Crash testing popular MagSafe car vent mounts for iPhone 12 and iPhone 13

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in iPhone
Now that both the iPhone 12 lineup and the newly-released iPhone 13 lineup support MagSafe, in-car mounts using the technology have risen in popularity. We took four of the most popular ones and subjected them to an impact test to see which ones held our phones safe.

Testing popular MagSafe vent mounts
Testing popular MagSafe vent mounts


When editor Mike Wuerthele was in a relatively low-speed crash, his iPhone 11 in a MagSafe case designed to add the feature to the older device sprung free. Given that failure, we decided to test the feature with iPhones that have full MagSafe support, with a series of dashboard MagSafe adapters that clip onto a vent.

For this test, we simulated a low-speed car crash to demonstrate how securely the mounts magnetically hold our iPhone over bumps, hard stops, and minor impacts.

Our testing setup





To run our test, we needed two components.

Our MagSafe mount rig
Our MagSafe vent mount rig


We had to first create a rig that would hold our car vent mounts that we could run down a ramp at controlled speeds. To accomplish this, we attached a replacement car air vent to two pieces of wood that we mounted to a miniature skateboard. It needed to be strong itself to withstand the expected impacts.

Our testing ramp
Our testing ramp


Our ramp was made from a sheet of metal roofing. Its ridges provided a straight track for our rig so that it would roll down the ramp without veering over an edge or swerving too much side-to-side. It was elevated into the air for a final height of around three feet, giving it an incline of roughly 16 degrees.

The crash stop was a piece of reinforced plywood. It was set perpendicular to the ramp and held in place by sand.

Combining all the information about the assembly, including height, ramp length, ramp angle, and the rig's weight, an approximation of the final velocity at the point of impact can be calculated.

Given the existing setup, the iPhone 13 Pro Max on each of the MagSafe-compatible mounts came to a sudden stop at just under 10 miles per hour.

Our iPhone 13 Pro Max was ensconced in a MagSafe case and had a glass screen protector applied. We also covered the rough grip tape of the skateboard with softer gaff tape.

Participants

Entering our testing arena are four of the most popular MagSafe-compatible car mounts out there. All connect to the vents in your vehicle and offer similar magnetic connections.

Belkin Vent Mount Pro
Belkin Vent Mount Pro


Belkin's Vent Mount Pro is the only Apple-certified MagSafe car mount. It uses Apple's own MagSafe component, unlike others that had to clone their own magnetic attachment point.

ESR HaloLock
ESR HaloLock


The ESR HaloLock car mount was included in the roundup. This one has an additional arm under it that helps steady the entire mount, clipped to the air vent. It also has a built-in Qi wireless charger to power your phone up while you are driving and running wireless CarPlay.

Mophie Snap mount
Mophie Snap mount


Mophie's Snap vent mount was tested which works not only with MagSafe phones but any phone using the company's Snap Adapter as well.

The iOttie Velox
The iOttie Velox


Finally, there is the latest iOttie Velox air vent mount. This one too can charge your phone via the non-removable USB-C cable.

Results

After we ran our tests, we found that three of the four held strong upon impact. Belkin, ESR, and iOttie all refused to let go of our iPhone 13 Pro Max. We tested each of them multiple times and these always kept our phone mounted.

Mophie's Snap mount couldn't hold our iPhone 13 Pro Max in a 10MPH test
Mophie's Snap mount couldn't hold our iPhone 13 Pro Max in a 10MPH test


Only the Mophie Snap mount let our iPhone fly. You can see it for yourself in our video above as the impact shook our phone free, sending it into the air. Good thing we had that case and screen protector applied.

Evaluating these results is a different matter. Many variables go into whether these same mounts will hold up for you. It depends on your vents, if the mounts had been starting to wiggle free from frequent use, how hard your impact is, what case (if any) that you're using, and more.

With the same phone, same vent, and same impact, we can conclusively say that iOttie, ESR, and Belkin all were stronger and more supportive.

That said, if you look just at crash-free daily use, all four of these will perform nearly identically. Conversely, in a high-speed impact, they will all surely let your phone fall.

They're still just relatively low-strength magnets after all.

Where to buy

The vent mounts we tested are available for purchase at Amazon, with prices starting at $29.99. Pick up the iOttie Charging Vent Mount for $49.95, the Belkin MagSafe Vent Mount Pro for $31.99 (on sale from $39.99), the ESR HaloLock for $36.99, and the Mophie Snap Vent Mount for $29.99.

