Features like the ability to check its charge level directly in iOS and charging that starts automatically when the battery is connected to an iPhone have made the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack our top pick last yearbut we complained that it was 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 reach charging speeds of 7.5W. Othen plugged into a power source (greater than 20W), the Apple MagSafe battery can actually charge an iPhone at 15W through its magnetic connection, but this negates the portability offered when cutting the cord, which then reduces the Apple Battery charging speed to just 5W.
But according to a recent update of the “How to use your MagSafe battery” support page on Apple websitea recent firmware update to version 2.7 now increases the portable speed of the Apple MagSafe battery at 7.5W, putting it on par with the competition.
Heat is an unwanted byproduct of wireless charging that not only waste power, but can also reduce the longevity and capacity of a battery, which is one of the reasons why Apple initially limited charging speeds to 5W. Apple does not go into detail about what changed in the v2.7 firmware update to remove this limitbut either it stopped worrying about the heat generated by faster charging, or it introduced new ways to mitigate it through the update.
With the Apple MagSafe Battery connected to your MagSafe-enabled iPhone, you can check its firmware version by opening iOS Settings and going to General > About > MagSafe Battery, which should appear under the “Carrier Lock” information. According to Appleits MagSafe battery should update automatically when connected to an iPhone with an internet connection, but it may take about a week for this to happen during the update rolls outside. 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 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 been able to go that route.