battery will be fully charged. You can then interact with the notification to boost the charging process.
There are a number of ways you can determine the remaining charge or the status of the battery inside your MagSafe Battery Pack.
First off, it’s worth noting that similar to other MagSafe products, the MagSafe Battery Pack also invokes a charging indicator on the lock screen when connected to an iPhone.
Aside from that, the battery pack itself has its own visual indicators in the form of status lights.Amber-colored status light indicates that the battery pack is charging, and a brief, green status light indicates that the pack is fully charged.
There are no buttons to invoke the lights on the battery pack. So, the best indication is the batteries widget on your iPhone.
What’s in the box?
The MagSafe Battery Pack is the only item in its box. Apple says that you’ll need to buy the USB-C to Lightning cable as well as the 20W adapter separately.
Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack is compatible with these devices:
Furthermore, your iPhone must at least be updated to iOS 14.7 for the battery pack to work.
It’s unclear if the battery pack would work with other iPhones or Android phones as a regular portable wireless charger, however, it doesn’t seem likely.
Availability, and where to purchase?
The MagSafe Battery Pack is already available to purchase from Apple for $99. At the time of writing, however, Apple Store pickup seems to be currently unavailable in the US.
Alternatives to MagSafe Battery Pack
We talked at the beginning of this guide about how Apple’s new MagSafe Battery Pack isn’t the first one in the game. While it’s the best option you can get, thanks to native compatibility with the iPhone 12 lineup, you might want to look for other options.
This rings especially true if you don’t intend to spend $99 and would rather prefer a cheaper, third-party alternative. That said, here are three magnetic chargers available for you to check out. These are suitable alternatives to Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack and these even have better battery capacities.
Does the MagSafe Battery Pack charge other iPhones wirelessly?
At the time of this writing, it is unclear whether iPhones other than the ones in the iPhone 12 lineup are compatible with the battery pack. We expect to gain more clarity about it as soon as we get our hands over it.
Is the MagSafe Battery Pack compatible with Find My?
Unfortunately, no. Just like other MagSafe products from Apple, the battery pack isn’t compatible with Find My either.
Does Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack work with Apple’s MagSafe Cases?
Yes. The MagSafe Battery Pack works with Apple’s official MagSafe cases. However, Apple says that leather cases might show compression with usage. In that case, the company recommends not using a leather case at all.
Can I use a regular case with the MagSafe Battery Pack?
No. It won’t work with all cases. The cases with MagSafe compatibility are the best options. Aside from that, you can expect a handful of cases without the MagSafe ring to work with the battery pack. The rule of thumb is that the case should be thin enough to facilitate a magnetic connection between the device and the battery pack.
Let us know of any suggestions you have regarding this guide. Feel free to ask questions that pop into your mind about the MagSafe Battery Pack from Apple in the comments section below. We’ll be glad to answer.
Note: This story contains affiliate links that may earn The 8-Bit commissions on successful purchases to help keep the site running.