Going All in on MagSafe for the iPhone in the Office, Bedroom, and Car

Originally published at: Going All in on MagSafe for the iPhone in the Office, Bedroom, and Car - TidBITS

Since upgrading to an iPhone 15 Pro last year, Adam Engst has been working to incorporate MagSafe charging into his tech life, adding mounts and chargers that make it easier to use and charge the iPhone in different aspects of his life.

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I found this article interesting for several reasons:

  1. Even though I’ve been an iPhone 13 Plus user for the last few years I was not aware that it supported MagSafe technology! I have be using wireless Qi chargers mostly. I have one by my bed at night, and one by my MBP during the day. Except for the occasional tweaking of position to get it charging I have not had any problems with it. I’ve only used the lightning cable for charging while on travel.

  2. After reading the article, I wonder if I should maybe try a MagSafe charger. It’s faster and supposedly better for the battery, right?

  3. I glanced at prices for MagSafe chargers and was shocked by how expensive they are compared to Qi chargers!

  4. Your discussion of wallet cases and cards also was interesting because I’m trying to figure out the best way of making my wallet thinner. It bulges in my front pants pocket and lately I’ve been using a thinner wallet and trying to minimize the cards I need to carry. But there are some that are always needed. It seems that combining a wallet with an iPhone case would only make it worse though. Maybe that’s because I like carrying my iPhone in my shirt pocket rather than in my pants pocket.

  5. Side-note: I am always astonished by guys who carry their iPhones or wallets in their rear pants pocket! It seems like that is just asking for all sorts of problems. Not to mention being uncomfortable.


Yes and no. Good for the battery is slow charging. And since MagSafe is slower than wired charging with a beefy power supply that would help.

However, MagSafe like Qi is also wildly inefficient which you notice when you touch a device that’s been charged with MagSafe and notice just how hot it and the charging pad get (for my 15 it’s substantially hotter compared to a higher-power wired charge). And the one thing that’s really bad for a battery is heat.

So in terms of battery health, a wired charge with an old slow charger (<15W) is likely the best. But it’s perhaps inconvenient if you don’t have a full night to just let it trickle charge. IMHO MagSafe is all about convenience, not efficiency or battery health, which @ace gets into towards the end of his nice article.


I have always been puzzled by the popularity of inductive charging. First of all, it is not wireless charging - the charger still needs wires. The connection doesn’t involve a direct contact between conductors, thats all. I have a stand which provides a direct connection and it takes a fraction of a second to connect.

Inductive charging suffers from the loss of a great deal of efficiency. The whole thing is a transformer with poor coupling between primary and secondary, making the efficiency at most 60% with good alignment (probably provided by Apple’s “MagSafe” magnets). It can be worse with the old Qi chargers. For a company which prides itself on “green” technology, I wonder how many additional power plants would need to be created if a billion iPhones used inductive rather than direct connection?

The technology does make sense for tiny batteries in things like the Watch, AirPods and pencil. One of the strangest items Apple has made is the inductively coupled external batteries for the phone. With 50% efficiency, one has lost about one half of the external battery’s energy (requiring twice the weight for the same capacity) compared to a direct connection which could have been easy provided.

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I would concur.

There is a certain convenience associated with being able to just plunk a device on a charge-mat (when it works - MagSafe improves the situation greatly), but you’re right that this has nothing to do with inductive charging. I did the same thing decades ago with my Palm m515 and its charge/sync cradle - I had one connected to my computer and another on my nightstand, and it was incredibly convenient.

I suspect that what people really need is a convenient docking station. But mechanical docks have the problem that they generally have to be designed for one device and really can’t be portable across multiple devices (especially from multiple manufacturers).

Qi tries to solve this, but it’s got problems (slow charge rates, and difficulty positioning devices correctly on the pad). Apple’s MagSafe is much better, but it only works with Apple devices - which is fine for people with lots of Apple equipment, but not universally.

