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Supercharge your iPhone experience with these top MagSafe accessories

Charging your iPhone with a cord is so 2017. With these MagSafe accessories, avoid tangled wires, focus on battery life, and more with ZDNET's favorite picks.

Apple now has an abundance of iPhone devices that use its MagSafe technology to attach accessories or wirelessly charge the phones. 

MagSafe uses a combination of magnets and NFC to both hold an accessory in place and recognize it. For example, the MagSafe wireless charger uses magnets to align itself perfectly with the charging coil inside the phone, ensuring you never wake up again to a dead battery because you didn't precisely line up your phone on a Qi charging pad. There's also a MagSafe wallet that attaches to the back of the phone, integrating with Apple's Find My network to remember the last location it was attached to your phone. 

Since MagSafe launched at the end of 2020, we've seen a lot of accessories released from companies big and small. Below are some of our favorites.

Also: The best wireless charging pads

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Super fast charging without any cords
  • Compact design
cons
  • Only one color option
More Details

Features: Up to 15W of wireless charging | Up to 70% additional charge | White 

Apple's MagSafe battery pack is one of the smallest packs available, even though pictures can make it look large. Inside are two battery cells with 11.13 Wh of capacity. It's not capable of charging an iPhone from 0 to 100, but you should get a roughly 50% boost, depending on the phone you own. 

You'll need to have iOS 14.7 or above installed in order for the pack to work with your iPhone fully. For example, when you place the pack on a compatible iPhone, you'll see an animation on your screen letting you know how much of a charge the pack has. Your phone will then automatically begin charging.

There's a Lightning port on the bottom of the pack for charging it. If you use a 20W adapter, you can charge both the pack and the iPhone at the same time by plugging the connector into your iPhone. Your iPhone will then use reverse wireless charging to top off the battery pack -- the first time we've seen such a feature in use from any iPhone model. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Can be used to wirelessly charge your iPhone 8 or later and AirPods models with compatible case
  • Fast wireless charging up to 15W
cons
  • Magnetic alignment only applies to iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models
More Details

Features: Up to 15W | Compatible with Qi charging | USB-C integrated cable

This seemingly simple disk was the first Apple MagSafe accessory designed for charging an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13. On one end is the new MagSafe connector, with a USB-C connector on the other end. The disk connects to the back of your phone, holding itself in place and ensuring proper alignment. There's a lot of tech packed into the MagSafe Charger, but you wouldn't know by looking at it. And that's a good thing. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Room for two devices to charge
  • Up to 14W of peak power delivery
cons
  • Not wireless
  • Must plug into a power source
More Details

Features: USB-C to Lightning Cable | 14 watts of charging | Can connect to a Mac or PC

The MagSafe Duo is your one-stop charging station made by Apple. It's no AirPower, but that's alright. On one side is a MagSafe connector that can charge your iPhone, and on the other side is an Apple Watch charging connector that lays flat or folds out so you can place your watch on its side as it charges. 

It folds in half to make it easy to take with you when traveling and has a lone USB-C port on the back that can power both charging connectors. Just make sure you use a 20W or higher power adapter with it. Also of note, the Duo doesn't work with Apple's 29W charging adapter.

I've been using the Duo for about a year now and have had zero issues with it. I've particularly enjoyed traveling with it because it's a single connection for both of my Apple devices. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Car mount that doubles as a phone charger
  • Rotates your phone for landscape or portrait mode
cons
  • Plastic body feels a little cheap
More Details

Features: Sturdy vent clip | Able to rotate | Magnetic mount

Belkin's MagSafe Car Mount doesn't charge your phone while in use, but it does show just how strong the magnets are and the promising potential of what can be done. I tested it for over a month and liked it; I have yet to have my phone fall off the mount when going over bumps. My only complaint was that when my iPhone 12 Pro was attached to the mount, the combination of the two devices was heavy enough that it pointed the air vents down, no matter what I tried to stop it.

