This week, Apple announced the MagSafe Battery Pack, which is its first portable battery that works with MagSafe — it magnetically sticks to the back of your iPhone 12 and gives it extra power throughout the day. The problem is that it costs $99 and you can buy similar alternatives, like the Mophie Snap+ Juice Pack Mini ($50) or the Belkin Magnetic Wireless Power Bank 2.5K ($50), for significantly cheaper.
But Apple is known for making its accessories work better within its ecosystem. Its line of MagSafe wireless chargers are the only ones that can fast-charge an iPhone 12 at 15-watts, while all other wireless chargers charge an iPhone 12 at a max of 7.5-watts. And it has given some similar powers to its first-party MagSafe Battery Pack. The MagSafe Battery Pack has three big advantages over those cheaper third-party alternatives. Whether that makes it worth the extra cost is up to you.
First, the MagSafe Battery Pack charges via Lightning. This means that you can use the same charging cable with your iPhone 12 and your portable battery. You can also stick the MagSafe Battery Pack to the back of your iPhone 12, plug the Lightning cable into either device and it'll charge both. (It will fully charge the iPhone 12 first, then charge the MagSafe Battery Pack).
Second, when the MagSafe Battery Pack is plugged into the wall, it effectively turns into a MagSafe wireless charger. This means that it can fast-charge any iPhone 12 at 15-watts (aside from the mini, which maxes out at 12 watts), which is twice as fast as non-MagSafe wireless chargers.
Finally, you can easily tell the battery life of the MagSafe Battery Pack because, when connected to your iPhone 12, its battery life can be seen from the Lock Screen and from the Batteries widget. If you've ever used a portable battery before, you'll know that it's not always that easy to tell how much juice it has left. But Apple has made that easy with the MagSafe Battery Pack.
At the time of writing, Apple has not said what the exact capacity of the MagSafe Battery Pack actually is, though it looks to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000mAh based on its size and other chargers. If it is actually larger, that could be another key advantage over its much-cheaper competitors.
The MagSafe Battery Pack is available for preorder right now and will start shipping next week. It will work with the entire iPhone 12 family.