While I always charge with a wired connection, I understand why people like it. For one thing, physical ports are things that can fail over time with use, so I like that there is an option to wirelessly charge as a good alternative.

Still, that could be solved with physical connectors, like the docking pins on the back of an iPad for the Magic Keyboard. Those could easily be used for charging as well, and I know that Motorola made android phones that used them in the past.

Oh, and of course Apple’s MacBook MagSafe uses charging pins.

What an unfortunate choice of name for inductive charging (MagSafe)! When they ditched MagSafe in its proper usage, I didn’t think much of their decision, but the inductive-charging use of the term has nothing to do with safety.

I used to be quite keen on wireless charging, but noticed that it made the devices really warm when charging, sometimes remaining so overnight. I imagine this could not be good for the battery, so I reverted to wired charging since iPhone 14 Pro. The phones remained cooler (though still warm) while charging, and battery health seems to hold up pretty well. The iPhone 14 Pro is at 98% while my iPhone 15 Pro is still at 100%, though I noticed the figure can drop multiple percentage points from 100% at one go, like in the case of my MacBooks.

The only devices I still use wireless charging are the Apple Watch Ultra (no other option) and the AirPods Pro, both using the Apple Watch charger. The AirPods Pro case was considerably cooler when charging using the Apple Watch 5W charger compared to full-sized Qi chargers.

The Belkin Stage mount for MacBooks work rather well for me. It usually took me a little while to align the orientation such that the phone is reasonably horizontal; the adjustment is continuous and does not “snap in place” into horizontal or vertical position. While Belkin does not recommend using the mount with an iPhone case, I found it works well with iPhone 15 Pro and less so for iPhone 14 Pro; the latter would slowly tilt out of the perfectly horizontal position. Like Adam mentioned, the iPhone gets really warm and consumes battery power rapidly while running Continuity Camera.

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I use a slightly different Sodi mount for continuity camera with the Apple TV. It’s not a charging mount; I have been using my spare iPhone 13 Pro for this so my normal phone doesn’t have it’s battery drained, though it would be easy to run a charging cable to the phone itself as I do a FaceTime call.

I also have a Belkin MagSafe bicycle mount for my indoor bike for when I do interval workouts, plus a couple of MagSafe wallets (I’m not happy with any of them that I’ve tried and keep going back to Apple’s), but otherwise I don’t have any MagSafe products, and none that include charging.

I have an Xr and, it does do the all the stuff of newer phones. I have a tilted Qi charger and when I put the Xr on the charger sideways, it shows the time and charges at night. But the Qr does not have magsafe. Is there a clamp it (versus mag it) solution for putting on my LG monitor to use as a web cam horizontally? I don’t want to stick a piece of metal in it, which will render my three Qi chargers useless.

I’ve not used it, but a quick search on Amazon reveals this one: Amazon.com

Well, as I said in the article, it really is easier and more convenient. Connecting an iPhone to a MagSafe charger is a one-handed operation, whereas plugging in a cable is always a two-handed operation. Sometimes that’s no big deal, but other times, like in bed or in the car, it’s much more problematic. (Really, don’t plug or unplug an iPhone while driving.)

As for the term wireless, there are usually wires involved in so-called “wireless” situations. Your Wi-Fi router has a minimum of a power cable and an Ethernet cable attached. Your Bluetooth Magic Keyboard has to plug in to charge every so often. Etc, etc. The point is that there’s no wire connected to the device in its primary usage scenario, so it’s not problematic to call inductive charging wireless.

I just did a 90-minute Zoom meeting with my iPhone 15 Pro on a MagSafe-equipped Continuity Camera mount, and while it should have been charging, when it came off, it was at 30%, which struck me as low. I verified later that the charger was working, so I almost wonder if the iPhone stops charging during Continuity Camera to avoid heating up too much? I have to think about how to test this…

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After reading Adam’s article, I bought the KU XIU X55 Fast Wireless Charger from Amazon, and I have to say that I am absolutely delighted by it.

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