Reviews

The MagSafe Battery Pack is convenient but slow at charging

In an emergency or during a long travel day, Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack does the job of adding juice to your phone, but the wireless charging is painfully slow.

I am a few days into a much-needed two-week vacation and I shouldn’t be working at all. But because the best type of testing is real-world testing, here’s my review of Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack for iPhone 12/12 Pro.

The MagSafe Battery Pack works exactly like it sounds: it connects magnetically to any iPhone 12, 12 Pro, or 12 mini via MagSafe.

MagSafe presents different pros and cons compared to Apple’s Smart Battery Case for iPhone 11 (and earlier).

Compared to a case, it easily snaps on using magnets.

I was hoping the magnets would be stronger TBH.

Take it or leave it

It also comes in one color: white.

The bulge... who cares? It’s a battery. All battery packs are bulky. It’s a battery. You don’t need it to look pretty. You need it to top off your iPhone.

How fast does it charge?

Wirelessly via MagSafe... not very fast. My iPhone 12 Pro was down to 28% battery and in the first 10 minutes, it jumped 11 percent to 39%. From there on, the battery pack only added 5% every 10 minutes until it was fully drained. (Yes, I timed it.)

It took 30 minutes to charge up my iPhone 12 Pro from 28% to 50% and 2 hours (!!!) to reach 95% before it died. The slow charge is because the MagSafe Battery Pack only charges iPhone 12 devices at 5 watts. That’s significantly slower than a wired MagSafe puck connected to Apple’s 20W charger, which outputs 15 watts or 13 watts with the 18W charger.

Some more bad news...

Using your iPhone 12 with the MagSafe Battery Pack basically negates any charging, even if for simple things. Looking up directions for one restaurant in Google Maps and having 10-minute timer running in the background — so two tasks — dropped charging from 5% every 10 minutes to 1%.

You basically shouldn’t use your iPhone 12 when the MagSafe Battery Pack is attached or it’ll never charge up. Then there’s this other caveat...

90%

How much the MagSafe Battery Pack charges your iPhone to.

That’s the default setting. But you can allow the battery pack to charge beyond 90% with a long press on the Low Battery Mode toggle (make sure you’ve added it within Settings) within Control Center.

One cool mod is plugging the MagSafe Battery Pack into a Lightning Dock and turning it into a MagSafe charging stand. Shout out to Parker Ortolani for noticing this.

Parker Ortolani

Parker

On the plus side...

The MagSafe Battery Pack also charges up AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro that support wireless charging.

The battery charge shows up in the Batteries widget.

$99.99

The cost of convenience.

iPhone 12 Pro Max users probably don’t need the MagSafe Battery Pack since the device already lasts all day. iPhone 12 and 12 Pro users... maybe, especially if you suck down 5G a lot. iPhone 12 Mini user... oh this is a life savior since the battery dies so fast.

SHOULD YOU BUY IT?

The MagSafe Battery Pack is a tough sell when Anker’s PowerCore Magnetic charges at the same 5W, has more capacity, supports wired charging, and comes in at $46. But you already know that you pay a premium for Apple’s official accessories. How much is that little bit of Apple special-ness worth to you?

I never thought I would say this, but I prefer the Smart Battery Case over MagSafe. It charges faster and adds protection. The iPhone 11 one even has a camera shutter button.