First impressions: Apple’s MagSafe battery pack isn’t perfect, but you’ll probably still want to get one


9to5Mac 20 July, 2021 - 10:30am 7 views

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While the iPhone 13 series will not bring back Touch ID, it is said to come with some major upgrades over last year's device. This year's Apple iPhone series is said to come with a 120Hz display, and will come with bigger batteries across lineup. News18Apple iPhone 13 Will Not Have Touch ID: Everything We Know About This Year's iPhone

- Jul. 20th 2021 8:30 am PT

When Apple first unveiled the iPhone 12 and MagSafe back in October, it immediately hit me that the perfect use case was for battery packs. Finally, nine months later, an official Apple MagSafe battery pack is here. We’ve got our hands on one and have plenty of thoughts to share.

First and foremost, the battery pack isn’t silicone like Apple’s previous smart battery cases. It’s a soft-touch plastic that feels unlike any other existing Apple product. In fact, it feels almost like the inside of the original 2006 white MacBook. The white soft-touch plastic is also an entirely different shade of white than Apple’s white silicone case. It’s much lighter and much more explicitly white. So if you were planning on using the MagSafe battery pack with a white MagSafe case, just know that they don’t quite match. It won’t look as seamless as the old white smart battery cases.

The battery pack itself is thicker than the iPhone 12 inside of a MagSafe silicone case. It’s pretty chunky. It’s also fairly heavy and certainly adds a bunch of weight to your light iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini. It certainly will make the stainless steel pro models feel even heavier than they already do. But keep in mind that this battery pack is easily removable — that’s the main benefit of MagSafe. Unlike the old battery cases, you can keep a case on and remove the battery when you don’t want the extra weight.

On the other side of the battery pack, there’s a smooth silicone gray pad that prevents the back of your iPhone from getting scratched up. On the bottom of the battery pack, there’s a lightning connector that lets you charge the battery on its own or charge both your iPhone and the battery pack together. There’s also a small LED next to the connector like the one on the AirPods charging case that indicates the power status.

The MagSafe battery pack fits nicely on the back of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Max sizes, but it can feel a bit awkward because of how thick it is. On the iPhone 12 mini, though, it feels more natural. This is because the MagSafe battery pack is just as wide as the iPhone 12 mini, so it feels flush with the case. One concern I have is that you can see the thin white edges sticking out from the front of the iPhone 12 mini. This is because the magnets let the pack shift around a bit.

The MagSafe battery pack snaps right onto the back of your iPhone 12 like the MagSafe wallet, although the magnets are significantly stronger. While charging both the battery pack and the iPhone together, you can feel the battery get warm. This shouldn’t be surprising given that the battery is using Qi charging coils.

When the battery is connected to an iPhone, you can connect a lightning charger directly to the battery, or you can plug it into the iPhone. As we’ve written about, when you plug your lightning connector into your iPhone, you can use it to wirelessly charge the battery pack in reverse.

Since the MagSafe battery pack is basically just a Qi charger with magnets, it can charge any other Qi-compatible device. For example, you can plop your AirPods or AirPods Pro on the MagSafe battery pack if you remove it from your iPhone. Technically you could also charge Android phones, older Qi-compatible iPhones, and other wireless earbuds with Qi charging cases. This is a really great bonus that comes with the battery being easily removable.

The MagSafe battery pack integrates with iOS 14.7, so you’ll see its charge in the battery widget and on the Lock Screen. Unfortunately, iOS 15 beta 3 doesn’t include the necessary components to correctly show the battery pack’s status. Although you can see the charge with a different icon. Hopefully, we’ll get beta 4 soon. In the meantime, you can see what the MagSafe battery pack looks like in the battery widget below from an image on Apple’s website.

When charging your AirPods on the MagSafe battery pack, you’ll see their charge status in the battery widget as well. This is expected behavior, of course, since they already do that when on another Qi charger.

The MagSafe battery pack is far from perfect. It’s thick, and it’s heavy, but it provides necessary utility. This is an Apple product that absolutely tackles function first and form second. There are surely plenty of reasons behind Apple’s decisions with this accessory, particularly due to limitations and safety concerns that come with Qi technology. The battery itself weighs about a quarter of a pound, so it’s not particularly light. It’s 2.5″ x 3.75″ and just under half an inch thick.

Lots of folks were wondering if the MagSafe battery pack would work when you have a case on your iPhone. The answer is yes! At the moment, we’ve only been able to test the MagSafe battery pack with Apple’s first-party cases or approved third-party MagSafe cases. It likely won’t work well with cases that aren’t Apple-approved.

