Today, Apple officially revived the MagSafe brand that was initially quite popularly associated with MacBooks. The premise of the MagSafe brand is its snappy connectivity. The original MagSafe charger that shipped with Macs was a simple charging solution that used magnets to connect to the corresponding charging port on the device. It was convenient to plug and disconnect—all with a snap. Moreover, if you ever happened to trip over the wire, it would simply disconnect without bringing the MacBook down along.
MagSafe on the new iPhones works a bit differently. Instead of having to plug into a port on your iPhone, the new MagSafe simply pops and sticks on the back of your iPhone using magnets to charge it wirelessly. That nomenclature is now associated with a system instead of a single product.
First off, there is a circular array of magnets sitting above a disc of wireless charging coil that forms the iPhone part of the MagSafe system—also known as the receiving end. Then, there are the various accessories that take advantage of that system. There’s the MagSafe Duo mat, the MagSafe Charger—which is basically an enlarged version of the Apple Watch charging puck, the MagSafe-compatible Silicone cases, and the MagSafe-compatible iPhone Leather Wallet.
However, as you might have already guessed, the biggest highlight of MagSafe is how it transforms wireless charging. First off, it’s faster than traditional Qi wireless charging, which offers an output of 7.5W (MagSafe offers 15W). Second, it has solved the logistics of establishing your phone’s connection to a wireless charger.
Let me explain. All wireless chargers in the market right now include coils in them. Unless you properly align the coil in your smartphone with the wireless charging pad, it won’t connect. Some manufacturers have tried to solve this problem; while some came out with unique solutions, some couldn’t. This isn’t any more a problem with MagSafe-enabled chargers. Since they use magnets to clasp to the back of your iPhone, you can rest assured that you won’t have to scramble to align your phone.
This is especially useful in cars. When wireless charging became a reality, car manufacturers started including wireless charging pads in their cars. It seemed like a good idea at first but later turned out to be a nightmare. Let’s just say you had to struggle to keep your phone properly aligned to the wireless charging pad while it kept sliding around due to the car’s constant motion.
While some car manufacturers fixed that problem by offering predefined compartments, not all phones fit them (obviously). MagSafe can change that. Car manufacturers can now include a separate proprietary MagSafe charger just for iPhone users that’ll allow them to charge their iPhone wirelessly while in the car without worrying about ever disconnecting by accident.
MagSafe could also get ubiquitous at Cafe’s, airports, etc. This may count as a step forward in the direction of a future where Apple seemingly intends to go completely wireless. It’s not to say there won’t be a whole new category of Apple accessories that will take advantage of MagSafe. For instance, PopSockets has already announced that it’s working on releasing MagSafe-compatible pop sockets. However, I would probably steer clear of those as I don’t want to entrust my new iPhone’s integrity on a bunch of magnets.
If you own or have previously owned an Apple Watch, you know how easy and satisfying it is to plop it down for charging on its charging puck. Well, that same amount of satisfaction, you will probably able to feel with the iPhone 12.
The whole range of MagSafe accessories, moreover, is only be compatible with the iPhone 12 lineup. This is because older iPhones do not have the hardware (magnets) required to interact with MagSafe products.
You will be able to order MagSafe accessories starting October 16 alongside the new iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro. However, the MagSafe Duo and the leather sleeve that Apple showcased at its event won’t be available until a later date—cue AirPower Mat flashback.