Anker 622 Foldable Magnetic Wireless Portable Charger
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Joby Beamo LED Ring Light for MagSafe
Lamicall Magnetic Phone Ring Holder
Lisen MagSafe Car Mount for iPhone
How awesome are magnets? They can stick kids' artwork to the fridge. They can levitate entire trains. And let's not forget Magneto, arguably the coolest X-Men villain ever. OK, but what have magnets done for you lately? If you own an iPhone, they can do quite a lot — more than you might know, in fact. Modern iPhones incorporate something called MagSafe, and you don't need any special skills to crack it. You just need this guide.
What is MagSafe?
Quick history lesson: MagSafe didn't originate on iPhones but rather on Apple MacBooks as a specialized plug. While most laptops rely on a charging cord that slots into a power port, the MagSafe cord ended in a magnetic connector. It didn't need to be plugged into the machine; it simply snapped onto the side. Magnetically.
The idea there was that if someone accidentally yanked or tripped over the cord, it would pop loose rather than sending the expensive MacBook flying. Magnet safety. MagSafe. Pretty ingenious.
The iPhone implementation of this is quite different, as it's not really a safety feature (though certain accessories can make for a safer driving experience — more on that below). Rather, a magnetic ring embedded on the backside of the phone allows you to snap on various accessories: wallets, backup batteries, car mounts and more.
Which iPhones have MagSafe?
Apple built MagSafe into the following iPhone models:
iPhone 12 Mini
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Mini
iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 14 Plus
iPhone 14 Pro Max
How is MagSafe different from Qi wireless charging?
Great question, especially if you have an older model like the iPhone XR or iPhone 11. These phones do support wireless charging like their more modern brethren, but the difference is that there aren't any magnets in the mix. You have to manually (and perfectly) align the phone on a charging pad. With the iPhone 12 and later, MagSafe snaps it into just the right spot. And, of course, allows for other accessories.
How do you use MagSafe?
This is fairly straightforward: Any MagSafe accessory will magically, magnetically stick to the back of your iPhone, aligning in exactly the right spot. However, if that phone is in a case (and it should be), now there's an added wrinkle. Some cases include an embedded MagSafe ring that effectively extends the iPhone's magnetism (a pass-through of sorts), allowing accessories to snap on like normal. This is good.
If your case isn't MagSafe-compatible, however, your accessories might not work. At a minimum, the magnet power will be reduced (depending on the thickness of the case), an important consideration if you're sticking, say, a wallet back there. You don't want it falling off.
Bottom line: Use a MagSafe-compatible case, if possible. Failing that, you can add something like the ESR HaloLock ($16) to the back of your existing case; it's basically a stick-on MagSafe ring, a sort of magnet conversion kit. And ESR supplies a handy printed placement guide so you're sure to position it exactly right.
What are some of the best MagSafe accessories?
Think of a backpack and all the things you can put into one. MagSafe effectively allows for different kinds of accessories to, well, backpack on your phone. Here are some of the options available:
LED ring lights
Sometimes there's feature overlap between these items, like a power bank that includes a kickstand or a car mount that's also a charger.
The most popular MagSafe accessories seem to be power banks and wallets, as those offer the most day-to-day benefit. But it's not unthinkable to have more than one of these extras in your car, purse, pocket or the like, swapping them out as needed.
For example, I might snap a MagSafe wallet onto my phone whenever I leave my house, but opt for a power bank when traveling (and relegate the wallet to my pocket). If I'm headed out somewhere to shoot TikTok videos, the LED ring light would ride piggyback.
Below I've rounded up a sampling of some of the best MagSafe accessories you can get right now:
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