Apple surprised us on Tuesday by just selling its latest iPhone accessory. The $ 99 MagSafe Battery Pack isn’t the first power cell we’ve seen that uses Apple’s new magnetic system to connect to the iPhone 12 family (Anker offers a 5,000 mAh pack with a slower 5W charge for $ 45.99), but it’s the first from Apple and can be charged up to 15W while it is installed.
MacRumor and 9to5Mac show supporting documents that help answer some of the immediate questions we have about this device, including confirmation that this will unlock the iPhone 12’s “secret” reverse charging feature. iFixit not finding additional hardware to add wireless charging, the FCC filing revealed the company’s plans to let you charge accessories while the iPhone 12 is installed and charged, complete with a diagram that now looks very familiar.
As explained by Apple’s support page:
Charge your MagSafe and iPhone batteries
If your iPhone and MagSafe Battery Pack need to be charged, you can charge them at the same time. Plug your MagSafe Battery into your iPhone and then plug the MagSafe Battery Pack into the power adapter. Using a power adapter of 20W or higher, the MagSafe Battery Pack can charge your iPhone with charging power up to 15W.
You can also charge both if you install the MagSafe Battery Pack to your iPhone, then plug your iPhone into a power source. You may want to charge this way if you need to connect iPhone to another device while charging, such as if you’re using wired CarPlay or transferring photos to a Mac.
If you charge your iPhone and MagSafe Battery Packs at the same time, your iPhone may charge up to 80% or higher before your MagSafe Battery Pack starts charging.
Notably, reverse charging only works (so far) with this accessory, after the next software update and only while the iPhone 12 is installed. The Google Pixel 5 can operate as a Qi pad when installed, and Samsung devices have been charging whatever you slap them for years, but now Apple users can enjoy similar features. Will this new capability also charge an AirPod, Apple Watch, or others in the future? Apple doesn’t say (yet).
In case you missed it, a picture of the battery pack shows its capacity specifications: 1460mAh, 7.62V, 11.13Wh. We’ll have to do some testing to find out exactly how much charging can be added in real life, but keep in mind that in this case, watt-hour charging is a more important figure to focus on, as seen with Apple’s old non-magnetic battery case.