Read on AppleInsider
Dogperson

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    Test methodic is incorrect. 
    Actual car has crumple zones which soften an impact even at low speed. 
    In your case it’s a hard impact with much higher g value 
    edited October 2021
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 550member, editor
    nwind2000 said:
    Test methodic is incorrect. 
    Actual car has cramped zones which soften an impact even at low speed. 
    In your case it’s a hard impact with much higher g value 
    Our impact surface isn't fully hard. We could have run it into a rock. The wood has a bit of give and flexes so it softens the impact a bit. Secondly, this is super slow. 9.5 MPH whereas most car crashes occur at 25 MPH. So even if this has a "higher g value" at 10 MPH, it would show it could withstand higher speeds in an actual accident.

    Really, the point here is which one is strongest. We put them through the same test to see which one(s) would hold on. It isn't a perfect recreation of a car accident but we can conclusively say which ones are stronger than which other ones. 
    Dogperson
  • Reply 3 of 14
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,075member
    nwind2000 said:
    Test methodic is incorrect. 
    Actual car has cramped zones which soften an impact even at low speed. 
    In your case it’s a hard impact with much higher g value 
    Our impact surface isn't fully hard. We could have run it into a rock. The wood has a bit of give and flexes so it softens the impact a bit. Secondly, this is super slow. 9.5 MPH whereas most car crashes occur at 25 MPH. So even if this has a "higher g value" at 10 MPH, it would show it could withstand higher speeds in an actual accident.

    Really, the point here is which one is strongest. We put them through the same test to see which one(s) would hold on. It isn't a perfect recreation of a car accident but we can conclusively say which ones are stronger than which other ones. 
    Not to mention that it's called a crumple zone, not a cramped zone. That's something else entirely.

  • Reply 4 of 14
    Just purchased the Belkin model before seeing this post, and quite relieved to see it holds up! 
  • Reply 5 of 14

    Not to mention that it's called a crumple zone, not a cramped zone. That's something else entirely.

    That is correct. Should’ve pay more attention to my phone autocorrection )
    Thanks. Corrected the wording. 

    edited October 2021
  • Reply 6 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,172member
    Not exactly Consumer Reports level testing. A skate board and a 2X4?  :p
  • Reply 7 of 14
    I’m using the Apple MagSafe charger (https://store.apple.com/xc/product/MHXH3AM/A) attached to a cd-slot holder (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PCXC67Y), and on significant potholes it always drops away. I’m wondering if it’s because it’s a vertical “impact” (phone wants to slide down and away as opposed to being pushed against or away from the charger), or if it’s because of my vaccination card, which I carry between the phone and the Apple clear MagSafe case (https://store.apple.com/xc/product/MHLN3ZM/A) and it overlaps almost completely with the magnet ring(s).
  • Reply 8 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,543member
    Looks like a fun little project. You even mitered the corner, woo hoo. Technically, that’s OSB, not plywood. Hopefully you can use the leftover materials to build a dog house or something for testing some other products.
    edited October 2021
  • Reply 9 of 14
    lkrupp said:
    Not exactly Consumer Reports level testing. A skate board and a 2X4?  :p
    THE PHYSICS PRINCIPLES ARE THE SAME. BTDT
  • Reply 10 of 14
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,094member
    My biggest fear when being involved in a head on auto collision is damaging my $20 phone mount.  But now that AI has verified which mounts are most likely to survive a skateboard collision with plywood I can rest easy. 

    Thanks AI.  
  • Reply 11 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    lkrupp said:
    Not exactly Consumer Reports level testing. A skate board and a 2X4?  :p

    Hopefully Consumer Reports is able to work up to that level...
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 12 of 14
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    I used to use a vent mount for my GPS but stopped when I bumped it and broke the veins on the vent.

    Apple CarPlay works far better.  Plus you get a nice big map -- even on the smallest of in dash screens.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    thttht Posts: 4,630member
    Kudos on devised a test to test the hardware out! You get a lot of vegetables thrown at you from the peanut gallery, but it is very pleasant to see it!
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Increasing the ramp angle or the travel distance until each one failed would have been more informative (rank order) plus repeating the test multiple times to ensure accuracy of the test. But maybe your method keeps the sponsor happier
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