Arguably more so than any prior generation before it, Apple’s new iPhone 12 lineup gives users more reasons than ever before to upgrade to the Northern California tech giant’s latest and greatest mobile gadget. Alongside dual-SIM and 5g-capabilities, a markedly better camera setup, and better processing power—all of which come in a thinner, more waterproof (IP68) and rugged, ceramic-shielded, aluminum-edged package—the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Mini, and 12 Pro Max have also been bestowed with Apple’s magnetic MagSafe system for charging and accessories.
Despite Apple unveiling its new MagSafe smartphones only a month ago, there are already a surprising number of compatible products and accessories from both third-party manufacturers and Apple itself. With this being a novel feature, it can be especially difficult to sort through the array of products to flesh out the truly worthwhile ones. So, with this in mind, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the MagSafe system; what it is; what its benefits are; and its history, along with our picks for the best MagSafe accessories for the iPhone 12.
The Path To Magnetic Smartphones
A Condensed History Of Apple’s MagSafe System
Apple first introduced the world to its MagSafe charging system in 2006 with that year’s MacBook Pro laptop model as a magnetic charger. The idea behind the offering was to replace traditional plug-in coupling—which previously consisted of inserting a male piece into a female charging port—with a much more shallow plug that would remain in place through the use of magnets. This allowed the laptop to charge, but also allowed its charging cable to easily disconnected from the computer with very little force, meaning if someone stepped on or tripped over the cord, it wouldn’t result in them tripping or the laptop going flying and instead would just see the charger detach and fall to the ground.
Not only was this new MagSafe charging configuration easily to plug-in or unplug than traditional chargers, but it also hugely mitigated the likelihood of damage to the charger and the laptop, while also being safer for its user—hence the “Safe” portion of its moniker. This MagSafe system would become Apple’s standard charging setup until it began being phased out upon the debut of the fourth-gen MacBook Pro in late 2016. So, more recently, when Apple’s lab coats were engineering the new iPhone 12 range and opted to utilize a magnet-enabled setup for its chargers and accessories, the Cupertino company decided to use the MagSafe name.
Interestingly, Apple isn’t the first smartphone manufacturer to experiment with a magnet-based accessory system, as Motorola previously rolled out its Moto Z Android-based smartphone in 2016 that featured a bevy of magnetic, attachments dubbed “Moto Mods” such as wireless mobile battery packs, a gaming controller, protective cases, an upgraded camera, and even a projector. For whatever reason, Motorola’s Moto Mods never succeeded in gaining much traction, and not long after its release was quietly phased out.
Dissecting The MagSafe System
Breaking Down The Apple MagSafe Feature
iPhones have long been capable of accepting wireless Qi charging, though the iPhone 12 takes this feature and runs with it. Instead of utilizing its predecessor’s internal charging coil configuration, Apple’s latest smartphone is equipped with a collection of powerful magnets—made from recycled materials—encompassing a central charging coil setup that allows the iPhone 12 to receive a charge at twice the speed of the outgoing Apple smartphone at an impressive 15W versus its predecessor’s 7.5W.
A Positive Charge
Unpacking The Benefits Of The Magnetic MagSafe System
Not unlike a Fidlock buckle, the MagSafe system doesn’t require a precise coupling, and instead only needs users to place a charger or accessory near the back of the iPhone and the magnets will do the rest, automatically snapping into place. This not only adds convenience and mitigates the risk of the phone going flying across the room should the cable be stumbled into, but it also helps guarantee a quality Qi connection every time, lining up the phone with the charger for you and putting an end to picking up your phone off of a wireless charger only to discover it wasn’t receiving any juice because it wasn’t lined up just so.
In addition to easier, more convenient, and more efficient charging, Apple has also utilized the feature’s internal magnets in order to offer compatibility with a range of magnet-equipped accessories. This includes items like wallets, Qi mobile battery banks, stands, and camera attachments, and other various mounts. And, because of how potent both the iPhone 12’s internal coils and magnets are, the MagSafe feature can still function even when the smartphone is in a protective case (assuming that said case is MagSafe compatible).
