Those of you who purchased an iPhone 12 in the past few days might consider holding off on using a MagSafe charger.
As a reminder, MagSafe is the new magnet-based wireless charging system that snaps to the back of the iPhone 12. It seems like a clever way of improving wireless charging by cutting out the process of perfectly aligning a phone on a pad.
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However, in a new support document, Apple outlined precautions one should take when using the charger. Among these risks is the potential for MagSafe to cause problems with the magnetic strips and RFID chips in credit cards and passports.
- Don't place credit cards, security badges, passports, or key fobs between your iPhone and MagSafe Charger, because this might damage magnetic strips or RFID chips in those items. If you have a case that holds any of these sensitive items, remove them before charging or make sure that they aren’t between the back of your device and the charger.
- As with other wireless chargers, your iPhone or MagSafe Charger might get slightly warmer while your iPhone charges. To extend the lifespan of your battery, if the battery gets too warm, software might limit charging above 80 percent. Your iPhone or MagSafe Charger could get warmer and charging could take longer after heavy use. Your iPhone will charge again when the temperature drops. Try moving your iPhone and charger to a cooler location.
- Your iPhone won't charge wirelessly when simultaneously connected to power via the Lightning port—instead, your iPhone will charge via the Lightning connector.
As you can see, there are some serious downsides to using MagSafe. Apple warns against putting anything between the back of your phone and the charger, which is confusing considering the company sells a leather card holder that connects to the iPhone 12 with a MagSafe connection.
Along with ruining magnetic strips, MagSafe could cause an iPhone to get so warm that it limits charging to 80%. Not mentioned by Apple, there are also reports of the circular charger leaving an imprint on cases made of soft materials, like leather or silicone.
These downsides limit the usefulness of the new charging method as you can't use your case as a wallet and any leather could get damaged. Yes, they are avoidable, however, for some, the potential risks of using MagSafe will outweigh the benefits of simplified wireless charging.