Apple on Monday unveiled the 2021 MacBook Pro during its October event. Unlike the iPhone 13 event last month, the Mac rumors were all correct. Even the last-minute reports that said 120Hz ProMotion displays and the iPhone infamous notch were heading to the MacBook Pro. That also means that, yes, the MacBook Pros got many of its missing ports back, including the MagSafe magnetic charging connector.
On Monday, Apple showed off MagSafe 3 — a new magnetic charger that comes with a few exciting features that Apple didn’t have enough time to explain during the stream.
Apple launched the original MagSafe in 2006
The new MacBook Pro delivers a new design that includes flatter sides and a display with a notch at the top. The laptop is slightly thicker and slightly heavier than previous models as well.
When it comes to connectivity, the new laptops feature seven ports each. There’s an HDMI port, USB-C Thunderbolt port, and an SD card slot on the right. On the left are two USB-C Thunderbolt ports and the headphone jack. But back on the left side is where we’ll find the MagSafe 3 magnetic connector, and it looks a lot like previous MagSafe adapters.
However, the 2021 MacBook Pro features a different type of MagSafe technology than its predecessors.
The MacBook Pro’s new MagSafe powers
First of all, the MagSafe 3 cable is a USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable. That means it will work with absolutely any USB-C charger you might have around the house, as long as it can deliver the necessary power output.
Apple said on stage that you can recharge the 2021 MacBook Pro models via USB-C or MagSafe 3. It’s up to the user to decide, and that’s why the MagSafe 3 cable connects via USB-C to the charger. Or better said, the charger continues to feature a USB-C port, that will work with any USB-C-to-USB-C chargers you already own
More interesting is the cable’s material. It’s not plastic, as with previous MagSafe cables. Instead, we’re getting a braided cable that Apple started using a while ago.
Why MagSafe 3 charging is better than USB-C
The obvious advantage of MagSafe charging is that it brings back that peace of mind that you used to have with MacBooks. The magnetic connection ensures that you won’t pull the entire laptop off your desk when accidentally yanking that wire. But USB-C charging support means you won’t have to worry about forgetting the MagSafe 3 cable at home.
Where the MagSafe 3 charger really shines is charging speed. Apple explained on stage that the new magnetic charger will recharge your laptop’s battery even faster than before. You only need 30 minutes to reach a 50% charge on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. And both laptops deliver even battery life than before, despite featuring more powerful M1 Pro or M1 Max SoCs.
What’s important to take advantage of the faster charging speeds is having the correct power adapter. The 14-inch MacBook Pro features a 70-watt-hour battery and ships with a 67W power adapter (M1 Pro with 8-core CPU) or a 96W USB-C power adapter (M1 Pro or M1 Max). The 100-watt-hour battery inside the 16-inch MacBook Pro needs the brand new 140W USB-C power adapter that ships with the laptop.