The Best MagSafe Accessories For The iPhone 12
Now that you’ve got a solid understanding of the MagSafe system, how it works, and what it has to offer, let’s dive into the best products for making the most of Apple’s new magnet-enabled charging and accessory feature.
Magnetic Leather Card Holder
A third-party alternative to one of Apple’s first official MagSafe-compatible accessories, this leather cardholder is a clever minimalist addition to an EDC loadout, that can take the place of an ordinary wallet. This cardholder contains RFID-blocking materials, along with a special magnetic shield that protects credit cards from being affected or damaged by the internal magnets. Sold at a fraction of Apple’s comparable offering, this item is also offered in the same colors that Apple produces (such as Saddle Brown or Baltic Blue).
RAUGEE MagSafe Phone Stand
Constructed from polished stainless steel, this minimalist charging stand consists of a cone-shaped base with a ball-joint top that accommodates a magnetic MagSafe phone charger. A weighted and non-slip base and the inverted conical design make for a well-planted charger that will keep in place when the phone is removed while the ball-joint enables the top piece to be adjusted or angled in any direction. This stand can also support phones in portrait or landscape positions, though it is worth mentioning that this item does not include a MagSafe charger.
totallee Super Thin iPhone 12 Case
totallee’s aptly-named Super Thin Case provides surprisingly robust protection while adding extremely little bulk, with these cases boasting a thickness between 0.02” and 0.03” and tipping the scales at a featherweight 0.1oz (or 0.00625lbs). Despite its size, this protective iPhone 12 case is still incredibly effective at absorbing impacts in the event of a drop. And, in addition to being devoid of any logos or branding, the Super Thin Case is also produced in four matte color options, a transparent version, and a special carbon fiber variant. The case’s ultra-svelte size also allows it to be compatible with MagSafe products.
HaloLock Magnetic Wireless Car Charger
Designed specifically to accommodate the iPhone 12, this MagSage-compatible car charger allows for easy and quick access to your smartphone while behind the wheel. The actual charging platform itself links to a ball-joint that’s backed with an alligator clip that can be fixed to AC vents, cup-holders, and other areas around the dash. Furthermore, this charger can hold phones vertically or horizontally, which is also ideal for when following GPS guidance. And, while this product is MagSage-compatible and includes a built-in charger, it only charges at 7.5W.
Native Union Clic Wooden iPhone Case
An attractive combination of modern and old-world materials and craftsmanship, this Native Union iPhone 12 case is made up of a thermoplastic polyurethane and polycarbonate chassis that features genuine walnut or oak wood veneers. Because each case sports its own unique wood grain pattern, no two cases are exactly alike. The calculated choice of materials not only makes for a highly protective case but also an incredibly light one, weighing just 0.05lbs. Backed by a two-year warranty, this case also features raised edges to protect the screen and cameras, and a nickel inlay logo decorating the case’s back.
UAG Metropolis Limited Series iPhone 12 Case
Urban Armor Gear—or “UAG” as it’s more commonly known—has quickly gained a well-deserved reputation for producing ultra-rugged cases and accessories for mobile gadgets with sleek and modern designs. The brand’s Metropolis Limited Series Case for the iPhone 12 range maintains its hardwearing construction and high levels of protection, though presents a more traditional aesthetic, with a back adorned in supple Italian leather. Meeting MIL-STD 810G 516.6 standards and protected by a one year warranty, the inside of the case is lined with a padded rubber hexagonal pattern that can absorb and disperse energy upon impacts.
PITAKA MagEZ Case
Though PITAKA’s MagEZ case may just look like your average carbon fiber protective case, there’s actually quite a bit to appreciate here. Manufactured in eight different carbon fiber weave color choices, the MagEZ Case is an ultra-thin item measuring only 0.03” thick, however, its use of an Aramid carbon fiber construction enables it to provide high levels of protection from impacts. The case’s exterior has also been bestowed with the company’s textured “3D Grip Technology”—improving an area in which carbon fiber cases are typically lacking.
