iPhone 12 MagSafe charging speed revealed — and it's shockingly slow

iPhone 12
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

MagSafe is one of the iPhone 12's big new features, offering simple and convenient wireless charging. It's a pity it's also so slow.

In a video published by the Wall Street Journal, we see how the iPhone 12 charges to 50% full in 28 minutes using the 20W fast charger. Meanwhile, the MagSafe charger, which has a 15W output, took an hour.

When we tested MagSafe's charging speed in our iPhone 12 Pro review, we let the phone charge for half an hour on the MagSafe charger. A 30-minute charge took it up to 39%, which sounds fairly reasonable. However, looking at the WSJ test, it doesn't look like you get much extra juice after charging for an additional half an hour.

Apple doesn't have a rated charging speed for its new wireless charger, but we'd have hoped that it wouldn't be half as fast as a wired charger despite having 75% of the wattage. At least it's quicker than the Anker-made third-party wireless charger WSJ also tested, which can only manage the standard 7.5W that all Qi-certified chargers can achieve.

Another criticism made during Stern's review was that the MagSafe's cable feels short. At 3 feet (or 1 meter) long, that's the same length as a normal charging cable, including the one you get in the iPhone 12's box. However, because the MagSafe connector attaches at the middle of the phone rather than at one end, it probably does feel shorter than a normal USB to Lightning cable.

In our own iPhone 12 battery tests, we found some more bad news. With 5G enabled, the iPhone 12 lasts a disappointing 8 hours and 25 minutes of continuous web browsing, with the iPhone 12 Pro managing a slightly better 9 hours and 6 minutes. Both phones perform better on 4G, but the results were still a letdown.

Today marks the official release date of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, with the smaller iPhone 12 Mini and larger iPhone 12 Pro Max coming next month. While the battery and charging aren't anything to write home about, the new iPhones still impress with excellent performance and photography, and a fresh new design.

But if you care about charging speed, we'd spend the $19 on the USB-C charging brick instead of the $39 for the MagSafe charger.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.