If you charge your iPhone using an iPad Air or iPad Pro, keep in mind that you cannot charge it when the MagSafe battery pack is connected. You can charge them separately, but not together.

If you were a fan of Apple’s most recent smart battery cases and frequently used the built-in shutter button, you’ll be sad to know there isn’t one on the MagSafe battery pack. Instead, you’ll just have to use the volume buttons.

In terms of battery capacity, we expect that the MagSafe pack can recharge an iPhone 12 mini entirely while it can likely recharge the other three models enough to save you in a pinch. We’ll be back in a few days to let you know how the battery performs, but it’s too early to tell.

The MagSafe battery pack is available for pick up at Apple retail stores starting today for $99. You can also order one online and have it shipped to your home. The battery pack is available in one color, white. So you can’t pick one up to match your red or black MagSafe cases.

Are you picking up a MagSafe battery pack for your iPhone 12? Let us know in the comments below!

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Parker Ortolani is a marketing strategist and product designer based in New York. In addition to contributing to 9to5mac, he also oversees product development and marketing for BuzzFeed. A longtime reader, Parker is excited to share his product concepts and thoughts with the 9to5mac audience.

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Every single new iPhone 13 Pro color might’ve just leaked

BGR 20 July, 2021 - 06:01pm

In the early days of the iPhone, Apple kept the color options simple. Users could either select a white or black iPhone. Over time, Apple thankfully decided to spruce things up. Apple’s first foray into color iPhone models began with the iPhone 5C.

According to a leaker on a South Korean message board, Apple’s iPhone 13 will be available in the following colors: Black, Silver, Rose Gold, and Sunset Gold.

The Sunset Gold option is said to have something of a bronze feel. If this sounds familiar, it’s because a rumor from back in June said Apple was planning to release a device with an orange hue. More than likely, both rumors are describing the same device.

Additionally, we’ve also seen rumblings that the iPhone 13 will be available in a Rose Pink hue, which could easily be the Rose Gold color option referenced above.

As others have pointed out, iPhone color rumors typically originate from supply chain sources within China. To that end, Apple sometimes releases exclusive colors within the Chinese market. Consequently, it’s more than likely that we’ll see iPhone 13 color options not listed above.

It’s highly probable that the list above only pertains to the iPhone 13 Pro lineup. In other words, expect as varied a color selection on the regular iPhone 13 models as we saw with the iPhone 12 lineup. As it stands now, the iPhone 12 is available in blue, white, black, green, purple, and red.

In contrast to years past, all iPhone 13 models will launch in September. Recall that the coronavirus pandemic forced Apple to stagger the launch of its iPhone 12 lineup. With the pandemic hopefully in the rearview mirror, the production hiccups that plagued the iPhone 12 will likely not come into play when iPhone 13 production kicks into high gear.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

iPhone doesn’t unlock your Apple Watch after updating to iOS 14.7? It's not just you...

9to5Mac 20 July, 2021 - 07:25am

If you’re finding that your iPhone doesn’t unlock your Apple Watch after updating to iOS 14.7, it’s not just you. Apple has admitted that there’s a bug in the latest public release of iOS that affects iPhones with Touch ID instead of Face ID

The Apple Watch automatically locks when you remove it from your wrist, an important security measure given that you can use it to make contactless payments without authentication, as well as access personal data in your apps.

When you first put your Watch on, there are two ways to unlock it: Enter your passcode on the Watch, or unlock your iPhone. The latter is often easier, so many people choose to do this.

If you have an older iPhone model with Touch ID, a bug prevents this from working. Apple acknowledges this issue in a new support document.

When you have Unlock with iPhone turned on, unlocking your iPhone unlocks your Apple Watch as long as you’re wearing it. An issue in iOS 14.7 affects the ability of iPhone models with Touch ID to unlock Apple Watch.

The company doesn’t have a solution at present, merely telling you to use your passcode instead.

If you experience this issue, just type the passcode directly on your Apple Watch to unlock it. This is required only one time, as long as you keep your Apple Watch on your wrist. If you forgot your passcode, you need to reset your Apple Watch.

Unfortunately, things get more complicated for enterprise users.

If your Apple Watch is paired to an iPhone with a Mobile Device Management (MDM) profile that requires an alphanumeric passcode, you won’t be able to type a passcode directly on your watch.

Follow these steps if you can’t unlock your Apple Watch:

MDM administrators can defer updating supervised iPhones with Touch ID until the release of the upcoming software update that addresses this issue.

Apple says the problem will be fixed in an upcoming software update.

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Apple Watch is Apple's wearable is designed to help you stay active, motivated, and connected. It runs watchOS, and it comes in 40mm and 44mm size options.

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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