Do you carry a battery pack for your phone? If so, you’re not alone. If you have an iPhone 12 or 13 series phone, then the MagSafe capability means the neatest way to be sure you won’t run out of power is to use a battery that snaps magnetically into place.
There are several on the market, including splendid, pastel-colored options from Anker, and Apple’s own model. The Apple MagSafe Battery Pack looks tremendous and fits perfectly to the back of the iPhone in all its sizes.
It has a lot going for it: snap it into place and it automatically starts charging immediately. Onscreen, it shows the battery charge for both the iPhone and the pack itself.
And it has one unique, under-reported capability: two-way charging. If you want to charge the Battery Pack you can plug it in directly or, and this is the cool bit, plug the iPhone in to the mains and then put the Battery Pack on the back. The iPhone will share its charge with the Battery Pack.
However, it came under criticism because it didn’t contain enough power for a full charge. For the iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 13 mini, it could add 70% charge, but on the iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 13 Pro Max it would only deliver 40% of a full charge.
Additionally, it only charged at a lowish power, 5W. That’s now been fixed thanks to a firmware update. With the latest firmware, it will recharge the iPhone at 7.5W, which is a big benefit, obviously.
So, how do you get the latest firmware?
There are two ways, one of which is quick and the other decidedly slower. The slow way is described like this by Apple in a support document: “The firmware update begins automatically after you attach your battery pack to your iPhone. The firmware update can take about one week.”
Simple, then, but who has the time to wait a week?
In which case, you’ll probably prefer the five-minute fix, for which you’ll need an iMac or iPad and a cable to connect the two.
Here’s Apple’s instruction: “To update the firmware using a Mac or iPad, plug one end of a Lightning to USB cable into the Lightning connector on your battery pack, and the other end into your Mac or iPad. The firmware update will take about 5 minutes.”
Just plug it in and wait. There’s no special update light or anything like that. After five minutes, you can check that the firmware is updated. On your iPhone go to Settings > General > About > MagSafe Battery Pack. The Firmware Version will be 2.7.
The MagSafe Battery Pack still won’t recharge your phone completely, but at least it’ll do what it can faster.