Apple’s iPhone 12 has a new and quicker method of wireless charging, called MagSafe, but the fastest method is still with a wired charger. Since none of the new iPhone models come with a charger, it’s important to understand which wired and wireless chargers are compatible and how they work before making a purchase.
Apple iPhone models have supported wireless charging since 2017, when the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X were launched. Until that time, charging had only been possible via Apple’s special connectors. The first type was wider than a large USB-A connector and was called an iPhone Dock. Many were relieved when the small and advanced Lightning port was revealed along with the iPhone 5 in 2012. Lightning had many of the advances of USB-C, but Apple preempted it by at least a couple of years. Proprietary technology can often move faster than international standards, so that isn’t surprising. However, Apple admits that USB-C makes sense for charging and suggests iPhone 12 customers use a USB-C charger.
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Apple’s new iPhone 12 comes with only the smartphone and a charging cable in the box. The cable has a Lightning connector on one end and a USB-C on the other. The idea is that most people already own a USB-C charger that may be better than the 5-watt chargers that Apple historically included with an iPhone purchase. Rather than use a slow charger, the customer should use the higher-capacity charger that comes with an iPad or laptop. Also, the iPhone 12 features the newly introduced MagSafe wireless charging that supplies twice as much power as the older Qi charging of the iPhone 8 through iPhone 11. A wired connection is still the fastest way to charge, though.
MagSafe Charging & Safe Wired Chargers Explained
MagSafe is Apple’s new alignment and charging technology. When the iPhone 12 is moved toward a MagSafe charger, embedded magnets guide the user to the perfect placement for optimum charging. The phone senses the connection, chimes and shows a charging symbol to indicate it is in progress. It’s easy, reliable and twice as fast as wireless charging on older iPhone models. For anyone that owns an older Qi charger, it will work with the iPhone 12, but will simply take longer to charge and there is no help with alignment. If debating over whether to get a MagSafe charger, it may help to know that it can charge other devices that support Qi charging, including an older iPhone, wireless AirPods case, or even an Android phone.
When using Apple’s included USB-C to Lightning cable, fast charging works with Apple USB-C chargers that supply from 18-watts through 96-watts. An 18-watt charger comes with most newer iPad models. MacBook and MacBook Pro have even higher capacity. Anything over 20-watts provides no extra benefit, but shouldn’t cause any harm. Third-party USB-C power adapters can also be used if they support USB Power Delivery (PD). While PD might not sound like a specification, it is, so look for the acronym PD or the words ‘Power Delivery’ before using a third-party charger. Lower power chargers may be able to charge an iPhone 12, but will be much slower. For an iPhone 12, it’s best to choose a powerful USB-C charger or a MagSafe wireless charger.
Next: Does MagSafe Work With Any iPhone Case?