Apple has launched a new MagSafe Battery Pack for the iPhone 12, complete with reverse charging support, snapping on to the smartphone’s magnetic accessory system for on-the-go top-ups. The $99 battery relies on the rebooted MagSafe system which Apple launched alongside the iPhone 12 late in 2020, though it’s not the first time we’ve seen an add-on battery that clings to the back of an iPhone.
Mophie’s MagSafe-compatible Snap+ range, for example, offers a magnetically attached battery with Qi wireless charging. Earlier in the year, Anker offered the same thing with its iPhone MagSafe Battery Pack.
Now, though, Apple is offering an official option. Designed to work with the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Qi wireless charger clips onto the back panel of the smartphone, even if you have a case in place. Once on, it automatically starts charging, though only at up to 5W.
There’s a Lightning port, which can be used to turn the MagSafe Battery Pack into up to a 15W wireless charger for your phone. It’ll also work with a 20W or higher USB-C power adapter, and a USB-C to Lightning cable, for faster recharging of both the MagSafe Battery Pack and the iPhone 12 it’s attached to.
One of the advantages of going with Apple’s version of the concept, of course, is that it integrates better with iOS. If you’re running iOS 14.7 or later, you’ll get a second charging status indicator on the iPhone itself. That can show the current power level of the MagSafe Battery Pack along with the phone and any other connected accessories, like your Apple Watch or AirPods Pro.
Apple isn’t saying just how much of a charge the battery will actually give your iPhone. However, with the battery inside being just 1,460 mAh – about half of the battery size of the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro – a roughly 50-percent top-up seems reasonable.
Interestingly, when it comes to recharging the MagSafe Battery Pack, there are two options. Most straightforward is plugging the battery in via its own Lightning port. However, Apple confirms you can also plug in the iPhone instead, and then seemingly use reverse wireless charging to recharge the MagSafe Battery Pack.
“You can also charge both if you attach your MagSafe Battery Pack to your iPhone, then plug your iPhone into a power source,” Apple confirms. “You might want to charge this way if you need to connect your iPhone to another device while charging, like if you’re using wired CarPlay or transferring photos to a Mac.”
The Apple MagSafe Battery Pack is available to order now, priced at $99. It’ll ship from July 20, Apple says.