Best MagSafe accessory 2021: Top picks for iPhone 13

Apple now has a total of eight iPhone models — across the
iPhone 12

and
iPhone 13 lineups

— that use its MagSafe technology to attach accessories or wirelessly charge the phones. 


MagSafe

uses a combination of magnets and NFC to both hold an accessory in place and recognize it. For example, the MagSafe wireless charger uses magnets to align itself perfectly with the charging coil inside the phone, ensuring you never wake up again to a dead battery because you didn’t precisely line up your phone on a Qi charging pad. There’s also a
MagSafe wallet

that attaches to the back of the phone, integrating with Apple’s Find My network to remember the last location it was attached to your phone. 

Since MagSafe launched at the end of 2020, we’ve seen a lot of accessories released from companies big and small. Below are some of our favorites.


For everyone (seriously, you’re going to need one of these)


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Apple’s MagSafe connectors all require a 20W USB-C wall adapter in order to charge at the maximum speeds. It’s confusing because the 20W adapter looks just like the 19W adapter Apple included with the iPhone 11 — unless you look at the label on the plug itself. The 20W adapter will have “20W” in a square next to the prongs. To be clear, the 19W adapter will work with the MagSafe charger, but charging will be slightly slower. If you’re using MagSafe to charge overnight, it’s a non-issue. 


For those just looking for a magnet that charges their phone


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This seemingly simple disk was the first Apple MagSafe accessory designed for charging an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13. On one end is the new MagSafe connector, with a USB-C connector on the other end. The disk connects to the back of your phone, holding itself in place and ensuring proper alignment. There’s a lot of tech packed into the MagSafe Charger, but you wouldn’t know by looking at it. And that’s a good thing. 


For those who want to multitask


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The MagSafe Duo is your one-stop charging station made by Apple. It’s no AirPower, but that’s alright. On one side is a MagSafe connector that can charge your iPhone, and on the other side is an Apple Watch charging connector that lays flat or folds out so you can place your watch on its side as it charges. 

It folds in half to make it easy to take with you when traveling and has a lone USB-C port on the back that can power both charging connectors. Just make sure you use a 20W or higher power adapter with it. Also of note, for some reason, the Duo doesn’t work with Apple’s 29W charging adapter.

I’ve been using the Duo for about a year now and have had zero issues with it. I’ve particularly enjoyed traveling with it because it’s a single connection for both of my Apple devices. 


For the one who has many Apple goodies


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Belkin’s 2-in-1 MagSafe charging station charges your iPhone, Apple Watch, and wireless charging capable AirPods. It comes in black or white and includes its own power adapter, so you don’t have to worry about which adapter you have and if it’s compatible. 


For the road warrior


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Belkin’s MagSafe Car Mount doesn’t charge your phone while in use, but it does show just how strong the magnets are and the promising potential of what can be done. I tested it for over a month and liked it; I have yet to have my phone fall off the mount when going over bumps. My only complaint was that when my iPhone 12 Pro was attached to the mount, the combination of the two devices was heavy enough that it pointed the air vents down, no matter what I tried to stop it.

If you’re looking for a car mount that holds your phone in place without any clamps, and you have a MagSafe compatible case, you can’t go wrong with Belkin’s offering. 


For those who want the MagSafe wallet, but smarter


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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

When the original MagSafe wallet launched, I bought it fully expecting it to be a waste of $60. But almost a year later, I still use the MagSafe wallet, and I just bought the latest version. Alongside the iPhone 13, Apple released an updated MagSafe wallet that integrates with the company’s Find My network. Using NFC, the wallet is linked to your iCloud account, and roughly one minute after you detach it from your iPhone, you’ll get an alert to let you know it’s no longer attached. The notification will also include the address of where the wallet was last attached. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than having no information about where your wallet was last seen. 

I have always been a fan of wallets that hold up to, maybe, five cards max, so shifting down to three cards was a slight adjustment, but I’ve learned to make it work. 


For those who love a classic


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Apple, Inc.

Apple’s MagSafe battery pack is one of the smallest packs available, even though pictures can make it look large. Inside are two battery cells with 11.13 Wh of capacity. It’s not capable of charging an iPhone from 0 to 100, but you should get a roughly 50% boost, depending on the phone you own. 

You’ll need to have iOS 14.7 or above installed in order for the pack to fully work with your iPhone. For example, when you place the pack on a compatible iPhone, you’ll see an animation on your screen letting you know how much of a charge the pack has. Your phone will then automatically begin charging

There’s a Lightning port on the bottom of the pack for charging it. If you use a 20W adapter, you can charge both the pack and the iPhone at the same time by plugging the connector into your iPhone. Your iPhone will then use reverse wireless charging to top off the battery pack — the first time we’ve seen such a feature in use from any iPhone model. 


For those who want to show off the iPhone 12 while protecting it


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It’s a simple, hard plastic case that you can see through — except on the back, where you can see an outline of where the magnets are inside your phone (and in turn, inside the case). It’s a little slick, but sturdy, and reassuring that it will do a lot to protect your phone should you drop it. 

What else should I know about MagSafe?

MagSafe is simple, and that’s what’s so great about it. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 have magnets built-in, and we’re finally starting to see a consistent stream of MagSafe-compatible accessories from vendors big and small. 

If you plan on using a MagSafe charger or attachment along with a case, make sure you buy a MagSafe compatible case. That means that the case has magnets of its own built-in, and it will allow you to still charge your phone or keep a MagSafe wallet attached. 

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