Perhaps the biggest new feature the iPhone 12 family of phones bring is MagSafe, a small magnetic coil in the back of the phone that works with a range of different peripherals to improve your iPhone experience.
It’s an intriguing concept, perhaps reminiscent of Motorola’s Moto Mods or the current accessory pins found with Apple’s iPads. The iPhone 12 range hasn’t been out long enough for us to see how popular they get, but there’s certainly a lot of potential.
Apple’s initial applications for Magsafe are twofold: magnetic chargers that stick to the back of your phone, and clip-on cases that stay stuck to it, but as third-party manufacturers play around with the tech there’s a lot more they could achieve.
MagSafe has a lot in common with 5G in that respect; both are technologies in the iPhone 12 that’ll only get more impressive over time.
If you’re not too sure on how the iPhone MagSafe works, we’ve explained everything you need to know in this guide – and we’ve also listed some of the best MagSafe gadgets on sale right now that you might want to consider buying.
How does MagSafe work?
Simply put, MagSafe consists of a strong magnet under the back case of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The ring-shaped magnet is placed to the center of the phone’s rear – it sounds pretty big, from Apple’s descriptions.
MagSafe gadgets are accessories you can buy separately to your iPhone, which make use of this magnetic ring so they can clip to it. You can even attach multiple MagSafe peripherals, like a case and wallet attachment at the same time, though we’d imagine not all are compatible with each other.
One use of MagSafe is for wireless charging – though since MagSafe chargers are wires that attach to the back of the phone, perhaps ‘portless charging’ is a better way of describing it. The iPhone 12 charges at 15W using MagSafe – that’s twice the speed of the charging offered using a normal wireless charger with the device.
You can also clip on things like cases and wallets (for your credit cards), and since you can use both at the same time, we’re going to assume the magnet is pretty strong.
What are the best MagSafe accessories to buy?
These are the MagSafe accessories you can buy right now, but expect this list to change a lot over the coming months as the company is set to launch more add-ons and we’re expecting more from third-party manufacturers.
The iPhone 12 MagSafe charger uses the smartphone’s magnets to properly align, making sure you get the full powering speeds possible. Sure, having a magnetic charger clipped to the back of your phone effectively makes the whole ‘wireless’ thing redundant, but it’s still less fiddly than an actual charging cable.
If you want to utilize MagSafe to keep your smartphone protected, then you can buy some cases that do so. OtterBox is a case maker with a track record of great products, and it’s got some official iPhone 12 MagSafe ones to choose from. OtterBox MagSafe cases are cheaper than Apple’s own ones and come in some good-looking colors, though the selection isn’t huge.
If you usually keep your phone in a wallet case along with any bank cards, Apple has a MagSafe model that’s similar – with a wallet that clips to the back of your phone. You can use it alongside the MagSafe cases, though when third-party alternatives roll out it’s possible the wallet won’t be compatible with them.
There are four color versions you can opt from but they’re all leather, so vegans will have to wait or find an alternative.
Looking for a way to secure your phone in your car when you’re driving? MagSafe can help with that too, and one of the first iterations of the technology is from Belkin that allows you to attach your phone to your car vents.
You can flip the phone from portrait to landscape depending on what you’ll want to be using it for, but this is a great option for hands free calls or for directions when you’re driving.
Want to be able to charge multiple Apple gadgets at once? The MagSafe Duo charger allows you to pump up your phone at the same time as other accessories such as your AirPods or your Apple Watch.
This a portable choice as you’re able to fold it up and take it with you, but you should note that you need to buy a separate adapter to be able to use this charger. It’s also a very expensive option, so it won’t be for everyone.
Ever get annoyed at not being able to charge all your gadgets at the same time? Belkin wants to make that a thing of the past with the MagSafe compatible 3-in-1 charger.
The company has offered 3-in-1 chargers before that allow you to pump up your AirPods, Apple Watch and iPhone at the same time but this is the first time the MagSafe technology has ensure your devices don’t budge as they charge.