When the iPhone 12 officially launched in October 2020, the world was more than six months into the global COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time, the technology was unprecedented -- and much anticipated. This Apple model featured a slew of new features, including the AirTag chip, A14 Bionic processor, Super Retina XDR display, and an enhanced Ceramic Shield front cover.
Yet, one of the most impressive and intriguing additions was MagSafe, a tool designed to change the process of charging as we know it.
What is MagSafe and how does it work? Today, we're breaking down this tech and sharing all of the details you need to know.
Revolutionizing the Charger Landscape
According to one survey, more than 30% of smartphone users leave their phones charging overnight. If you don't start the day with a full battery, you might find that you need to re-juice at some point.
However, if you've ever fumbled around in the nightstand or junk drawer looking for a wired charger, you know that this process isn't always as simple or straightforward as it seems.
MagSafe set out to change that.
This is a new magnetic technology from Apple, released with the iPhone 12. Built into the internal engineering of the phone itself, it allows users to easily facilitate wireless charging.
When the technology was first prototyped, developers created it as a safety feature for laptop charging cords. Years ago, Apple added a rudimentary version of MagSafe to the 2006 MacBook Pro. When users went to charge their MacBooks, the charger would attach quickly and smoothly to a port on the side of the laptop.
This motion used a magnetic connector, considered safer than a standard connector because it would easily disconnect when pulled, rather than remain inside the device, and withstand damage.
While this design was met with moderate acclaim, it quickly became apparent that MagSafe had a more widespread potential. Since its debut, Apple has built MagSafe into each of its subsequent iPhone models to provide precise, high-speed charging.
What Is MagSafe? How Does It Work?
Put simply, MagSafe is a series of magnets. These magnets are placed around the iPhone's interior charging coil.
Any time you hold a wireless MagSafe charger to the back of your phone, it will snap easily into place. There are also other MagSafe accessories that connect in the same way.
Once connected, MagSafe connects to the phone's internal components, including:
- • Shields
- • Sensors
- • Magnets
Together, these parts initiate the MagSafe charging process. MagSafe also uses the same route to send the phone important information and updates about connected accessories.
Is It Better?
Why should you invest in MagSafe when you can just hook up your iPhone to a wired charger?
In short, it's faster and more efficient.
MagSafe charges your phone via copper-graphite and nanocrystalline shields. These jumpstart the charging process and complete it in record time. They also make it safer and more secure.
This type of charging is called Qi charging, or Chi charging. Pronounced "chee", this is the go-to standard for wireless charging and the only one that most phone manufacturers will adopt. Apple began integrating Qi capabilities into its phones, starting with the iPhone 8.
When a compatible device is placed on a Qi charging station, the internal coils temporarily turn into a basic transformer. As the charging station initiates, it generates an electromagnetic field. This creates an electrical current in the coil.
Once established, that current flows into the device's battery, charging it like a cable, or wired, charger.
Let's take a look at a few reasons why this process is more efficient.
When charging with MagSafe, the main difference is the strength of the connection. While your phone can easily wiggle loose from a cable charger (for instance, if it vibrates on a table), you don't have to worry about that now.
Once MagSafe locks into place, it's set.
The magnetic design lines your phone up perfectly with the coils inside. This expedites power transfer and makes charging more efficient.
To ensure a strong connection, Apple didn't just add magnets inside the phone's internal charging coil. It also included them in the supplemental Apple MagSafe Battery Pack, which users can purchase separately to make sure the charger always locks into place.
While there are other Qi chargers that will work with your smartphone, MagSafe is considered the fastest. In fact, when locked into an iPhone 12, it can deliver charges up to 15W. Conversely, other wireless charges only deliver up to 7.5W.
Before MagSafe, you put your phone at risk every time you needed to charge it super quickly. If you were to bring your charge speeds up to 15W, you'd damage the electrical components or overwhelm the battery.
Now, you can charge lightning-quick without harming your smartphone in any way.
If you've ever attached your phone to another type of wireless Qi charger, you know that you can't use your device while it's still attached to the charging deck.
A MagSafe charger securely attaches to your phone, so you can take it with you and use your device, even while it's juicing up.
Which Accessories Are Compatible?
In addition to your iPhone, you can also connect and charge other third-party and Apple accessories with MagSafe.
Using these allows you to take full advantage of every feature your iPhone has to offer. Some of the most popular iPhone accessories that also interface with MagSafe include:
- • AirPods Pro
- • AirPods wireless charging case
- • Folding stands
- • Car vent and fitness mounts
- • Travel chargers
- • Fitness phone mounts
- • Power banks
- • Mirrors
- • Face motion trackers
- • iPhone mounts
- • Wallets
- • Tripods
• Portable stands and powerstations
- • Other iPhones
The specific manufacturers for these items are listed on the Apple website. Once you find the right ones for your lifestyle, you can rest assured that you'll always be able to charge the devices that power your day.
One advantage of attaching these accessories via MagSafe is that you don't have to contend with messy tapes or sticky pads. You can also toss out those cumbersome clips.
The only caveat? While you can connect the above devices to your iPhone and charge them via MagSafe, you'll only get the 7.5W charging speed. The 15W speed is reserved for iPhone 12 models and above.
Made for MagSafe vs. MagSafe-Compatible
When you're buying accessories for your iPhone 12 or a later model, pay close attention to how the MagSafe label is worded.
If you see ones that say "Made for MagSafe" or "With MagSafe" then you know that they contain the official MagSafe technology within them. It will be easy to distinguish these products, as they'll feature the trademark "Made for MagSafe" badge.
This badge signifies that the product was professionally developed and rigorously tested to meet guidelines set forth by the Apple MFi licensing program. MFi guidelines apply to iPhone 12 and later models.
A wireless charger with this badge is optimized for the iPhone 12 and can charge quickly at up to 15W.
On the other hand, you may also see a magnetic accessory that's marked as "MagSafe compatible".
This product will also meet industry standards and will work similarly to a MagSafe charger. However, it will not contain the official MagSafe technology inside. The main drawback is that MagSafe-compatible Qi chargers will only charge at 7.5W or 10W, depending on the device.
If the price point is a top factor and you're willing to sacrifice a little speed, "MagSafe Compatible" accessories can be a more affordable solution.
If you own an iPhone 12 or later, you can just attach your accessories to the back of your phone to charge.
Otherwise, you can purchase a special, MagSafe-compatible phone case. These will show a distinct MagSafe label on the packaging. Double-check the inside of the case and make sure it shows a round circle, which also indicates MagSafe compatibility.
At i-Blason, we offer a wide variety of MagSafe cases. This includes the minimalistic MagSafe-compatible Halo case and the full-body, 20 ft. fall-resistant MagSafe-compatible Ares case, among many others.
Worried about MagSafe interacting with all magnets located near it? Don't be.
The technology will only connect to other MagSafe accessories, so you don't have to be concerned about anything sticking to your phone! Your iPhone will also use an integrated NFC antenna to identify the exact device being used.
However, we do recommend keeping the tech away from your credit cards or debit cards. If you use a folio or wallet-style phone case, think about storing your cards elsewhere. The magnet in MagSafe could damage the magnetic strip or RFID chip in your card, or remove it altogether.
Find a MagSafe Case Today
What is MagSafe? It's a revolutionary technology that can make your charging experience easier, quicker, and more convenient. Since its initial debut 17 years ago, it's only gotten smarter and more powerful.
Ready to leverage this solution? A key first step is investing in the right case!