MagSafe on the iPhone 12/mini/Pro/Max

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MagSafe, if it is not already painfully obvious, is not a new technology. It is based on Apple’s implementation/fork of the Qi wireless standard, and as such, has all of the cons that come along with Qi.

Is there a reason for you to specifically seek out MagSafe charging as opposed to just using a standard Qi charger?

Heat

One big issue with Qi charging has always been heat, the faster the charging the greater the heat produced during the charging process, the faster your phone battery’s lifespan will deplete. Android manufacturers have no qualms about implementing the fastest charging standards, both wired and wireless, for generally they expect you to hold on to an Android phone for 3 years at the most, for Android updates are only generally available for phones up to three years (most phones only support two years’ worth of updates). If your phone battery dies during those two to three years, all the better for them, as you will be forced to buy another phone.

Apple’s Qi implementation

Apple has always implemented Qi at a limited capacity compared to what the spec is capable of, at first 5W, then 7.5W when used with Apple spec-ed Qi chargers. Last year’s 11 Pro implemented 10W charging, but that was a one-off, as you cannot get 10W standard Qi charging from this year’s 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max.

MagSafe = Qi?

With MagSafe, Apple has chosen to implement Qi charging in a specific and strict way to mitigate the cons of Qi charging. The coils are smaller than what you will find on most Qi chargers (probably to limit heat creation), and the magnets in the MagSafe system are intended to keep the coils as close as possible to the perfect charging spot to optimise charging efficiency. Apple claims that the smarts in the MagSafe charging puck paired with the PD3.0 9V 2.22A charging profile will be able to quickly adapt to temperature changes and quickly adjust the power output to the phone efficiently to manage heat.

MagSafe charging warms the iPhone 12 mini

From my own testing over the weekend, there is no doubt that the iPhone 12 mini is warm when charging over MagSafe compared to charging over my trusty Apple 12W charger (stone cold). However, it does seem to produce even more heat when charging with my 7.5W Qi charger.

Is MagSafe bad?

So is MagSafe bad for your iPhone 12? It is likely a better solution than standard Qi charging, and likely eats away at the lifespan of your iPhone battery at the same rate as if you are using a USB-C fast charger to fast charge your iPhone all the time.

The Ecosystem

MagSafe, however, is more than the charging puck and the magnets in the iPhone 12 body. Apple intends for it to be an ecosystem of accessories that can attach themselves to your iPhone to provide additional functions, even if you have an (Apple branded) iPhone case on. Right now all Apple is producing are their iPhone 12 case lineup and the MagSafe wallet. Belkin has a car mount available, but there are no reviews of that accessory yet.

Conclusion

Should you go MagSafe?

Sure, why not? If you are already buying an iPhone 12/mini/Pro/Max it makes no sense not to try out the new feature for $59. I do hope better accessories are in the pipeline.


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