Features like being able to check its charge level right in iOS and charging that automatically starts when the battery’s attached to an iPhone made the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack our top choice last year, but we did lament its slower charging speeds when unplugged: a limitation that Apple has improved with a recent firmware update.
Competing MagSafe batteries like the Mophie Snap+ Juice Pack Mini and the Zens Magnetic Dual Powerbank both manage to muster 7.5W charging speeds. When plugged into a power source (greater than 20W), the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack can actually charge an iPhone at 15W through its magnetic connection, but that negates the portability afforded when cutting the cord, which then cuts the Apple battery’s charging speed down to just 5W.
But according to a recent update to the “How to use your MagSafe Battery Pack” support page on the Apple website, a recent firmware update to version 2.7 now boosts the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack’s portable speed up to 7.5W, putting it on par with the competition.
Heat is an unwanted byproduct of wireless charging that not only wastes power, but can also reduce a battery’s longevity and capacity, which is one of the reasons Apple originally limited charging speeds to 5W. Apple doesn’t go into details about what has changed in the v2.7 firmware update to remove this limit, but it’s either stopped worrying about the heat generated by faster charging, or it’s introduced some new ways to mitigate it through the update.
With the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack attached to your MagSafe-compatible iPhone, you can check its firmware version by opening iOS’ Settings and going to General > About > MagSafe Battery Pack, which should appear beneath “Carrier Lock” information. According to Apple, its MagSafe Battery Pack should automatically update itself when attached to an iPhone with an internet connection, but it could take about a week for that to happen as the update rolls out. For the less patient, Apple’s support page claims that users can also “plug one end of a Lightning to USB cable into the Lightning connector on your battery pack, and the other end into your Mac or iPad” which should download and install the firmware update in about five minutes, but so far we haven’t had any success taking that route.