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Not-quite-MagSafe: hands-on with Mophie’s Snap adapter

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The not-so-good

Wish your old phone could charge like a new iPhone? Mophie has an add-on to bring MagSafe to more devices. Does it work?

Sometimes, it’s the little things that get us excited, and often they’re unexpected.

We were super excited by Ag’s first truly wireless earphones, not because we need more wireless earphones, but because they brought with them a month of battery life or a week straight, whichever you could hit first. Last year, we were excited by the concept of Gallium Nitride, the new “GaN” technology that allows laptop and tablet power packs to get smaller thanks to a new material that doesn’t get as hot as silicon.

And this year, we’re excited by something Mophie has introduced: an adaptor that brings a circle of magnets to any device that doesn’t have Apple’s MagSafe, giving it the ability to connect to a MagSafe charger.

It’s a bit of a cheat, because you don’t actually get MagSafe compatibility, merely just the magnetic latch that the connection demands. However you do get support for MagSafe in a way that means MagSafe chargers can hold to a phone that doesn’t natively support it.

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MagSafe’s native compatibility

Of course, MagSafe is actually only in Apple’s devices, and only the really recent ones.

As of the middle of 2021, you can find MagSafe’s magnetic charger built into the middle back of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the iPhone 12 Mini. You can probably expect it in future models, as well, but to begin with, it’s just the 12 range, and not the models before it.

Apple has supported wireless charging in the iPhone from the iPhone 8 and above, and MagSafe chargers will charge those wirelessly, but they won’t latch on using the same magnets. Rather, MagSafe allows Apple’s special magnetic chargers to hold on in the right place to guarantee a consistent flow of wireless connectivity. That and that alone is what’s so special about the magnetic wireless charging technology that is MagSafe.

So it exists on the iPhone 12 range, but not the models before it, and it doesn’t exist at all on Android. Because MagSafe is just a wireless charger with magnets, MagSafe chargers will work on Android phones, but not in a magnetic way. Not until you add something.

How to add MagSafe to any device… kinda

Mophie’s introduction of Snap Adaptors can actually bring the MagSafe magnet to a device, allowing you to mount it to the back of a phone and suddenly have those magnets kick in. They arrive with every Mophie Snap gadget, so you get one in case you don’t have it built into your iPhone.

It’s a pretty easy install — line the Snap Adaptor up with the back of your phone, roughly where the wireless charger will be, and then peel the adhesive off and snap it on — and you suddenly have a MagSafe connector on your device. Android, iPhone 11, whatever, it’s pretty easy.

You use a cardboard layout to position the Mophie Snap Adapter.

But you only have the magnetic connection and not the constant flow of wireless connectivity. What’s more, if you don’t have wireless charging on your device, Mophie’s MagSafe Snap Adaptor won’t suddenly give you that, either.

Nor will it switch on the neat circle animation of MagSafe on a model of iPhone that doesn’t natively support it: an iPhone 11 Pro Max won’t light up the same way an iPhone 12 Pro Max will, but it can charge wirelessly all the same.

Yet this does bring MagSafe to any device, that much is clear, meaning MagSafe stands can suddenly hold up a phone that haven’t arrived with MagSafe built in.

While the Snap Adaptor magnetises the back of a phone, it also can be ripped off because of the strength of the MagSafe charger.
While the Snap Adaptor magnetises the back of a phone, it also can be ripped off because of the strength of the MagSafe charger.

There is a catch we’ve found, however: the Snap ring can become detached from a phone when you pull the phone away from a MagSafe charger or stand. It happened more than once in our testing, achieving a rate of one every four times. That means 25 percent of the time, our phone and the Mophie Snap Adaptor disconnected from each other.

To beat this, you might want to throw the connector on your phone and then throw a case over it, thereby at least preventing the ring from being ripped off by the strength of the magnets. They are quite strong, so this will at least half the chances of that happening.

Is the Mophie Snap Adaptor worth getting?

What Mophie has made is a nice idea, especially if you love the idea of grabbing a MagSafe accessory in your life.

Holding the phone up above your desk using one of those neat phone stands, such as the one Belkin makes, or even a car vent mount can mean you have a great way of keeping the phone up without the obvious cable or stand.

However this isn’t really MagSafe that you’re adding, but more like “not-quite-MagSafe”. It is something, though, and that might be all that matters for folks who need it.

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