- MagSafe is a magnetic circle on the back of all iPhone 12 models. It aligns charging pads, and allows stick-on accessories.
- The MagSafe name comes from the beloved breakaway power connector on old MacBooks.
- The iPhone 12 MagSafe charger is like a big Apple Watch charger.
The iPhone 12’s MagSafe charger is mag-nificent. Quick snap-on charging, just like the Apple Watch, and easy enough to get right while drunk or in the dark. But what else could the magnetic circle be used for?
All new iPhone 12s have a magnetic loop on the back, which has two purposes so far. One is to stick accessories onto the iPhone. The other is to perfectly align a contact charging pad so it can charge at twice the speed of regular Qi charging pads. Apple has already announced a stick-on wallet (which is apparently prone to falling off), a charger, and phone cases that stick on the back. Here are some more ideas.
This one seems inevitable. You can’t use a Qi charging bank in your bag because your iPhone would just fall off. One solution would be to hold them together with a rubber band. Another would be a MagSafe battery power bank. You could stick the iPhone to the top, tuck it into a pocket, and let it do its thing. I expect to see one of these from Mophie or Anker pretty soon.
In fact, why wouldn’t Apple make its own snap-on battery case?
Back in 2016, Motorola invented Moto Mods—accessories that snap onto the back of compatible phones using magnets. Sound familiar? The thing is, they were better than Apple’s MagSafe, thanks to a grid of 16 contacts. The phone could power the accessories, and the accessories could talk to the phones.
There’s even a community of hackers who make their own. Maybe something similar will spring up around MagSafe?
This is a bit of a cheat because PopSockets has already announced plans to make a MagSafe version.
PopSockets, if you’re not familiar, are little pop-out handles that stick to the back of your phone. They’re like plastic mushrooms, and they can act as stands, or really easy-to-hold handles. Hopefully, they can find a way to make the magnetic connection strong enough, because early reviews of the iPhone 12 say the magnets on the iPhone itself aren’t even strong enough to stick it to the refrigerator.
Accessory lenses, like those from Moment’s high-quality lenses and Olloclip’s clip-on adapters, let you extend the range of your iPhone’s cameras. Usually, they offer close-up, telephoto, or extra-wide options.
The trouble has always been attaching the lenses. Leave them on all the time, and you can’t put your iPhone in your pocket. One workaround has been a special case with a bayonet mount, but you know what’s better? Magnets, that’s what.
How about MagSafe lenses? Just slap them on when you need one, and it automatically aligns itself, perfectly. And while we’re here, how about a MagSafe tripod or stand?
Wall mounts, car mounts, fridge-magnet mounts, back of the iPad mounts. As mentioned above, early reports of the iPhone 12 say the magnets are weak, and that the wallet accessory falls off when you put it onto your pocket, which seems like it misses the whole point of a wallet accessory.
But if you put the strong magnet into the car mount, or other mount, then your problem should be solved. I probably wouldn’t trust it on bike handlebars on a cobbled street, but a kitchen mount would be fine. And those mounts could easily include chargers.
Instead of slotting the iPhone into a game controller, you could just stick it to the front. The connection would probably have to be Bluetooth, unless Apple has included some secret Smart Connector-like way for accessories to communicate with their host iPhones. Still, Bluetooth is good enough for game consoles, so we’ll take it.
There will surely be a whole lot of accessories that use MagSafe. One of the coolest things about Apple introducing new tech in its products is seeing how third parties make use of them. Hopefully, we’ll see all kinds of clever add-ons for these phones.
Or maybe it will all end in tears, like Motorola’s Moto Mods.