iPhone 12 MagSafe accessories: How Apple’s awesome new snap-on magnet feature works

iPhone 12 Pro silicone coral Magsafe charger

MagSafe centers a compatible charger on new iPhones using an array of magnets.


Apple

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple’s four new iPhone 12 models — two of which are now available to preorder — come with 5G, better cameras and the return of a beloved Apple MacBook feature: the MagSafe charger. We’ve now reviewed the iPhone 12 and can explain how the phone (which is excellent) uses magnets positioned inside the phone to attach a wireless charger and a potentially limitless number of magnetic accessories that snap onto the back of the phone, such as cases, docks, mounts and even a wallet.

By embracing a snap-on ethos that has failed other phone makers (more on that below), the iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max represent a bold new direction for Apple and a new way for iPhone owners to use their phones. 

Here’s a look at what Apple says MagSafe does, how it works and how you might use it once you upgrade. And here’s why MagSafe is Apple’s sleeper feature that’s bigger than you think.


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Apple boosts iPhone 12 with MagSafe tech for better wireless…



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How does MagSafe work on iPhone 12?

The new iPhone 12 devices are embedded with what Apple describes as “an array of magnets” (Apple says they’re recycled) around a centered charging coil that can pull up to 15 watts of power — twice as powerful as wireless charging on previous iPhones (but on par with phones from other brands). 

When you bring the charging end of the power cord close to the iPhone’s back, those magnets will pull it into place. The same goes for other MagSafe accessories and, depending what you’re clipping on, your iPhone will display a brief animation related to the accessory to confirm that it’s locked on.


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iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, Pro and Pro Max explained



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Will iPhone 12 come with a MagSafe charging cable?

No, Apple will include only a USB-C-to-Lightning cable (and no power brick or earbuds) in the box with new iPhones. Apple’s two MagSafe charging cables — one standalone and another that also charges an Apple Watch — will be sold separately, but Apple confirmed that at least one other manufacturer, Belkin, will be selling MagSafe-compatible charging cables as well.

How much will Apple’s MagSafe accessories cost and when will they go on sale?

The standalone MagSafe iPhone charger is available for preorder for $39, with shipping listed as two to three weeks. Clear and silicone cases cost $49 with shipping in 7 to 10 business days. The leather wallet costs $59 and ships in five to six weeks. No word yet on the dual iPhone and Apple Watch charger’s price or availability. 

iphone-12-silicone-case-blue-leather-wallet-with-magsafeiphone-12-silicone-case-blue-leather-wallet-with-magsafe

Apple also

iPhone 12 MagSafe accessories: How Apple’s new snap-on magnets work

iPhone 12 Pro silicone coral Magsafe charger

MagSafe centers a compatible charger on new iPhones using an array of magnets.


Apple

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple’s four new iPhone 12 models — which are now available to preorderall come with 5G, better cameras and the return of a beloved feature Apple long used on MacBooks: the MagSafe charger

MagSafe for iPhone 12 uses a magnetic connection to attach a wireless charger and a potentially endless supply of magnetic accessories you can snap on, such as cases, docks, mounts and even a wallet.

The iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max represent a bold new direction for Apple and a new way for iPhone owners to use their phones. 

We’ll test MagSafe on the iPhone 12 as soon as possible. In the meantime, here’s a look at what Apple says MagSafe does, how it works and how you might use it once you upgrade. And here’s why MagSafe is Apple’s sleeper feature that’s bigger than you think.


Now playing:
Watch this:

Apple boosts iPhone 12 with MagSafe tech for better wireless…



3:39

How does MagSafe work on the iPhone?

The new iPhone 12 devices are embedded with what Apple describes as “an array of magnets” (Apple says they’re recycled) around a centered charging coil that can pull up to 15 watts of power — twice as powerful as wireless charging on previous iPhones (but on par with phones from other brands). 

When you bring the charging end of the power cord close to the iPhone’s back, those magnets will pull it into place. The same goes for other MagSafe accessories and, depending what you’re clipping on, your iPhone will display a brief animation related to the accessory to confirm that it’s locked on.


Now playing:
Watch this:

iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, Pro and Pro Max explained



9:16

Will new iPhones come with a MagSafe charging cable?

No, Apple will include only a USB-C-to-Lightning cable (and no power brick or earbuds) in the box with new iPhones. Apple’s two MagSafe charging cables — one standalone and another that also charges an Apple Watch — will be sold separately, but Apple confirmed that at least one other manufacturer, Belkin, will be selling MagSafe-compatible charging cables as well.

How much will Apple’s MagSafe accessories cost and when will they go on sale?

The standalone MagSafe iPhone charger is available for preorder for $39, with shipping listed as two to three weeks. Clear and silicone cases cost $49 with shipping in 7 to 10 business days. The leather wallet costs $59 and ships in five to six weeks. No word yet on the dual iPhone and Apple Watch charger’s price or availability. 

iphone-12-silicone-case-blue-leather-wallet-with-magsafeiphone-12-silicone-case-blue-leather-wallet-with-magsafe

Apple also unveiled a MagSafe-compatible leather wallet that clips on to new iPhones and costs $59.


