Apple’s USB-C shift could bring back the MagSafe Duo & Battery Pack (2023)

Mark Gurman writes in the subscriber edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg from this morning that he expects Apple to finish its transition to USB-C by 2025. Gurman says that, in addition to other products, he expects the company will release USB-C versions of the now-discontinued MagSafe Battery Pack and the MagSafe Duo “eventually. But don’t hold your breath.”

Apple’s USB-C shift could bring back the MagSafe Duo and Battery Pack

By comparison, Apple took either a little over a month or about two years to totally move over to Lightning, depending on how you look at it.

The company retired the 30-pin port from its most important products when it launched the fourth-gen iPad a little over a month after the iPhone 5’s September 2012 debut. But it also kept the iPod Classic in its stable until 2014, when it finally discontinued the famous MP3 player’s older form factor.

Gurman also writes that a new iMac, which could launch next month, will bring USB-C “Magic” accessories like a mouse and keyboard. Then he expects the company will release new non-Pro and Max AirPods with USB-C. That leaves few first-party products Apple sells that still use Lightning, like the first-generation Apple Pencil and the iPhone SE.

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MagSafe is one of the most popular Apple features, popping up on a multitude of products since its inception. With the release of the iPhone 15 looming on the horizon, we wanted to take a closer look at MagSafe technology to understand what exactly it does, and why it’s become so commonplace.

Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about MagSafe, including what it is, how fast it is and which devices it’s compatible with.

What is MagSafe?

Apple MagSafe first appeared in 2006 on the MacBook Pro as a magnet-based power charger, providing a secure connection to the power port of a laptop while still being easy to unplug, preventing the device from getting damaged if someone was to accidentally trip on the power lead.

The company then phased out the technology, with the 2017 MacBook Air opting for USB-C charging. This is because USB-C has more versatility, offering more power delivery as well as a display output and data transfer. MagSafe then made its return on the MacBook Pro 2021 series.

The iPhone 12 series was the first iPhone to support the technology, though it came in a slightly different form, with the feature magnets being stuck onto the rear of the phone, allowing it to snap onto Apple’s wireless charging puck instead of requiring a magnetic cable.

Looking at the charger itself, it looks similar to the Apple Watch 8 charger, only a little larger. It is round, white and has a silver ring and back, being small enough to slip into a bag.

It sits flush with the table, making it simple to connect to your iPhone, and while it will disconnect if you start frantically moving your phone around, the connection is reliably sturdy.

Since the iPhone now has a magnet system embedded into it, it can be used with other accessories such as camera tripods, car docks and wallets, making it more than just a charging feature.

What’s the difference between MagSafe and Qi2?

If you have been keeping up with all the news surrounding the new iPhone 15 release, then you may have come across another wireless charging solution: Qi2. While Apple has had a direct hand in shaping the latest Qi2 wireless standard, it does differ from MagSafe in one key area.

Both MagSafe and Qi2 use magnets to provide a secure, power-efficient way to wirelessly attach the charger to the smartphone and both have a slightly faster charging speed when compared to the standard Qi solution.

One of the biggest differences is that Qi2 will be able to charge non-Apple devices, namely Android. The hiccup here is that no upcoming Android devices have been slated to include Qi2 – with the Pixel 8 being the most notable.

This will largely come down to what’s available to manufacturers during a phone’s development stage, but we should see some Qi2-compatible Android handsets appearing over the next few months.

On the Apple side, the iPhone 15 has been heavily rumored to feature the latest Qi2 charging technology. We will have to wait until the iPhone 15 range is released to confirm these claims, but at this point, it seems very likely.

How does MagSafe for iPhone work?

Apple has given a detailed outline of the new components within its iPhone models that enable MagSafe. There’s a copper-graphite shield, a magnet array, a polycarbonate housing, a charging coil, an e-shield and an NFC component too. In the centre of all that is an alignment magnet that will ensure the charger sits in the optimal place for maximum charging efficiency.

How fast is MagSafe for iPhone?

MagSafe has a maximum speed of 15W. Comparing it to the 65W fast charging of the OnePlus 9 Pro, it is not the fastest charging solution out there, however, it is an improvement on the 7.5W Qi wireless charging.

During our testing, a completely depleted iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro took an hour to charge up to 50% using the MagSafe charging, while the same test on a 7.5W Qi pad from Mophie took well over an hour. So while it’s not the most sophisticated charging solution, it is definitely one of the fastest solutions when it comes to iPhones.

However, if you need to charge your iPhone as quickly as possible you will be best off using a cable and a fast plug. With a USB-C 20W plug and a cable, the iPhone 12 went from 0% to 50% in less than half an hour.

Does MagSafe come with the iPhone?

While MagSafe is supported on some of the more recent iPhone models, the accessories are not included in the box.

Users will need to purchase the MagSafe Charger, which costs an additional £39/$39, while the MagSafe Duo charger is listed for £129/$129.

Can you use MagSafe with any case?

Unfortunately no, not every case does have support for MagSafe charging. Some third-party iPhone cases do still allow the device to be charged via MagSafe, though it seems like this is largely impacted by how thin your case is.

If the iPhone case is particularly thick, has a kickstand in the rear, or if you have attached something to the back of your phone, it’s unlikely that MagSafe charging will work.

If you want to use MagSafe charging, we recommend keeping an eye out for MagSafe branding when buying a case for your device. Otherwise, you can buy a case directly from the Apple store to ensure a strong and reliable connection.

Can you use MagSafe on older iPhone models?

We do not recommend using a MagSafe charger on any iPhone that precedes the iPhone 12, meaning that any iPhone 11 owners are out of luck

While the MagSafe charger will technically work with an iPhone 11, many people have reported very low charging speeds, making it a less worthwhile option. 9to5Mac claims the iPhone 11 charging speeds were as slow as 0.96W when using a MagSafe charger, compared to the 15W speed with an iPhone 12.

Does MagSafe work with Apple Watch and AirPods?

If you’re looking to charge all of your Apple devices with MagSafe, there are some caveats. Since it uses a Qi pad, you can charge AirPods, AirPods Pro and the latest AirPods Pro 2 with MagSafe, though it does not offer the same magnetic benefits. The charging speed is about the same as you would get with a different wireless charger, and it is still slower than using a cable.

The Apple Watch series, including the latest Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra, uses a proprietary form of wireless charging and does not work with a MagSafe Charger.

Apple would either need to switch to Qi on the next Apple Watch or make the next MagSafe Charger also compatible with the charging method used by the Apple Watch.

Chinedu Okeke

Chinedu is the founder of Nigerian Tech. He is a tech enthusiast who has the passion for emerging trends in the tech industry. He is also a professional web content developer.

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