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MagSafe reportedly charges old iPhones at ridiculously slow speeds

Magsafe Charger Hero
Magsafe Charger Hero (Image credit: Joe Wituschek / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are now on sale alongside its MagSafe Charger.
  • One test suggests that the MagSafe Charger isn't great when charging older devices.
  • An iPhone SE charges at just 1.83W.

Apple launched its new iPhones today but the new MagSafe Charger is the must-have accessory for new buyers. The charger has actually been around for a week or so now and that means some people have been able to put it through its paces. And it isn't all good news with one YouTube test showing that a MagSafe Charger isn't so great at charging older devices.

While MagSafe will charge anything so long as it's Qi-compatible, the speeds vary wildly. The new iPhones charge at 15W, sure. But other iPhones? Not so much.

When you put a Qi-compatible iPhone onto a normal wireless charger it should max out at around 7.5W. But when YouTube channel Max Tech put an iPhone SE onto a MagSafe Charger he got less than 2W. That's horrifically slow.

In this video I test out Apple's new Magsafe charger with iPhone SE, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS and show how many watts and how fast it can charge those iPhones that accept 7.5W when wireless charging. This charging speed will be the same for iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 11, and other Apple devices like Airpods and Airpods pro with wireless charging case.

Apple doesn't say how quickly other devices will charge when placed onto a MagSafe Charger – it just says that it will work.

The MagSafe Charger maintains compatibility with Qi charging, so it can be used to wirelessly charge your iPhone 8 or later, as well as AirPods models with a wireless charging case, as you would with any Qi-certified charger.

But 1.83W? Surely something isn't right there.

Be sure to check out the full video, embedded above, to see how poorly some other devices performed when placed on Apple's new magnetic wireless charger.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.