iPhone 12 MagSafe — two big problems just revealed

iPhone 12 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple’s MagSafe magnet-based wireless charging and accessory system might not be the killer feature for the iPhone 12 we first thought it was. 

That’s because the magnets can wreak havoc with credit cards, passports, and key fobs, as well as leave marks on some cases. And that’s a warning from Apple itself, not some disgruntled iPhone 12 users. 

Apple has released new support information around MagSafe, and warns that the magnets in the system could cause problems with the RFID chips and magnetic strips in the likes of credit cards and security badges. 

“Don't place credit cards, security badges, passports, or key fobs between your iPhone and MagSafe Charger, because this might damage magnetic strips or RFID chips in those items,” Apple said. “If you have a case that holds any of these sensitive items, remove them before charging or make sure that they aren’t between the back of your device and the charger.” 

That’s a little bizarre given Apple has an official leather card holder that connects onto the back of an iPhone 12 via the MagSafe connection. Apple didn't mention this but we’d suspect that there’s protection in place to prevent MagSafe from wiping credit cards in the leather card holder. 

There’s further MagSafe issues to be aware of, notably that the circular MagSafe charger can leave an imprint on cases with soft material such as leather or silicone. MacRumors reported that one reader flagged a photo of their silicon iPhone 12 case with a visible circular imprint where the MagSafe charger had been placed. 

iPhone 12 silicone case MagSafe damage

(Image credit: MacRumors)

The imprint left on the silicone case doesn't look hugely unattractive or jarring, but it’s not exactly ideal for people who want to try and keep their new iPhone 12 case as pristine as possible. Apple has yet to raise a solution to this issue.

Apple issues another warning about MagSafe and heat: "As with other wireless chargers, your iPhone or MagSafe Charger might get slightly warmer while your iPhone charges. To extend the lifespan of your battery, if the battery gets too warm, software might limit charging above 80 percent."

Overall, MagSafe seems more convenient than Lightning in terms of ease of use, but these warnings may give iPhone 12 shoppers pause. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.