How MagSafe Battery Pack for iPhone 12 works
The MagSafe Battery Pack is a rectangular battery pack (or power bank) that attaches magnetically to the back of the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max. It costs $99. It works like any other MagSafe accessory, and as a first-party battery pack, it has an integrated experience that no other product has. It’s the only battery pack or accessory to support reverse wireless charging—meaning that you can charge the battery pack while charging the iPhone (the battery pack will only start charging after your iPhone is charged up to 80%). The battery pack itself charges using a Lightning cable.
Why it is such a disappointment
If you only look at the MagSafe experience, it sounds pretty good, but the problem lies in the details that Apple cannot easily provide on the product page. Speaking of capacity: The MagSafe battery pack has a 1460mAh, 11.13Wh battery inside, which is very small. In contrast, the battery capacity of the iPhone 12 itself is 10.78 Wh. Also, keep in mind that Qi wireless charging is inefficient because a considerable amount of capacity is lost during the charging process alone. Not to mention the fact that the battery only charges the iPhone at 5W, which is quite slow.
This all turns into a MagSafe battery pack that is difficult to fully charge your iPhone. Even if it is charged to 90%, it will take a long time.
Apple does this because it uses 11 Wh batteries (this is twice the capacity of third-party battery packs). This makes the actual capacity 2920 mAh, but considering the power loss during wireless charging, this is still not enough to fully charge the iPhone 12.
Of course, there is a way to quickly charge the iPhone with the MagSafe battery pack, but this is using a 20W adapter through the Lightning port (basically using the battery pack as a wireless charger). Oh, there are no adapters or cables in your box.
The MagSafe battery pack also has some of the same usability issues as the MagSafe wallet. Although the magnet is strong when installed (you can’t just shake it), a slight push with your thumb is enough to remove the magnet, which is not good news for accessories that need to be imported and exported throughout the day. In the end, although the marketing image of the MagSafe battery pack shows a very elegant product, the actual situation is different.
Cheaper alternatives to the MagSafe Battery Pack
In fact, depending on your model, the MagSafe battery pack can only charge up to 7090% of your iPhone and cannot be charged quickly. If you don’t mind using third-party alternatives, you can get better performance (like a full charge), but at a cheaper price (sometimes less than half the price).
These battery packs are only compatible with MagSafe (essentially Qi wireless chargers with magnets), so you will not get additional features like increased energy efficiency from MagSafe charging, but rather because the MagSafe battery pack itself is limited to 5W charging, you’re not losing too much.
Here are some alternatives to consider:
- WAITIEE Magnetic Power Bank($39.99): This is one of the most popular and reliable magnetic battery packs. It is equipped with a 5000 mAh battery and supports 7.5 W wireless charging (12 W wired charging through the USBC port).
- Mophie snap+ juice pack mini ($49.99): There is a similar story here, the nominal capacity is also 5000mAh, which can fully charge iPhone 12. There is a USBC port to charge the battery.
- Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K ($45.99): Anker’s PowerCore Magnetic 5K is another popular battery pack. It’s similar to the Mophie packaging, with a 5000 mAh battery inside. It can fully charge the iPhone 12 mini and almost fully charge the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro (95% to 97%). It will only charge the iPhone 12 Pro Max to 75%.
Why you still might want a MagSafe Battery Pack
With all of this in mind, you may still want one. After all, it is the only true MagSafe battery pack on the market. It is tightly integrated with iOS, has battery health management features, and is easy to use. All you have to do is capture it on your iPhone and you can forget about it. If it’s worth the $ 99 asking price, then the rest of the wicked details don’t have to stop you.