Ah, MagSafe. Ever since Apple debuted it in 2020, I — and my colleagues — have loathed and lusted after MagSafe in equal measure.
Jealousy may be a green-eyed monster, but as an Android enthusiast, it's simply unavoidable for me. Google's services' new features come to iPhones first. When I'm on a Galaxy, I'm jealous of Pixel features like Call Screen and Hold For Me. Ditto when I'm on a Pixel and missing Temporary Mute.
But most of all, as Android fans, we always miss out on the best accessories. Case selection on even the best Android phones is a fraction of what it is for iPhones — and especially for iPads. Chargers and power banks cater first and foremost to Apple's charging standards, and wireless chargers have stagnated and all but abandoned non-Apple products in the last two years because of MagSafe.
The ability to forego residue-prone and unsteady adhesives, and effortlessly swap between phone grips, wireless chargers, kickstands, wallets, and more is the holy grail for an accessory nerd like me. Goodbye to stuck-on metal phone rings messing up my wireless charging. Sayonara to PopSockets slowly sliding off center over months of use. Aloha to having to swap to a wallet case when I'm ditching my wallet.
Stick-on rings for adding MagSafe to Android phones (and older iPhones) have been around for the last three years, but I've been loath to recommend them to any phone with wireless charging support. Case manufacturers started building cases with MagSafe rings built-in for some Android phones in the last 18-24 months, but it's all been lesser brands with mixed results.
But MagSafe cases are finally going big-time on Android this year, as we approach a new era of magnetic accessories. And after two months on MagSafe Galaxy S23 cases, I don't know if I can ever go back.
60 days of polarizing product testing
I have about three dozen Galaxy S23 cases that I should be cycling through and testing for our case coverage — and I have tried on almost all of them at least once by now — but the "regular" cases are mostly sitting in a pile in my sunroom. Despite hating black cases, the UAG Metropolis LT has been my de facto case outside specific tests, specifically because I've grown quickly addicted to its MagSafe compatriots.
The ability to swap phone grips without swapping cases has been a godsend, both for allowing me to test a wider array of grips and to pick the grip that better fits the day ahead. I'll rock the PopSockets Phone Grip for MagSafe when I know I'll mostly be holding the phone in my hand, but I can slide over to the CLCKR Phone Holder when I need a stable vertical kickstand for
doomscrolling Reddit video calls.
This article was produced in partnership with Supcase, but its contents were not shown to the company beforehand. All content is written independently and meets Android Police's stringent editorial standards.
Now, this isn't to say everything's been sunshine and roses: any rectangular MagSafe accessory completely covers the 3x zoom camera on my petite little Galaxy S23, but that's a device-specific issue. Rectangular wallets and power banks worked just fine with my Pixel 7's Mous Limitless case; it's just the vertical camera array and smaller profile of the S23 that conspire against me and my kickstand collection.
I've got a Zendure SuperMini Go back from its Kickstarter days for topping off the S23 while I'm out and about in the parks, though I've found Baseus's Magnetic Power Bank to be a more comfortable charger. Being basically the same size and shape as the S23, I've found it easier to hold for longer periods, though I'll gladly skip them at home for a wired MagSafe charging puck.
After an unhealthy number of hours researching various MagSafe charging pucks, mounts, and stands, ESR's HaloLock Kickstand wireless charger came out a clear winner in my already USB-C covered home. Rather than dealing with too-short or weaker built-in cables, this little blue puck plugs in wherever I have a USB-C cable handy. This winning design allows for more flexibility in cable length and easier transfer of the charger from office to couch to bedroom, as I've yet to catch another sale to pick up a second one.
As a lover of smaller Android phones, I'm no stranger to plugging up to keep using my phone in the evenings as I unwind on the couch — or pull an all-day isekai binge in bed. Being able to rotate the puck and keep the cable out of the way while scrolling and pinching and zooming truly feels like a godsend after nights of aching fingers kinks around the USB-C cable/port.
Yeah, the charging might've been a little slower than wired, but using a magnetic-enabled case, MagSafe charging hasn't given me any problems at all. But your mileage may vary...
Is MagSafe charging safe for Android phones?
Let's get one thing out of the way, nice and quick: MagSafe's purpose is keeping the phone aligned on the wireless charging pad, not just a specific charging profile. So long as you line up the coils, you could use a MagSafe charger on a phone without a magnetic ring; it's just going to get out of alignment and stop charging if you so much as breathe on it wrong.
Now, this isn't to say all MagSafe chargers are guaranteed to work with Android phones. Plenty of cheap — and not so cheap — MagSafe chargers only have Apple's 7.5W profile built into them, meaning they won't work with Android phones. But most quality third-party MagSafe magnetic charging pads and wireless power banks will work with Qi-enabled Android phones, either at 10W or at the base 5W.
This means you're likely not getting the fastest speed available, but MagSafe is all about keeping the charger aligned and charging while you keep using the phone as normal, and for me, that's worked as intended.
Even if it's not officially supported yet — and even that will be changing in the not-so-distant future.
The only reason worth waiting: Qi2
A long time ago, in a convention center far, far, away, a seemingly small announcement made this mobile accessory addict stand up and cheer in her office. The Wireless Power Consortium announced it was finally getting into the magnetic space with the Qi2 standard. This got lost in a rather humdrum CES 2023, but it spelled three great things for mobile tech fans:
- Magnetic consistency: Inconsistent strength of the magnets in MagSafe accessories — both Apple-made and third-party — had led to grips and power banks falling off of iPhones and grips mis-aligning awkwardly. By mandating how strong the magnets are and the exact positioning, Qi2 accessories should grip more securely.
- Easier branding: With Qi2 being an open standard by the Wireless Power Consortium, it'll be easier for those products to be tested, certified, and properly branded. This, in turn, will make it easier for companies to market these accessories and easier for customers to find, trust, and buy them.
- Android availability: With Samsung, Google, and many other Android manufacturers contributing to the consortium, the Qi2 standard will finally allow for Android phones to support magnetic wireless charging officially and fully.
Simply put: Qi2 will be great, but it's not here yet, and for Android phones in particular, it will likely be a much longer wait. Qi2's standard was just released last week, but it's not finalized, nor have certification processes been set. We expect to see Qi2 accessories arrive this fall and winter, but phones with Qi2 — especially Android phones with Qi2 — won't arrive until at least 2024.
As effortless as it is to use magnetic wireless charging, there's no reason to buy a new phone for it. Spending $30 on a case to open your phone up to a myriad of new chargers, wallets, and other goodies is much more reasonable.
In the meantime, MagSafe chargers should work just fine if you use a proper MagSafe-enabled case or follow the installation steps on a magnetic ring very, very carefully. And, of course, if your phone doesn't have wireless charging, feel free to slap on an easy MagSafe adapter and enjoy the wallet/phone grip/kickstand freedom. If nothing else, it will let you start building up your collection of phone grips, kickstands, and wallets before you buy a proper Qi2-supported charger.