iPhone 12 mini MagSafe charging has one big catch

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple's new MagSafe charging system introduced with the iPhone 12 is designed to provide up to 15 watts of power wirelessly — twice as much as the 7.5 watts of previous wireless-charging iPhones. However, it appears that anyone who opts for the iPhone 12 mini will see charging speeds reduced to a peak of 12 watts, even under the most ideal conditions.

This detail was spotted in an Apple support document by MacRumors. The iPhone 12 mini has the smallest battery of all of Cupertino's new phones, though we won't know precisely how much smaller until tinkerers tear down the device after its Nov. 13 release.

No reason is given for why the iPhone 12 mini would charge at a slower speed than the other models, though if we had to wager a guess, we'd assume it has something to do with limiting heat emitted via wireless charging and promoting long-term battery health.

If the iPhone 12 mini can get away with slower power delivery while still topping up just as quickly as other models due to its smaller battery, it seems like the reduction in wattage won't be too noticeable to end users. Our iPhone 12 made it to 32% from empty after a half hour using MagSafe, compared to 57% using Apple's recommended 20W adapter.

The support document goes on to state a few details that should be important to any iPhone 12 owners who elect to use MagSafe charging. Apple says it's advisable to connect the MagSafe adapter to a power source before placing the puck on the back of your iPhone. Doing this in reverse order may result in the adapter delivering a less-than-optimal level of power to the handset.

Additionally, it's worth stipulating that even the larger iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models will not benefit from peak 15W MagSafe speed if they're already too hot, or if Lightning accessories (like wired EarPods) are connected to the device.

Apple starts taking pre-orders for the iPhone 12 mini this Friday (Nov. 6). The device goes on sale officially a week later.

Update: Since MagSafe's debut we've seen a suite of accessories, including Razer's new and bizarre iPhone 13 MagSafe cooler.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.