What is the Apple MagSafe magnetic bar used for?

MagSafe technology was introduced by Apple in 2006 with the first MacBook Pro. It has since been rejected in several formats. It can be found on iPhone and Mac, as well as in accessories.

What is MagSafe? If you recently purchased an iPhone or Mac, you may have heard of this technology. Is this the standard for wireless charging? From the name given by Apple to wireless charging? Magnetic accessories? Even though MagSafe on the iPhone is new (2020), the technology actually has a long history at Apple.

It was Steve Jobs who was at the origin of MagSafe. In 2006, during the presentation of the first MacBook Pro, the Apple co-founder impressed the audience with his charging cable, designed to avoid accidents. Ten years after it disappeared, MagSafe still exists.

On a Mac: a charging cable designed to prevent accidents

First of all, remember that we spell MagSafe with a G, not MacSafe. The prefix “Mag” refers to magnets (magnets) and “Safe” can be translated as safety in English.

Until 2006, Mac laptops (iBooks and PowerBooks) were charged using a round connector. Starting with the 2006 MacBook Pro, they have adopted MagSafe. This technology has replaced the physical connector you plug inside your computer with a magnet with contacts. Just plug the MagSafe Charger into a Mac outlet to start recharging. What’s the interest? If someone gets tangled in a cable, they don’t take their computer with them. The magnet gives in and the cable pulls out without moving the Mac.

Over the years, MagSafe has proven itself to be one of the best features of Mac computers. She saved a lot of computers, especially in the educational environment.

Apple has released several versions of MagSafe. In 2012, the thinner MagSafe 2 appeared, and in 2021, MagSafe 3 with Macs equipped with the Apple Silicon chip.

MagSafe 2. // Source: Mike Stahl – Wikimedia Commons.

Between 2015 and 2021, Macs shipped without MagSafe (Apple decided to turn the page on MagSafe in favor of USB-C). After years of fan complaints, the brand has finally brought back the magnetic port, although Macs still support USB-C charging.

The MagSafe charger is included in the package. // Source: NumeramaAs of 2021, Macs (here the MacBook Air M2) charge again with MagSafe. // Source: Numerama

On the iPhone, MagSafe comes standard with accessories.

In 2020, Apple introduced MagSafe technology for the iPhone (all iPhones starting with the 12th have it). However, its purpose is not the same. The iPhone version of MagSafe has two uses:

  • Improve your wireless charging performance by accurately targeting a place on your smartphone that supports induction charging.
  • Allows you to hang accessories that are not necessarily related to charging. For example, there are iPhone stands, webcam adapters, wallets or MagSafe cases.

iPhone 12 MagSafe // Source: Louise Audrey for NumeramaThe official MagSafe iPhone charger is shaped like a circle. It can be placed in any direction on the back of iPhone to charge while in use. // Source: Louise Audrey for Numerama

On the iPhone, MagSafe is not standard. The Apple smartphone supports the same Qi wireless charging as all other Android devices. MagSafe is only a form offered by Apple for Qi charging, not required at all (you can also charge your AirPods with a MagSafe charger or a standard Qi charger).

Will there ever be an iPhone without a physical charging port? It’s possible, but MagSafe isn’t ready to replace Lightning or USB-C just yet. MagSafe on the iPhone is not yet popular enough, as evidenced by very few accessories that are compatible with this technology.

MagSafe coming to Android soon?

Is there an analogue of MagSafe from other brands? There are many. Microsoft has notably imitated the Mac’s magnetic charger with the Surface, while Realme has released MagDart, a clone of the iPhone charger. However, in the future, Apple’s MagSafe may become the norm.

The Qi2 charger has the same shape as the MagSafe charger. They have the same characteristics. // Source: NumeramaThe Qi2 charger has the same shape as the MagSafe charger. They have the same characteristics. // Source: Numerama

At CES 2023, the Wireless Power Consortium, to which we owe the wireless charging standard, announced that it has reached an agreement with Apple to make MagSafe for iPhone the future of wireless charging. Qi2, the successor to Qi, can take the form of a magnetic circle with the same power as MagSafe. In other words, Apple’s proprietary technology is about to become the norm.

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