If you're looking for a car mount that holds your phone in place without any clamps, and you have a MagSafe compatible case, you can't go wrong with Belkin's offering. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Supports Apple's Find My app
  • Stylish and colorful wallet that also charges your phone
cons
  • Find My can't track in real time
More Details

Features: 9 color options | Made of European leather | Holds up to 3 cards

This updated version of the MagSafe Wallet can be used with your iPhone's Find My app, which is great for when you realize it detached itself somewhere between your desk and your car. It's made of genuine leather and comes in 8 different colors so you can either match your iPhone or show off your personal style. You can even use it with a MagSafe case to mix and match visual styles. 

At around $60, the leather MagSafe Wallet is a bit of an investment for an accessory, but we can almost guarantee that once you use it, you won't know how you went without it.

What is the best MagSafe accessory?

The best MagSafe accessory is the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack since it quickly charges your phone while on the go. 

MagSafe Accessory

Price

Type

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

$99

Magnetic battery back for back of iPhone

Apple MagSafe Charger

$39

Wireless charger 

Apple MagSafe Duo

$119

Charging station

Belkin MagSafe Car Mount

$40

Clip-on car mount

Apple MagSafe Wallet

$59

Magnetic battery pack that's also a wallet

Which MagSafe accessory is right for you?

Any of the MagSafe accessories on this list are great picks—it just depends on what you are looking for, the price you are willing to spend, and what device(s) you need to charge. 

Choose this MagSafe accessory...

If you want...

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

The best overall option

Apple MagSafe Charger 

A wireless charging option that is compatible with a lot of devices

Apple MagSafe Duo

To charge two Apple devices at once 

Belkin MagSafe Car Mount

To charge your iPhone in the car 

Apple MagSafe Wallet

To carry your ID and cards with you 

How did we choose these MagSafe accessories?

We chose these MagSafe accessories through research and by using the products ourselves. We compared factors like pricing, reviews (both good and bad), different features that make each pool stand out, and the compatibility each product has with different Apple devices. 

What is MagSafe?

MagSafe was originally developed as a safety feature for MacBook charging cords, but is now built into iPhone 12 and 13 models for use with a range of accessories like what we've talked about above and for faster, wireless charging. The system uses a series of magnets around the iPhone's internal charging coil which sense other, compatible devices and hold them securely in place; the magnets are specifically designed for the MagSafe system and to protect your iPhone from damage.

Which iPhone models have MagSafe?

All of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models have MagSafe capabilities. 

What else should I know about MagSafe?

MagSafe is simple, and that's what's so great about it. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 have magnets built-in, and we're finally starting to see a consistent stream of MagSafe-compatible accessories from vendors big and small. 

If you plan on using a MagSafe charger or attachment along with a case, make sure you buy a MagSafe compatible case. That means that the case has magnets of its own built-in, and it will allow you to still charge your phone or keep a MagSafe wallet attached. 

Is MagSafe the same as Qi?

The two systems work on the same wireless charging principles, but the key difference is that Qi chargers don't use any sort of magnets for alignment; and Qi chargers need near-perfect alignment for optimal speeds. The MagSafe system eliminates the hassle of positioning and repositioning your devices on the charger by using magnets to properly align the charging puck and iPhone's internal charging coils, giving you consistent, fast charging.

Is MagSafe better than Lightning charging?

It's really up to user preference. 

Both USB-C Lightning and the MagSafe system have very similar charging times, but with the Lightning cable, you have to make sure you're near a suitable wall outlet when it comes time to recharge your iPhone. 

With the MagSafe system, you can purchase a battery pack for power on the go. So if you're a mobile professional, we recommend the MagSafe battery pack to keep your iPhone charged while you travel or meet with clients off-site while folks who work from home may want to stick with a traditional cable charger.

Are there alternative MagSafe accessories to consider?

Yes, here are a few other options to look into:



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