Apple

Which

How Apple’s new snap-on magnets work

Apple’s four new iPhone 12 models — which are now available to preorderall come with 5G, better cameras and the return of a beloved feature Apple long used on MacBooks: the MagSafe charger



MagSafe centers a compatible charger on new iPhones using an array of magnets. Apple


© Provided by CNET
MagSafe centers a compatible charger on new iPhones using an array of magnets. Apple

MagSafe for iPhone 12 uses a magnetic connection to attach a wireless charger and a potentially endless supply of magnetic accessories you can snap on, such as cases, docks, mounts and even a wallet.



icon: Apple revived the MagSafe brand to introduce magnetically-attached accessories, such as cases and chargers.


© CNET

Apple revived the MagSafe brand to introduce magnetically-attached accessories, such as cases and chargers.


The iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max represent a bold new direction for Apple and a new way for iPhone owners to use their phones. 

We’ll test MagSafe on the iPhone 12 as soon as possible. In the meantime, here’s a look at what Apple says MagSafe does, how it works and how you might use it once you upgrade. And here’s why MagSafe is Apple’s sleeper feature that’s bigger than you think.

Apple boosts iPhone 12 with MagSafe tech for better wireless charging and new accessories

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

How does MagSafe work on the iPhone?

The new iPhone 12 devices are embedded with what Apple describes as “an array of magnets” (Apple says they’re recycled) around a centered charging coil that can pull up to 15 watts of power — twice as powerful as wireless charging on previous iPhones (but on par with phones from other brands). 

When you bring the charging end of the power cord close to the iPhone’s back, those magnets will pull it into place. The same goes for other MagSafe accessories and, depending what you’re clipping on, your iPhone will display a brief animation related to the accessory to confirm that it’s locked on.

iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, Pro and Pro Max explained

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Will new iPhones come with a MagSafe charging cable?

No, Apple will include only a USB-C-to-Lightning cable (and no power brick or earbuds) in the box with new iPhones. Apple’s two MagSafe charging cables — one standalone and another that also charges an Apple Watch — will be sold separately, but Apple confirmed that at least one other manufacturer, Belkin, will be selling MagSafe-compatible charging cables as well.

How much will Apple’s MagSafe accessories cost and when will they go on sale?

The standalone MagSafe iPhone charger is available for preorder for $39, with shipping listed as two to three weeks. Clear and silicone cases cost $49 with shipping in 7 to 10 business days. The leather wallet costs $59 and ships in five to six weeks. No word yet on the dual iPhone and Apple Watch charger’s price or availability. 



a close up of a cell phone: Apple also unveiled a MagSafe-compatible leather wallet that clips on to new iPhones and costs $59. Apple


© Provided by CNET
Apple also unveiled a MagSafe-compatible leather wallet that clips on to new iPhones and costs $59. Apple

Which accessories use MagSafe?

Besides the charger, Apple announced

Apple’s iPhone 12 event: A mini iPhone and HomePod, but no headphones or power brick in the box

In a prerecorded video streamed Tuesday morning, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 12 lineup that includes four different models. Filled with elaborate drone shots of Apple’s mostly empty Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, the announcement focused on camera features, durability and the promise of fast wireless connections. Literally from the rooftop (which is covered in solar panels), Apple proclaimed it was shrinking its environmental footprint by not automatically including the power adapter and headphones.

The star attraction was a new iPhone 12 line that supports new 5G cellular networks. That technology theoretically enables much faster mobile downloads than the 4G networks the iPhone has supported ever since 2012’s iPhone. But consumers won’t experience that until carriers build out their 5G networks.

Hello again, old iPhone designs

Flat edges are back. After years of smooth, slippery rounded edges, Apple is bringing flat sides back to its iPhone designs. It one of a handful of changes that are a throwback to older phones.

The iPhone 12 mini is 5.18-inches high, and could appease fans of the older iPhone SE, which fits better into some hands and pockets. It’s $100 less and has a shorter battery life, but there are few other differences between the 12 mini and the regular iPhone 12.

Apple is also bringing back “MagSafe,” its name for putting magnets around a charging area. MagSafe used to help keep MacBook cords from popping out, and now a circle of magnets on the back of new iPhones will help it stay in place on a wireless charger, or hold new accessories like a wallet.

In another nod to older, heavier devices, Apple says it is making its new phones sturdier. It touted the new glass on the iPhone 12, which is made by Corning, calling it “tougher” than previous models because of its new “ceramic shield.”

“Tough” in the glass industry means the glass is less breakable. That’s a good thing, because broken glass is one of the main reasons people end up repairing their iPhones. But in glass, toughness is at usually odds with hardness, which makes glass scratch resistant. However, Apple says this is a new kind of technology that won’t make the tougher screen easier to scratch.

Of all the tweaks and upgrades on this year’s iPhone 12, there was one older feature that really would have made a difference in people’s lives: A fingerprint scanner.

Apple switched to Face ID on new iPhones in 2017, ditching the Touch ID sensors that unlocked phones quickly and easily. Apple had a good reason for getting rid of fingerprint sensors. It wanted to make bigger screens, and the home button with the sensors took up valuable real estate.

But Face ID isn’t cutting it anymore, now that the pandemic has us all masked up in public. It’s no fun repeatedly typing in six-digit passwords at the supermarket just to check your shopping list. It has some people disabling passwords, creating a big security risk, or just not using Face ID.

Apple has