In a new support document spotted by MacRumors, Apple has quietly warned users that there are some significant downsides to its innovative new MagSafe wireless charging system, that extend beyond concerns about its weak magnets.
In a series of bullet points at the end of the document, Apple warns buyers of iPhone 12 series phones that MagSafe can:
- Increase heat build up and restrict charging, saying if your iPhone battery gets “too warm” charging will be limited to 80% capacity.
- Damage the magnetic strips and RFID chips in credit cards, security badges, passports and key fobs if they come between the back of your iPhone and the MagSafe charger. Apple sells a MagSafe Wallet, so be very careful.
- Damage leather cases used with the charger by leaving “circular imprints”. Similar damage to silicon cases has also been reported after just a few days, so questions must also be asked about what this will do to the glass backs of case-less iPhone 12 models over time.
While accidentally wiping your credit cards is clearly the standout fear for many, the last point (which Apple leaves to the very end of the support document and writes in smaller gray text) seems equally pressing.
Replacing damaged iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro rear glass costs $449 (up $50 on the iPhone 11) and $549 respectively. Yes you can buy Apple’s AppleCarePlus insurance policy (iPhone 12 – $7.99pm / $149 upfront; iPhone 12 Pro – $11.49pm / $219 upfront), but wear and tear won’t be covered, making a MagSafe-compatible case essential and Apple prices them from $50.
And the costs keep mounting from here. The same support document notes that “your iPhone charges less quickly [with MagSafe] when using a power adapter that provides less than 20W”. Apple has never sold a 20W charger with any previous iPhone and chargers are now removed (ditto EarPods). So that’ll be a further $20.
Yes, there’s a lot to like about MagSafe and, as third party accessories increase, its potential is massive. That said, Apple’s warnings around it are significant and anyone still unsure of whether to upgrade to an iPhone 12 model, may just want to see if a second generation of MagSafe launches with the iPhone 13 next year.
And, given what Apple has already confirmed about the iPhone 13, that could be a very smart move indeed.