Moment Pro Tripod Mount with MagSafe
Upon the release of the iPhone 12, Seatle-based tech and accessory outfit, Moment hit the ground running with a wide array of purpose-built MagSafe-compatible offerings. Alongside a slew of MagSafe cases, Moment also offers a variety of magnetic camera attachments and mounts, including the brand’s Pro Tripod Mount. The mount features an aluminum construction with padded contact points and was engineered to be compatible with all standard 1/4”-20 tripods or handles. And, in addition to sporting an adjustable standard cold shoe mount, this mount works in portrait or landscape modes and is MagSafe compatible with or without a protective case.
Pelican Shield Series G10 Case
When looking for bags or cases to fortify your gear or electronics, it really is hard to go wrong with almost anything from the experts at Pelican. The California company’s Shield Series G10 case takes smartphone fortification to a new level, with a drop rating that meets the MIL-STD 810G standard three-times over, with the Shield G10 rated to survive drops from over 20’. This is possible thanks to a five-layer design with a woven Aramid fiber constructed backed by dual layers of hard polymers and soft rubbers. Pelican also stands behind this tremendously hardwearing case with a full lifetime warranty.
Grovemade Wood MagSafe Stand
While tech giants like Samsung and Apple undeniably produce some fantastic smartphone accessories, the sheer volume these firms manufacture their goods in simply doesn’t allow for the same top-notch level of fit and finish seen on products from smaller outfits like Grovemade. Designed, manufactured, and assembled by hand in Portland, Oregon, the company’s Wood MagSafe Charger is made from Eastern Hard Rock Maple wood, vegetable-tanned full-grain leather, and stainless steel. Weighing almost 3lbs, this charger also boasts a cork foot and a Cerakoted steel base.
iPhone 12 Pro Max Leather Sleeve with MagSafe
A sleek amalgamation of a cardholder and a protective case, this iPhone 12 sleeve from Apple is made from natural European leather that’s meant to slowly take on a unique patina over months of regular use. Manufactured in four colors, the sleeve comes mated to a color-matched leather wrist-loop and contains an RFID-protected internal slot for housing a credit card or ID. Best of all, this sleeve doesn’t need to be removed for MagSafe charging.
Apple MagSafe Duo Charger
The new iPhone 12 isn’t sold with an included MagSafe charger, and while we’d obviously highly-recommend paying the $40 premium to unlock 15W charging speeds, an even better option is Apple’s MagSafe Duo Charger, especially for those who also utilize an Apple Watch on a daily basis, as well. Capable of folding into a compact, approximately 3.5” x 3.5” form, this portable charger can simultaneously juice up an iPhone 12 and an Apple Watch—the latter of which is possible thanks to the smartwatch charger flipping up 90-degrees.
Belkin 3-in-1 Wireless Charger With MagSafe
Part of Belkin’s BOOST↑CHARGE PRO lineup, this three-in-one home charger provides a simple means of juicing up all of your mobile Apple gadgets at speeds of up to 15W. Boasting an industrial design that takes inspiration from modern architecture, this device can charge an iPhone 12 in either orientation, is fully compatible with charging through MagSafe-friendly cases, and is outfitted with an LED indicator light to alter users to when either of their three devices is done charging. Also available in a white and stainless steel variant, this three-in-one charger is protected by a two-year warranty, too.
GRAY Advent Titanium Case
A minimalist, elegant, and decidedly top-shelf take on a modern smartphone case, GRAY’s Advent model features an interlocking two-piece construction that’s been CNC-machined from raw aerospace-grade 6Al4V titanium before being hit with a mechanically-textured finish to bolster grip while also adding a dash of style. The titanium pieces are supplemented via a black thermoplastic polyurethane back housing, and even the case’s external volume buttons have been precision-machined from titanium.
The 15 Best iPhone 12 Cases
If you’re still interested in checking out some of the latest and greatest protective vessels for Apple’s latest flagship smartphone range, then be sure to head over to our guide to the best iPhone 12 cases for a wide range of phone-fortification options
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