iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack tidbits: Capacity, charging speed, simultaneous and reverse charging, more

In a surprise launch, Apple debuted its MagSafe Battery Pack for the iPhone 12 lineup with a clean white design. Let’s dive into all the details on the new accessory like the capacity and how much charge it might offer, charging speed, simultaneous and reverse charging, what’s in the box, and more.

Table of contents

It’s been a nine-month wait for Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack and while we’ve seen a range of third-party MagSafe compatible alternatives launch Apple’s entry marks the first that’s MagSafe official.

The official MagSafe Battery priced at a premium $99 comes with other benefits like Apple’s clean design (only in white), up to 15W charging speeds, simultaneous passthrough and reverse charging, and more.

iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack tidbits

What’s in the box?

No surprise here but the only thing in the box is the MagSafe Battery Pack itself. Apple recommends charging it with a 20W or higher power adapter via the Lightning port.

Apple also recommends charging the Battery Pack fully before first use.

How it works

Like Apple’s Smart Battery Cases, the MagSafe Battery Pack automatically starts charging your iPhone 12 when you attach it to the back of your device with a charge status showing up on the lock screen.

Status icons also show up for the new battery pack in the Today View and widgets with iOS 14.7.

Power output

Interestingly, while the MagSafe Battery Pack does offer up to 15W charging speeds, that only happens when used while plugged into a 20W or higher power brick. When using the Battery Pack on the go, Apple says it will charge iPhone 12 at 5W.

Battery capacity

TL;DR: Based on all the specs plus and an efficiency assumption below, we think it’s likely the Apple MagSafe Battery will offer a bit under one full iPhone 12 charge and possibly closer to one full charge for the iPhone 12 mini.

Apple is often vague with details around battery specs in its product listings. For example, with something like the iPhone 11 Smart Battery Case, Apple says it “delivers up to 50% longer battery life.”

However, with the MagSafe Battery Pack, Apple doesn’t give any guidance on what to expect as far as charge capacity. That may be for a few reasons, including that it works with all four iPhone 12 models which all have different sized batteries and we’re talking about wireless charging which includes some loss of power during transfer.

But Apple did reveal the raw capacity and power specs in an image of the battery pack:

  • 1460mAh, 7.62V, 11.13Wh (could be two 1460mAh cells at around 3.81V for the 11.13Wh total)
Apple MagSafe Battery Pack tidbits - battery capacity

While the raw 1460mAh spec may sound low at first when comparing to other companies that offer around 5000mAh or even the internal 2815mAh of the iPhone 12/12 Pro, here are two things to keep in mind.

First, Apple’s MagSafe Battery is designed with 7.62V, almost twice the voltage of alternatives on the market. Second, the capacity to deliver power over time – watt-hours (Wh) is a better metric to understand what Apple may deliver here. The MagSafe Battery’s 11.13Wh compares to the iPhone 12/12 Pro batteries having 10.75Wh.

And the iPhone 12 mini has an 8.57Wh battery with the iPhone 12 Pro Max featuring a 14.13Wh battery. Long story short, if Apple has a high efficiency (around 70-80%), after a bit of energy loss from the wireless transfer, the new MagSafe battery could possibly give close to a full charge for iPhone 12 mini, bit under a full charge for the 12/Pro and a bit less than that for the 12 Pro Max.

Simultaneous passthrough and reverse charging

A new support document describes how simultaneous charging works of iPhone and the Battery Pack:

If both your iPhone and MagSafe Battery Pack need to be charged, you can charge them at the same time. Attach your MagSafe Battery Pack to your iPhone and then plug the MagSafe Battery Pack into a power adapter. Using a 20W or higher power adapter, the MagSafe Battery Pack can charge your iPhone with up to 15W of charging power.

More interesting though, is what sounds like reverse wireless charging from iPhone 12 to the MagSafe Battery Pack (which would be a first):

You can also charge both if you attach your MagSafe Battery Pack to your iPhone, then plug your iPhone into a power source. 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.

We’ve reached out to Apple for clarification on the reverse charging feature.

More

Further tips and details from Apple in the accessories support document include:

  • MagSafe Battery Pack was designed to attach directly to your iPhone or through a case with MagSafe. If you use any other case that holds items like credit cards, remove them before charging with your MagSafe Battery Pack.
  • Your iPhone might get slightly warmer while it charges. To extend the lifespan of your battery, if the battery gets too warm, software might limit charging above 80%. Your iPhone will charge again when the temperature drops. Try moving your iPhone and charger to a cooler location.
  • MagSafe Battery Pack includes a charge management feature to help maintain battery health in cases where your MagSafe Battery Pack is connected to power for prolonged periods of time.
  • If you have Optimized Battery Charging turned on, you’ll see a notification on the Lock screen that says when your iPhone will be fully charged. If you need to have your iPhone fully charged sooner, touch and hold the notification, then tap Charge Now.
  • If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with your MagSafe Battery Pack, the case might show imprints from compression of the leather. This is normal, but if you’re concerned about this, we suggest using a non-leather case.  

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