Almost a full year in since MagSafe for iPhones came around, it’s been a gamechanger for charging and interacting with your most essential device.
But we’ve also found that for many consumers, it’s been more of an all-or-nothing feature. You’ve either adopted it and use only MagSafe for charging, or you haven’t quite made the plunge yet and are still opting for cabled or wireless power.
Just a few weeks away from the highly anticipated new iPhone launch, all signs are pointing to MagSafe sticking around. Is it the future of charging? Or will cables win out as people’s charging method of choice?
Whichever camp you’re in, here’s a refresher to get you excited for what’s coming.
What is MagSafe?
It’s all about magnets. If you’ve been a MacBook user for a while, you’ll remember the satisfying snap of your charger easily locking in place, even in the dark. You’ll also remember the lifesaving relief of the cable gently detaching from your MacBook every time you inevitably trip over it, keeping your laptop safe on your table.
MagSafe for iPhones also uses magnets, but in a more integrated way. It’s meant to add on to the Apple devices’ wireless charging capability with a ring of magnets around its charging coil built directly onto the back of your phone.
Like the old MagSafe for MacBooks, its main draw is the effortless snap on and off functionality. The biggest difference between this magnetic ease for iPhones and MacBooks? For iPhones, it’s not just about easier charging.
The most exciting thing about this technology for us is how much more seamless it actually makes our day-to-day.
How is it different from regular wireless charging?
Right off the bat: most MagSafe-compatible wireless chargers on the market are still slower than Qi wireless chargers due to a lack of solutions utilizing the official MFi magnetic charging module.
While Apple’s proprietary MagSafe part allows chargers to reach 15W capacity, all third party modules are only able to reach 7.5W, falling short of reaching the fast-charging standard. We’ve found that this doesn’t necessarily mean slower charging speeds, though…more on that later.
But MagSafe’s not just about speed – it’s about convenience.
The #1 challenge we’ve faced with wireless charging is the ‘sweet spot’. Because most Qi wireless solutions are built with only one or two charging coils, you have to make sure that your device is placed exactly over the coil. It’s not a dealbreaker, but we have to admit that it’s not always the easiest to align or tell whether your device is actually being charged.
MagSafe solves this problem entirely with its magnetic connection. When you think about it, it’s such a simple, yet ingenious, solution to a universal pain point.
Both the MagSafe iPhone and charger contain built-in magnets, which means they automatically snap into place with perfect alignment for every single charge – no need to reposition your iPhone repeatedly or face the nuisance of finding your device with no power after ‘charging’ overnight.
With solutions that position your phone horizontally, MagSafe chargers offer the convenience of wireless charging with the added benefit of being able to mount and use your phone freely even while powering up.
Vertical MagSafe charger stands provide a completely handsfree experience. Easily take a video call at the perfect angle, while still being able to take notes on your laptop. Glance over notifications at eye-level without having to lift a finger. It’s the perfect desk accessory.
Wireless charging stands like our Dock Wireless Charger are designed with similar functionality, but MagSafe’s magnetic connection makes it incredibly more intuitive and effortless.
Does MagSafe work with cases?
You would’ve noticed by now that ‘MagSafe compatible’ iPhone cases is the new standard. Similar to other MagSafe chargers and accessories, these cases have a ring of magnets on the case itself. This gives a stronger magnetic connection to your phone and whatever MagSafe accessory you’re trying to use.
If the phone case isn’t built with magnets, magnetic alignment will ultimately depend on its thickness. Similar to Qi wireless charging, the thinner the case, the stronger and more effective the connection.
Usually, even with a non-magnetic case, charging will still work if you use a MagSafe solution that keeps your device horizontal, like our Snap Magnetic Wireless Charger. The only thing to note is that It might not have the same magnetic grip as when using with a magnetic case or without one as well.
What else? Power packs, camera mounts, portless iPhones, & more
This perfect alignment opens the door for so many opportunities to expand MagSafe beyond just wireless charging. Camera mounts, wallets, power packs...
We’re still exploring and working on different options ourselves, but it’s been exciting to see how other makers are innovating and hear directly from consumers on ways to make this technology work smarter for your everyday with tech.
Something more fun to think about: every year, there are rumors of Apple removing the charging ports on iPhones completely. But it hasn’t really felt like a feasible option because of the sheer charging speed difference between wireless chargers and lightning cables.
Apple brought this one step closer to reality with the iPhone 12, doubling wireless capacity to 15W with MagSafe. We’ll have to see if there’s any change to this once the 2021 iPhone launches, but whether you’re looking forward to portless iPhones or still dreading them, it’s true that MagSafe is the key feature we’ve seen so far to make this a reality.
What's the Native Union advantage?
With every innovation in the consumer tech space, we get to work crafting solutions that can enhance how you interact with that new technology. The MagSafe accessories we have so far are all designed to make the ease of magnetic alignment blend even more seamlessly into our day-to-day.
Our take on the most basic MagSafe charger focuses on what’s missing from other options in the market. Snap Magnetic Wireless Charger’s 10ft / 3m length helps you take full advantage of MagSafe’s convenience with unrestricted use from anywhere in your room.
Our stand solutions let you view your iPhone in any orientation and multiple angles, so you can adjust based on what you’re doing. Quickly reply texts in portrait mode, then twist to landscape to get back to streaming. Built to last with solid metal and durable materials, they’re both designed around a weighted solid metal base.
Besides adding a premium finish to the product, the base also solves a common inconvenience of other MagSafe charger stands by letting you pick up your phone without any slipping or lifting. Housed in our signature minimalistic forms with considered details, our Rise Dock and Snap 2-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger elevate any desk setup.
We’re not currently using Apple’s proprietary module, which means our MagSafe compatible charging products cap out at 7.5W for the iPhone 12 range. So it made us even more pleased to find through testing that our solution actually exceeded charging speed expectations.
The 15W capacity was faster when charging the iPhone 12 Pro from 0 to 30%, but our 7.5W charger was faster from 50 to 100%. The final result? A 20 minute faster charge, even with lower capacity.
We’ve still yet to test extensively to compare MagSafe with traditional wireless and lightning cables, but if the 7.5W charging speed was your main concern – you can rest assured.
What's next for MagSafe?
There’s still a lot of room left to explore. It’s certainly the most exciting update since Qi wireless power but with a whole different range of possible applications.
We’re looking forward to sharing our other accessories to integrate magnetic power into your life with tech. Until then, why not try out a MagSafe charger first and see for yourself?