If you’ve bought a new iPhone 12, you know all about the new design, display, camera, and iOS 14 enhancements, but there’s one new feature you might not have tried yet: MagSafe. Apple’s new magnetic accessory system allows for a whole new ecosystem of accessories: stands, chargers, cases, wallets, mounts, and maybe even other creative uses for the technology.
MagSafe is a precise ring of magnets, a Qi wireless charging coil capable of up to 15W, and an NFC antenna, all meant to allow you to magnetically attach accessories to the back of your iPhone. Here are some of the MagSafe accessories you might be interested in, divided this list into two sections: Made for MagSafe and MagSafe Compatible. They are not the same thing!
Made for MagSafe
MagSafe accessories that are officially certified by Apple are generally of higher quality, but they also use the NFC coil to communicate with your iPhone. Only devices with the Made for MagSafe certification badge can charge your iPhone at 15W—other chargers (typically listed as “MagSafe Compatible”) are still limited to 7.5W.
Apple’s MagSafe charging puck gets the job done, but only just. It only comes in one style: white and silver, with a 1 meter (about 3 foot) USB-C cable. That is way too short and you’ll need a separate USB-C power adapter to go with it, but it works as advertised: Plug it into a 20W Apple charger and you’ll get the maximum MagSafe charging speeds (15W on the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max, and 12W on the iPhone 12 mini). The charger is too small and light to stay on the desk when you pick up your iPhone, making it a poor wireless charging pad. The cable is far too short to comfortably charge and use your iPhone at the same time.
If you want to show off your iPhone 12’s natural color and still keep it in an Apple case, this is your only option. It’s a fine case in that it’s sturdy and should protect your phone from bumps and bruises, but it’s very hard to remove your phone, very easy to smudge, and has a giant MagSafe target on the back surrounding the Apple logo. The buttons are a little stiff, particularly the power button. Overall, it doesn’t add all that much bulk or weight to the iPhone 12. However, even with the MagSafe component, it’s still a very simple case with a pretty high price tag.
If you want a thin case that offers a bit of protection and a slew of color options, the Silicone Case with MagSafe is your best bet. It comes in eight varieties and is thin enough to easily slip on and off with nice cutouts for the speakers and Lightning port on the bottom edge. There are no visible MagSafe markings and the charger and other accessories easily connect to the back. The buttons aren’t as stiff as the clear case, too. It’s not the cheapest silicone case you can buy, but if you want an Apple case that’s sure to work with MagSafe and keeps your iPhone free from scratches, this is the case to get.
If you’ve owned an Apple leather iPhone case in the past, you know that they’re very well made and come in a variety of colors. It feels very luxurious to hold and the Baltic Blue model looks great with an embossed Apple logo in the center. The metal buttons are a nice touch and feel great to press, while the bottom has clean cutouts for the speakers and Lightning port. It’s a little pricey, but Apple’s leather MagSafe case is definitely the best of the bunch.
We recommend a lot of Apple devices here at Macworld, but not this one. As you’ll read in our full review, the MagSafe Duo charger is cheaply made, poorly conceived, and very expensive. It’s made for travel but doesn’t seem like it would be able to stand up to much abuse on the road, and the all-white exterior will pick up dirt and scuffs almost immediately. It charges slower than the regular MagSafe charger even with a 30W charger (which isn’t included) and just doesn’t have the Apple magic that we’re used to.
The MagSafe Battery Pack connects to the iPhone 12 via MagSafe and it automatically charges the phone once it is attached. With just the pack attached to the iPhone, it charges at a rate of 5W. When the pack is connected to the power adapter and an iPhone at the same time, the rate goes up to 15W. Apple lists the capacity of the MagSafe Battery Pack at 1460mAh, and it does not include the items you need to charge the battery pack itself: a USB-C to Lightning Cable and a power adapter. (Apple’s 20W power adapter and a 1-meter USB-C to Lightning cable are $19 each.) (Not yet reviewed.)
While Apple does have a Made for Magsafe certification program, it can’t do anything to stop accessory makers from throwing a ring of magnets on their mounts and Qi wireless chargers. These devices are usually listed as “MagSafe Compatible” and do not have the Made for MagSafe badge on the packaging. The chief limitation of these devices is that they cannot charge your iPhone at 15W, and are limited to 7.5W like all other non-MagSafe wireless chargers.
There’s nothing wrong with buying a device that says it is “MagSafe Compatible” or “designed with MagSafe” but doesn’t have the certification, especially if it’s not a charger. You should just know what you’re buying.
The Belkin Car Mount Pro has one job: To hold your iPhone 12 securely while you drive. And it does that incredibly well. After years of using clunky and flimsy vent holders, the Belkin Car Vent Mount Pro is an absolute breath of fresh air. Like its name suggests, the Car Vent Pro attaches to your car’s vent via a rubberized grip that is easy to slide into place and doesn’t budge. The large mounting area is adorned with the MagSafe logo so you know where to put your phone, and the magnet is strong enough to hold it extremely well. It doesn’t supply power, which is a bit of a bummer for a $40 device, but you can neatly organize a cable through the groove on the clip.
Aukey advertises this as a 15W charger, but don’t be fooled! It only supports 15W charging with specific Samsung and LG Android phones. With all iPhones it is limited to 7.5W charging, as it is not Made for MagSafe certified. It is otherwise similar to Apple’s own MagSafe charger, only it comes in both white and black and the cable is about 6 inches longer. It’s a lot less expensive than Apple’s but without 15W charging on iPhone 12 it’s not that much of a bargain.
This diminutive battery pack—a little smaller than a deck of cards—holds 5,000mAh of power. But it doesn’t fully deliver that total amount. Rather, you’ll get enough to fully charge an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro about once. The magnetic attachment is quite secure, so it’s not likely to fall off while you’re using your phone. The charging rate, unfortunately, is only 5W so it will take hours to fully recharge your iPhone 12. The USB-C port is a bit faster (10W), but for the price, you’re probably better off just getting a faster, higher-capacity compact portable battery that has no wireless charging. The slower speed takes a lot away from the wireless convenience.
There are several other accessories available from Apple as well, including a Leather Wallet for $59, and a Leather Sleeve with a hangtag for $129, as well as other third-party options from OtterBox and Belkin. We’ll be updating this roundup with those reviews as they arrive.
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