Even more MagSafe accessories for Apple MacBook models

Even more MagSafe accessories for Apple MacBook models

Summary: One vendor offers a preventative for fraying MagSafe cables, while an Apple Support Note details the differences between the adapters.

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, Laptops

The rise in popularity of Apple's laptop models is perhaps revealed in the recent rise of add-ons to the MagSafe power connector. The technology uses an array of little magnets to hold the power cord in place and thus prevent the MacBook from taking a spill when someone trips on the power cable.

Magsafe accessories

However, the MacSafe power cords and adapter connections have had a tendency to fray. In fact, Apple a couple of years ago settled a class action suit on the problems.

A company called MacSavior offers a pair of solutions for each end of the adapter: the POW Clip for the power adapter connector, and the MAG Clip for the magnetic connector that attaches to the laptop. Both clips come in a variety of colors and are made from 3D-printed plastic. The cost is just under $10.

The POW Clip keeps the joining part of the adapter straight and prevents fraying. The company said it supports the MagSafe and MagSafe 2 power adapters in 60W and 85W flavors.

Apple recently updated a Support Note with a revised and detailed chart of MagSafe and MagSafe 2 power adapters. One very-annoying feature of Apple's hardware design philosphy is to make small changes that aren't evident externally in the design. In this case, the power adapters look the same from the outside but have different power ratings. And that can be problematic.

Power adapters for Intel-based Apple notebooks are available in 45W, 60W, and 85W varieties. Although you should always use the proper wattage adapter for your Apple notebook, you can use an adapter of a higher wattage without issue.

For instance, if you have a MacBook (13-inch Late 2009) that normally uses a 60W adapter, you can also use an 85W adapter with that computer. You would not use a 45W adapter with that computer; it would not provide enough power for that MacBook.

Using an adapter of higher wattage than the adapter that came with the computer will not cause the computer to charge more quickly or otherwise operate any differently than using the adapter that came with the computer. The tables further down in this article show the style of connector that initially shipped with each model of MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air.

I suggest writing the power rating inside the adapter where the AC cord or "duckhead" plug connect. It saves time and ambiguity.

So, those looking to purchase a replacement adapter that may last through the current MacBook generation and into the next, then one might want to purchase a 85W MagSafe 2 power block and an adapter. However, that brings its own share of issues: as I reported in a recent post, the second-generation MagSafe's magnets aren't as powerful as the original iteration, and the connector can sometimes fall out or not seat correctly.

But there's a dongle for that...

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Mine frayed - I'm so disapointed with Apple

    The cord on my 60W power adapter for my 13" MBP Retina frayed after 1 1/2 year of gentle use. The plastic covering the cable from the brick to the magsafe 2 simply started falling off the ground shield inside. The folks at the Apple Store argued that it was cosmetic - even with the bare ground shield exposed in long stretches. Jeez. I don't know if they've fixed it as they appear to be in denial. If I continue to use this bad one, what is in store - sparks, smoke, fire? Come on Apple! Step up to the plate on this one.
  • It is not quite correct…

    …to claim that power adapters with a lower wattage rating would or should not be used on laptops that normally require a more powerful adapter. The fact is that the power demand of a computer varies greatly with such factors as screen brightness and the application(s) being run, and even if the power demand from the computer exceeds the capacity of the adapter, the only problem that arises is that the extra power needed drains the battery somewhat, depending on the situation. It is true that such use will require that the battery be recharged sooner or later, but the smaller adapter is perfectly capable of returning the battery to its full charge, although it takes longer, when the computer is put to sleep or shut down.

    My wife frequently uses my 17" 2011 Macbook Pro with the smaller adapter supplied with her 2010 Macbook for long periods of email and web surfing without depleting the MBP's battery. I just did a sanity check on the power usage of this laptop as I'm writing this, and found that the power usage varies between 15-18 watts. I then turned on a video recording that I made a few weeks ago, and the power required jumped to just over 20 watts. I then connected to Netflix and the power increased to 27 watts. These numbers are well within the capacity of the Macbook adapter.

    Clearly, the power drain required by an application such as video editing might exceed the capacity of the smaller adapter, in which case the battery would have to make up the difference, but this situation in my case will not happen because I would always use the adapter that was supplied with the 17" Macbook Pro.
  • The most obvious thing that Apple haven't done is to

    combine a USB charging port on their magsafe power adapters. It would be great to have a 12w USB port on the adapter so you don't have to take 2 power bricks on the road.