Apple MagSafe external battery: getting started with the new accessory for the iPhone 12

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It is not a simple smartphone case like in previous years. Here is all you need to know.

Our colleagues at CNET.com tried Apple’s MagSafe external battery for a week. Here’s what they thought.

Apple last week released the MagSafe external battery pack in the iPhone 12 line . When the smartphone was launched last October, the MagSafe feature was one of the most unexpected new features. Apple has taken Qi wireless charging, which is used by current iPhone models and most Android smartphones, and added magnets. MagSafe ensures that the iPhone 12 is perfectly positioned to charge as efficiently as possible. It also paved the way for a number of new accessories like card holders, cases, mounts and chargers.

The MagSafe battery costs 109 euros. It’s twice as expensive as other magnetic batteries offered by third-party brands like Anker and Mophie. But Apple adds an interesting element of iOS integration, like the ability to control the MagSafe battery charge level from the iOS battery widget. Our biggest criticism of this product is that Apple did not release it when the iPhone 12 was launched because this accessory could have convinced potential buyers of the iPhone 12 mini who were wondering about its autonomy.

How does the MagSafe power bank charge an iPhone?

It starts charging as soon as you stick it to the back of an iPhone. It charges the phone at 5 watts, which is equivalent to using an old Apple USB-A type charger. But when it is connected to the mains, the MagSafe battery then switches to 15 watts. You have to invest in an optional AC adapter.

Which iPhone models are compatible with the MagSafe Power Bank?

To benefit from all the features, you must have an iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro Or 12 Pro Max. If you have an iPhone with wireless charging system, you can use the MagSafe Power Bank as a Qi wireless charging pad. But you just can’t stick it on the back of the smartphone.

The following iPhone models support wireless charging:

  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iphone xs
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus

Is there a MagSafe battery case?

No. But the MagSafe battery is actually more versatile, as it can be used as a portable wireless battery or as a MagSafe charging cradle. It can also be used to charge other Qi wireless phones and accessories.

For example, you can charge AirPods or AirPods Pro case, some iPhones (see list above), and Qi-enabled Android smartphones.

The battery pack offers great integration with iOS , with the battery percentage showing in the iOS battery widget. IPhone automatically stops charging when the device reaches 90%, helping to extend battery life.

Can the MagSafe external battery be charged with an iPhone 12?

Yes. When an iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max is plugged into AC power with the MagSafe battery attached to the back, it will charge both the phone and the external battery.

How much charge does a MagSafe battery bring to the iPhone?

We tested with several iPhone 12 models by attaching a fully charged MagSafe power bank to them. Here’s what we got:

  • iPhone 12 mini at 80%.
  • iPhone 12 and 12 Pro at 60
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 50%.

Is it true that you cannot charge an iPhone beyond 90%?

Yes and no. To protect the longevity of the phone’s battery, the MagSafe battery cuts off the charge when it reaches 90%. You can easily bypass this restriction by putting your iPhone in low power mode and long pressing the low power icon in the control panel.

What colors are available for the MagSafe external battery?

It is only available in white. Coordinating colors to those proposed for the iPhone would be a great thing.

How much does the MagSafe power bank weigh?

115 grams, which is a tad heavy. It goes well on the iPhone 12 Mini and 12. On the other hand, the weight is felt on the iPhone 12 Pro and even more on the iPhone 12 Pro Max which arrives at 342 grams with the MagSafe battery.

What is the capacity of the MagSafe battery pack?

The MagSafe battery pack has a capacity of 1460 mAh.