Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack: Hands on and first impressions

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 22
After months of rumors and speculation, Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack has started arriving at customer's doors. We got our own hands on one to form some initial impressions.


What is the MagSafe Battery Pack?

To briefly cover the basics, this is Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack. It magnetically connects to the rear of any iPhone 12 model to power it up at 5W wirelessly and up to 15W when connected with a Lightning cable.

It is able to both charge your iPhone, as well as be charged by your iPhone. When the Lightning cable is connected to a battery attached to a phone, both will charge. Conversely, a Lightning cable plugged into an iPhone will charge the battery as well.

Multiple charging vectors can be clutch when connecting your iPhone to something else -- such as your vehicle for CarPlay. In that situation, you'd connect your iPhone to your CarPlay interface and your iPhone would charge -- which would, in turn, charge the MagSafe Battery Pack.

Size and build

As was revealed in the leaked hands on pre-launch, the battery isn't a soft-touch silicone as assumed but instead a hard shell plastic.






When connected to your phone, it roughly doubles the thickness, which is still less than many third-party MagSafe-adjacent batteries. Many other third-party solutions, such as the Mophie Snap+ and HyperJuice Magnetic Battery pictured above, are larger and heavier than what Apple brings to the table.

To help visualize the battery's footprint, it is the exact dimensions of the MagSafe wallet, just thicker. When connected to the iPhone 12 mini, it goes just to the edges and fits perfectly. Dead-on.

Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack has a silicone back
Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack has a silicone back


When it comes to the magnets themselves, they are surprisingly strong. They hold on securely to the iPhone, but they hold on even better when using a case. The magnet is strong enough around that ring that it will undoubtedly leave an indentation on a leather case over time.

Just like Apple's MagSafe wallet, this has an alignment magnet towards the bottom to prevent it from spinning. In our initial testing, this has been fine so far -- but can and will get scraped off in a tight pants pocket.

Integration with iOS

Battery widget shows the status of Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack
Battery widget for Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack


One of the biggest selling points of Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack versus the third-party ones is the integration to iOS. As it stands iOS 15 beta 3 doesn't yet include full support. When we connected it to our iPhone 12 Pro Max running iOS 15, it would still charge, but we likely won't get the efficiency features as well as the Lock Screen animation or battery widget icon.

The battery widget merely shows a Lightning cable but will still tell you how much capacity the battery has remaining.

Lock Screen animation for Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack
Lock Screen animation for Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack


When we connected it to a device running the requisite iOS 14.7 update that was released on Monday things behave as they should. When the battery is connected, an animation morphs to show the iPhone's current battery status and a secondary glyph with the battery pack's charge.

Of course, the proper glyph also shows in the battery widget, letting you keep an eye on the capacity at all times from your Home Screen.

Other notes and impressions

Charge AirPods with Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack
Charge AirPods with Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack


Since MagSafe is backward compatible with Qi, this will work with other Qi-enabled devices. That could mean older iPhones that support wireless charging, Android devices, or even a set of AirPods.

This also works fine with any MagSafe-compatible case, including Apple's silicone, leather, and clear cases, as well as many third-party ones. As long as your case says it supports MagSafe, it will work with the MagSafe Battery Pack.

Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack supports third-party cases
Apple's official MagSafe Battery Pack supports third-party cases


Thus far, we only have one big criticism of this battery which is how it charges. We all certainly have Lightning cables around, but many have started moving more towards MagSafe. For example, when we travel for the weekend we've gotten in the habit of bringing a MagSafe charger and a USB-C Apple Watch cable. For full charging flexibility, we're back to making sure a Lightning cable is in our tech bag.

Available now

Apple's MagSafe Battery Pack is available starting today both in stores as well as online. At press time, AppleInsider readers can get a free $10 gift card with the accessory at Adorama with promo code APINSIDER and this special pricing link.

You can also pick up the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack for $99 at B&H and at Amazon.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    zhtfreakzhtfreak Posts: 30member
    Question, does the battery pack cover the entire back of the mini minus where the cameras are, or is the top of the battery pack just under the cameras, which would make the top of the phone next to them not covered, if that makes sense? 

    As a VoiceOver user, I always rotate my phone to landscape so I can use the Braille keyboard to type. It's a heck of a lot faster than using the stock keyboard, and I don't use dictation since it gets too many words wrong. So if the magsafe battery doesn't go all the way to the top edge of the mini, it would make typing a lot harder, or at least I think so. 
  • Reply 2 of 16
    rcfarcfa Posts: 994member
    Will it work with other MagSafe accessories?
    i.e. will the phone/battery combination stick to a MagSafe car phone holder?
    will the MagSafe wallet stick to the back of the battery?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    nadrielnadriel Posts: 52member
    zhtfreak said:
    Question, does the battery pack cover the entire back of the mini minus where the cameras are, or is the top of the battery pack just under the cameras, which would make the top of the phone next to them not covered, if that makes sense? 

