Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Apple’s next MagSafe accessory might be the most exciting one yet

Published Feb 19th, 2021 11:11PM EST
iPhone 12 MagSafe
Image: Apple Inc.

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • Apple has been working for at least a year on a MagSafe accessory that should be popular among iPhone 12 owners: An external battery pack.
  • Apple has launched iPhone battery cases for older iPhone models, but the new accessory would not double as a protective case.
  • The wireless charger would snap to the back of the iPhone 12 for charging purposes.

The iPhone 12 has several advantages over its predecessors, and that’s something anyone could say about the newest iPhone flagship selling in stores. But the iPhone 12 brings several “firsts.” It’s the first iPhone to feature a significant redesign since the iPhone X. The iPhone 12 series is the first to feature only OLED screens and the first to support 5G. The 2020 iPhones 12 Pros are also the first to ship with 128GB of base storage, 6GB of RAM, and LiDAR cameras. And all iPhone 12 models come with 5nm chips and a MagSafe wireless charging.

The latter supports faster wireless charging and opens the door to new accessories for the iPhone. Apple has already introduced a few accessories last fall, including a MagSafe charger, MagSafe cases, and a wallet that snaps right on the back of the handset. A new report says that Apple is developing an even more exciting accessory that would work only with MagSafe iPhones, an external battery pack that could recharge the battery wirelessly on the go.

People have been using external battery packs to recharge mobile devices for years. Some of them come in the form of bulky battery cases, and the iPhone has been the target of such accessories. Even Apple launched its own Smart Battery Cases for previous iPhone versions. But those battery cases had a significant “flaw:” the design. They added extra bulk to the device. And they were not exactly good-looking. The Smart cases are still available for various iPhone models, retailing between $99 and $129 on Apple’s site.

The magnetic ring on the back of the iPhone 12 would allow accessory makers to create battery packs that can attach to the iPhone only when the battery needs to be recharged. This is the kind of product that Apple is reportedly developing.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has been developing the accessory for at least a year. The company planned to launch it in the months after the iPhone 12 launch, although there’s no definitive launch date for the product.

The report notes that the magnetic system is strong enough to keep the battery pack in place, but software issues have slowed the development. The iPhone apparently indicated erroneously that the pack was overheating while in use.

A different problem concerns compatibility with protective cases. Unlike previous iPhone battery cases that Apple made, this MagSafe wireless charging pack would not act as a case. But users might still want to protect the iPhone with regular cases. Apple has also been dealing with issues related to using the accessory with iPhones with and without cases.

Apple has not made any official mention of the MagSafe accessory, and there’s no indication that Apple would launch the device anytime soon. A recent iOS 14.5 leak did include a reference to a battery pack that Apple later removed.

The report also notes that Apple has discussed adding reverse wireless charging support to the iPhone so that the smartphone could recharge Apple Watch and AirPods wirelessly. However, that functionality is “unlikely” in the near future.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.