Technology

Apple’s MagSafe| A brief history of the tech

The new MagSafe system enables seamless, high-powered wireless charging   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Apple recently relaunched MagSafe, a more-than-a-decade old wireless charging technology, for its new line of iPhone12 models.

For the first time, the iPhone 12 Pro models will utilise 100% recycled rare earth metals in all magnets, including MagSafe and its accessories, Apple claimed.

MagSafe is Apple’s proprietary technology launched in January 2006 for MacBook Pro, the company’s first laptop with Intel’s SoC in it.

The original version of MagSafe is a magnetic power connector used for charging MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. The connector magnetically attaches to the device, instead of plugging it to a port.

Apple’s idea with the MagSafe was to avoid any damage to laptop and power sockets caused by someone tripping over the power cable and pulling it out of the socket. The accident would throw the laptop down and damage it.

Four years ago, the Cupertino-based company discontinued MagSafe across its product lines, between 2016 and 2019, and replaced it charging cables, with USB-C this time. The last product line with MagSafe, the 2017 MacBook Air, was discontinued last year.

Although the company did not state the exact reason for discontinuing the technology, it did receive complaints from several users on issues relating to the adapter's insulation and overheating.

Apple acknowledged these problems in an official report ‘Apple Portables: Troubleshooting MagSafe adapters’ on its support page in 2016. It was published to guide users fix these issues.

In the same report, it also said that the connector and port on the Mac Notebook have a magnet that can erase data on credit cards or other magnetic devices. It suggested users to keep magnetic media away from the end of the adapter and the port to protect data.

The company also agreed that the adapter may overheat if kept in a poorly ventilated area like on a couch, thickly carpeted area, mattresses, or pillow. The charger may also automatically switch off.

The company introduced MagSafe2 in 2012, a newer version of the technology, which did not work with older MacBooks.

MagSafe in iPhone 12

After discontinuing its wireless charging for laptops, Apple is now introducing MagSafe for mobile phone and watch. The new charges can provide up to 15W of power.

MagSafe features an array of magnets around the wireless charging coil, and offers high-powered wireless charging. It will also provide an all-new ecosystem of accessories that will easily attach to iPhone, Apple said.

Apple is also selling MagSafe-compatible accessories like new silicone, leather, and clear cases that can snap onto the back of an iPhone.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 1:24:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/apples-magsafe-a-brief-history-of-the-tech/article32972780.ece

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