    As a VoiceOver user, I always rotate my phone to landscape so I can use the Braille keyboard to type. It's a heck of a lot faster than using the stock keyboard, and I don't use dictation since it gets too many words wrong. So if the magsafe battery doesn't go all the way to the top edge of the mini, it would make typing a lot harder, or at least I think


    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJWY3AM/A/magsafe-battery-pack look at the pictures there, from what I understood it’s the second option.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 755member
    rcfa said:
    Will it work with other MagSafe accessories?
    i.e. will the phone/battery combination stick to a MagSafe car phone holder?
    will the MagSafe wallet stick to the back of the battery?
    No stacking. Watch the video @ the 2:40 mark. 
    edited July 20 repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 16
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 622member
    For example, when we travel for the weekend we've gotten in the habit of bringing a MagSafe charger and a USB-C Apple Watch cable. For full charging flexibility, we're back to making sure a Lightning cable is in our tech bag.
    You don’t need your MagSafe Charger anymore and only use your MagSafe Battery - it doubles as a Charger. 
    StrangeDaysGeorgeBMacradarthekat
  • Reply 6 of 16
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,889member
    sflagel said:
    For example, when we travel for the weekend we've gotten in the habit of bringing a MagSafe charger and a USB-C Apple Watch cable. For full charging flexibility, we're back to making sure a Lightning cable is in our tech bag.
    You don’t need your MagSafe Charger anymore and only use your MagSafe Battery - it doubles as a Charger. 
    Y E S !   This! ^^^^

    Yes!  That's cool!  You buy it and get a MagSafe charger for free!  (although it doesn't charge as fast).
    But, in my opinion, this provides an ancillary benefit that is even more important:

    One of my complaints with these portable chargers is that you typically need them when, as you're rushing out the door, you realize your phone is almost dead.   But, typically those mobile chargers haven't been charged either.   But now, with this:   Leave the battery pack attached to power, use it as a magsafe desktop charger.   Then, when you're rushing out the door with a dead phone, simply detach the battery pack from its Lightening cable and stick it on your phone!

    And,  Life is Good again.


    sflagelradarthekat
  • Reply 7 of 16
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,020member
    Does the MagSafe Battery Pack reverse charge through the Lightning port? The MSBP won't charge a Watch wirelessly, but if I can plug an Apple Watch charger into in, that would be a handy thing.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,020member
    zhtfreak said:
    Question, does the battery pack cover the entire back of the mini minus where the cameras are, or is the top of the battery pack just under the cameras, which would make the top of the phone next to them not covered, if that makes sense? 

    As a VoiceOver user, I always rotate my phone to landscape so I can use the Braille keyboard to type. It's a heck of a lot faster than using the stock keyboard, and I don't use dictation since it gets too many words wrong. So if the magsafe battery doesn't go all the way to the top edge of the mini, it would make typing a lot harder, or at least I think so. 
    When attached to a 12 mini, the left, right, and bottom edges of the battery pack are flush with the edges of the mini.  The top stops just under the bottom lens of the phone, maybe about an inch or slightly more from the top of the phone. It doesn't cover the camera lenses at all.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,279member
    sflagel said:
    For example, when we travel for the weekend we've gotten in the habit of bringing a MagSafe charger and a USB-C Apple Watch cable. For full charging flexibility, we're back to making sure a Lightning cable is in our tech bag.
    You don’t need your MagSafe Charger anymore and only use your MagSafe Battery - it doubles as a Charger. 
    MagSafe Battery does not charge Apple Watch, so you'll still need a cable to charge the Watch and another to charge the Battery, the latter of which the o.p. could have used to charge the iPhone previously anyway, so they haven't reduced cables at all.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 10 of 16
    atomic101atomic101 Posts: 109member
    I may have missed it somewhere, but does this thing have any kind of algorithm as far as topping off the phone battery, or when attached, does it simply keep flowing juice to a full battery to keep it at 100%?  in other words, is this something that one could/should keep attached to their phone on a permanent basis without any ill effects to battery aging?  There's no "on/off" switch that I'm aware of, so my guess is that the only way to prevent constant trickle charging is to physically disconnect from the phone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 755member
    macgui said:
    Does the MagSafe Battery Pack reverse charge through the Lightning port? The MSBP won't charge a Watch wirelessly, but if I can plug an Apple Watch charger into in, that would be a handy thing.
    Great question…I would love an answer to this also.  
    edited July 21 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    "After months of rumors and speculation"??? I read appleinsider every day and there was zero mention until the day it was released. Where do I go to read more rumors and speculation? Reddit?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    GabyGaby Posts: 175member
    For anyone that’s interested, after first charge and use I got 48% charge on my 12 pro max from zero.  I’ll update if there’s any further increase after a couple of uses if anyone wishes. 
    edited July 21 GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 755member
    "After months of rumors and speculation"??? I read appleinsider every day and there was zero mention until the day it was released. Where do I go to read more rumors and speculation? Reddit?
    There are plenty of places to find Apple news and rumors besides Apple Insider…

    Just a suggestion, but open the Apple News App, search a topic of choice (examples: iPhone, AirPods, iPad, Apple Pencil, etc). Tap the “+” button next to the topic name, and viola!  Now click the “Following” tab on the bottom of Apple News and all your preferred topics are collected neatly together. You will find dozens of different sources to get your Apple fix. 

    There are many stories and rumors that AI doesn’t cover (example: Apple Arcade +) and yes…this MagSafe charger HAS been rumored since last fall. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 755member
    Gaby said:
    For anyone that’s interested, after first charge and use I got 48% charge on my 12 pro max from zero.  I’ll update if there’s any further increase after a couple of uses if anyone wishes. 
    Yes please. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    GabyGaby Posts: 175member
    Japhey said:
    Gaby said:
    For anyone that’s interested, after first charge and use I got 48% charge on my 12 pro max from zero.  I’ll update if there’s any further increase after a couple of uses if anyone wishes. 
    Yes please. 
    Ok so, the verdict after 4 or 5 cycles it comes to between 50-53% from zero. Whether the heat at the moment is causing very minor inefficiencies is possible but unknown and I realistically wouldn’t expect more than an extra 1-2%. So I think oh average with a pro max, users should expect their phones to be charged halfway. 
    edited July 26
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