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Apple MagSafe Charger review: A cool accessory, but does it beat the lightning cable?

Magsafe Charger Iphone
(Image: © Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

Our Verdict

Bottom line: Ensure optimal wireless iPhone charging every time with the Apple MagSafe Charger that snaps into the perfect charging position using embedded magnets.

For

  • Convenient and easy
  • iPhone stays connected to the charger
  • Snaps into the perfect charging position
  • Works with a variety of accessories

Against

  • Charges slower than the lightning cable
  • May fall off while using iPhone

Wireless charging has had its challenges for iPhone users since it was first released with the iPhone 8. Now, MagSafe has made it possible to fix one of the major issues - the problem of lining up the iPhone correctly on the wireless charger to achieve optimum charging. The Apple MagSafe Charger removes the complication by snapping automatically into place using the built-in MagSafe magnets. This makes it easier to ensure the correct placement so that the iPhone 12 can charge at a full 15W.

I've been using the MagSafe Charger for several months now with my iPhone 12 Pro Max, and it certainly does make wireless charging simple and easy. I also use a Mous Charging Stand to keep the iPhone at a convenient upright angle while charging, which is only made possible with MagSafe. I'll go into all of the pros and cons below.

Apple MagSafe Charger: Price and availability

Apple Magsafe Charger

Apple Magsafe Charger (Image credit: Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

This is an Apple product we're talking about, so it's available pretty much everywhere. You name it; the Apple Store, Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Pretty much any location that sells Apple products (both online or in-person) will sell the convenient MagSafe Charger. The Apple Store is great for iPhone users, but you might pay a few dollars more. The Apple MagSafe Charger is always available at the Apple Store for $39, but sometimes it's sold a little cheaper at Amazon and Walmart, so make sure you're price-checking before you buy.

Apple MagSafe Charger: Oh, the possibilities...

Magsafe Compatible Charger Stand

Magsafe Compatible Charger Stand (Image credit: Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

Like most Apple designs, the MagSafe Charger is minimal, simple, and easy to use. I enjoy the convenience of it; just slap it onto the back of any iPhone 12, and it will snap automatically into place. Once the MagSafe magnets are connected, the iPhone will immediately begin to charge. I don't have to worry about whether it's lined up correctly for optimal charging.

One thing I love about the MagSafe system is that it opens up new possibilities for using and mounting the iPhone.

I love the MagSafe system because it opens up new possibilities of how to use and mount the iPhone. Already, several manufacturers have begun designing products that transform the Apple MagSafe Charger into a charging stand or mount. Case in point, I attached my MagSafe Charger to the Mous Charger Stand, and now it functions as a charging stand. Whenever I need to charge it, I snap it onto the MagSafe Charger (now equipped with a handy stand), and it keeps my iPhone suspended at a comfortable viewing angle so I can use it and make FaceTime calls without worrying about accidentally detaching the phone.

Besides the Mous stand, I have also seen other accessories that use the existing Apple MagSafe Charger in charging docks and car mounts. I'm not sure if this is how Apple intended for the product to be used, but it certainly adds convenience. Even if you don't have any of the accessories, you can still use the iPhone with the MagSafe Charger attached to the back. However, you do have to be careful not to detach it, which is a point I will discuss in the next section.

Apple MagSafe Charger: Taking the slow route

Magsafe Charger Adapter

Magsafe Charger Adapter (Image credit: Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

One thing I didn't realize about the MagSafe Charger is that it charges much slower than a lightning connection. I assumed that the magnetic alignment would make it charge super fast, but this is not exactly the case. The MagSafe Charger can only charge the iPhone at 15W, which takes about an hour to charge an iPhone 12 to 50% battery capacity. Considering a lightning-connected 20W adapter can charge an iPhone 12 to 50% in 28 minutes, that's quite a bit slower. This is not a huge deal when I'm working from home, but if I need to charge my iPhone as fast as possible, I still opt for the lightning cable.

Another slight let-down was the magnetic connection. It's not as strong as I expected. Don't get me wrong, the magnets are quite strong enough to use the MagSafe Charger as a reliable magnetic mount, but I have to be careful when using the iPhone as it charges on the MagSafe Charger. If I pick up the phone and move it the wrong way, the charger falls off a bit easier than expected. The good thing is, since I use the charger in conjunction with a stand, this problem doesn't really affect me.

Apple MagSafe Charger: Competition

Belkin Wia005 Bk Magnetic Wireless Charger Pad Portable Perfect For Travel V01 R01 1680x800 Us

Belkin Wia005 Bk Magnetic Wireless Charger Pad Portable Perfect For Travel V01 R01 1680x800 Us (Image credit: Belkin)

Although Apple was the first to produce a MagSafe Charger, other brands were quick to follow with third-party versions. A similar high-quality product is the Belkin Magnetic Portable Wireless Charger Pad. This one is of a similar size and shape, although it comes in black and packs a much longer power cord. The main difference here is charging power; the Belkin charges at 7.5W while the Apple charger provides 15W. The Belkin is also $10 cheaper, so it's a give and takes. The Apple charger will charge faster, but it's also more expensive, so it's up to you to decide which is the better choice.

Apple MagSafe Charger: Should you buy it?

Magsafe Charge Iphone12 Pro

Magsafe Charge Iphone12 Pro (Image credit: Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

You should buy this if ...

  • You have a 12-series iPhone.
  • You prefer wireless charging but worry about proper alignment.
  • You'd like to use the MagSafe Charger with iPhone mounting accessories.

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You need the fastest charger available.
  • You use your iPhone a lot while it's charging.

Even though it's not the fastest charger around, the MagSafe Charger from Apple is no slouch; it will charge your iPhone way faster than previous wireless chargers. This accessory also adds convenience since it snaps right into place automatically. I like that it can be used with other accessories to create iPhone mounts; this makes the iPhone much easier to use while it charges, and it helps prevent the charger from falling off while you use the phone. Overall it adds convenience and versatility that you won't find in previous charging methods.

Jaclyn Kilani
Contributor

Jaclyn Kilani is a content writer at iMore. She's a longtime Apple addict with a flair for creating (written works, design, photos; you name it!) on her devices. Jaclyn has also worked in the marketing sector for over 16 years, dabbling in a bit of everything from writing to graphic design and digital marketing. In her heart of hearts, however, she is a born writer and an avid reader who adores everything about the written word. Someday she may even churn out a book or two.

Throughout her career, Jaclyn has also developed something of an addiction to all things Apple. Her professional and personal life is enhanced by an ever-growing collection of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watches, and even AirTags. Luckily, this expensive habit is of great use to her work at iMore, where she writes with authority on Apple products and the accessories that go with them.