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MagSafe does work with older iPhones, but it probably isn’t worth it

Apple’s new MagSafe magnetic wireless charging solution is designed for the iPhone 12, but thanks to Qi compatibility it’ll also work with older iPhones.

However, an early test of the technology on an iPhone 11, suggests it’ll probably only be suitable in an emergency.

The tech is advertised to wirelessly charge an iPhone 12 at 15W, but a test conducted by one YouTuber using an iPhone 11 handset returned a meagre 0.96W charging rate. Using the new iPhone SE, the Max Tech channel mustered just 1.82W with the £40 official Apple MagSafe charger, which went on sale alongside the iPhone 12.

Related: Best iPhone 2020

That means it’d probably take an entire day to fully recharge an iPhone 8 and above using the MagSafe charger for Qi wireless charging.

On its online shop (via 9to5Mac) Apple says: “The MagSafe Charger maintains compatibility with Qi charging, so it can be used to wirelessly charge your iPhone 8 or later, as well as AirPods models with a wireless charging case, as you would with any Qi-certified charger.”

The bespoke MagSafe tech itself is much more advanced than the Qi solution. Within the iPhone 12 casing, there’s a copper-graphite shield, a magnet array, a polycarbonate housing, a charging coil, an e-shield and an NFC component alongside other bespoke tech. In the centre of all that is an alignment magnet that will ensure the charger sits in the optimal place for maximum charging efficiency.

There’s already a wide range of MagSafe accessories on sale, including a leather credit card wallet that can be affixed to the iPhone, a new leather sleeve case that uses the magnet to simply display the clock through a peep hole. There’s also a new MagSafe Duo combo charger designed for charging both an Apple Watch and an iPhone. Belkin is the first third-party manufacturer to offer solutions.

MagSafe was previously the means of charging MacBook laptops but was discontinued in favour of the USB-C charging tech. We’re happy to see it back for the iPhone 12.

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