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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Yes, Android Phones Can Use Apple’s MagSafe Too. Here’s How

One of my favorite phone features in recent years is Apple's MagSafe technology, which debuted in 2020. With a ring of magnets embedded in the back of the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14 lineups, you can attach various accessories—from battery packs to phone grips—and easily take them off when you don't need them. You can mount the phone to a bike or car mount one-handed, and it's also great when paired with MagSafe wireless chargers, because the magnets maintain a perfect alignment with the coil, so there's no chance of displacement, which could result in a dead battery.

But what if you're using an Android phone? Motorola was one of the only phone makers to have a similar type of magnetic modular technology, long before Apple introduced MagSafe to the iPhone, though its Moto Mods are effectively dead. Apple's tech may be exclusive to its devices, but … bring your ear closer: What if I told you there are ways you can take advantage?

Case makers need to embed magnets in iPhone cases to maintain the connection with MagSafe accessories—it's why you should use a MagSafe case if you have a recent iPhone—but these accessory companies have ported the same if not similar technology to cases for select Android phones, so that everyone can enjoy the magnetic fruit of Apple's labor. 

Magnetic World

There are a couple of caveats I want to immediately mention. First, MagSafe-like magnetic cases are available only for a small sliver of Android devices—usually Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel phones. My favorite, which I'll go into more depth soon, is Peak Design's Everyday Case. However, Moment also has magnetic Samsung and Pixel cases, and you'll find the same at Mous too

If you don't have a supported phone, all is not lost! Peak Design has a Universal Adapter that uses adhesive to stick to the back of your phone or phone case to mimic the same experience. Companies like Spigen and Mophie also have magnetic adapters that do the same to add MagSafe support, though some of these may disrupt wireless charging capabilities on your device.

One other issue is that even if you do have the right device, like the Pixel 7 with Peak Design's Everyday Case, there's no guarantee it will work with every MagSafe product. This is more specific to wireless chargers—in my testing, not every MagSafe wireless charger will perfectly recharge an Android phone, as the magnets in the case may not be perfectly aligned around the wireless charging system on the device itself. I've had good luck with most, but your mileage will vary. 

Peak Design Everyday Case$40 at Peak Design$40 at B&H$40 at Adorama

With that said, let me introduce you to the beauty of Peak Design's Everyday Case. It functions fine as a case itself. The buttons are responsive, and the fabric texture on the back feels nice. I wouldn't have minded a bigger lip around the edges to protect the screen, and the company could stand to offer a few more color options—I really love the new sage color for the iPhone 14 Everyday Case, but sadly, it's not available for the Samsung and Google cases. 

Whether you choose the case for Samsung's Galaxy S22 or S21 lineup or the Pixel 6 or 7 series, you're treated to magnets in the rear. You'll also notice a square indent in the center: This is Peak Design's SlimLink mounting system. It adds an extra level of security for certain accessories—specifically, bike and tripod mounts—so that it doesn't rely on magnets alone; the phone won't fly off when you go over a small bump on the road. 

I test a lot of electric kick scooters and folding ebikes, and the Universal Bar Mount has been my favorite accessory for this reason alone. It's easy to install on any handlebar, and I don't need to fuss at all to mount my device. After more than a year of rides, my phone has never fallen off, and that's not just with the Everyday Case on the Pixel 7 and Galaxy S22 Ultra, but also the Universal Adapter I attached to a Pixel 5A last year. It's just as easy to remove a phone from this mount too; just push a button at the top or bottom of the mount to release it. 

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During Thanksgiving, the magnets in the Everyday Case let me stick the Pixel 7 to my fridge so I had a spot at eye level to follow a recipe and I didn't have to take up any counter space. I also keep a MagSafe battery pack in my bag, so when I'm out and about, I can top up whenever I need. I'm currently testing UAG's Lucent MagSafe Battery and Kickstand, which successfully attached to the Everyday Case and juiced up my Pixel while I was out walking the dog, but other models from Anker, OtterBox, and Mophie have also worked just fine. 

I've paired this MagSafe Joby tripod and Moment's Filmmaker Cage with the Everyday Case and the Pixel for when I need to film some content and attach other video accessories. The possibilities are endless!

The problem with Motorola's Moto Mods was that they were completely locked to one ecosystem. Apple may have intended the same with MagSafe, but funnily enough, it's something those outside Apple's walled garden can and should take advantage of. There's beauty in that, too. 

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