The best accessories for your new iPhone

Including the MagSafe accessories worth your money.

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iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro
Chris Velazco / Engadget
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After you’ve unboxed your new iPhone, it’s time to think about the accessories you want for it. This is especially pertinent if you’re the owner of a new iPhone 12 because those handsets only come with one lonely Lightning cable. There are new MagSafe accessories to consider if you prefer wireless charging, or if you simply want to hear that satisfying click when your case magnetically attaches to the phone. We’ve tested out some of the newest iPhone accessories and gathered the best ones here.

Apple MagSafe wireless charger

Apple MagSafe wireless charger
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

There are often better and cheaper alternatives to Apple’s first-party accessories, but the company’s MagSafe wireless charger is worth considering if you have a new iPhone 12. Like all other MagSafe accessories, this charging pad uses magnets to attach to the back of the latest iPhones and it’s surprisingly strong. Not only can you safely pick up your handset and use it with the disk still attached, but the iPhone can dangle by the charger’s cord without falling off. (You still probably shouldn’t do this.)

The charging plate itself is about a quarter-inch thick so it barely adds any heft to the iPhone. The magnets only work with the iPhones 12 series, but you can use the MagSafe wireless charger with older models, too, going back to the iPhone 8. I only wish the cable were longer than three feet because it would give you more leeway to use your iPhone on the couch or in bed while powering it up at the same time.

Buy MagSafe charger at Apple - $40

Mophie 4-in-1 wireless charging mat

Mophie 4-in-1 charging mat
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

You may have accumulated a number of devices that support wireless charging at this point and Mophie’s 4-in-1 charging mat is an easy way to power them all. It’s an 11-by-8-inch rectangle with four spaces for different items to charge simultaneously. Two of those spots are large enough to accommodate smartphones while the other two in the center are smaller and fit things like AirPods perfectly. It also has an optional attachment for an Apple Watch, which means it could actually charge up to five devices at the same time.

I found the mat useful as a charging hub, turning to it each night to charge my iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods Pro. Sometimes my partner would even place his Galaxy smartphone on it overnight. It’s worth noting that both my iPhone and my AirPods Pro live in cases, and I didn’t have to remove either in order to charge them with Mophie’s mat. But while the mat’s size allows it to do a lot at once, it’s also tough to find a big enough spot for it. It’ll fit on most nightstands, but you may have to rearrange things first.

Buy Mophie charging mat at Amazon - $130

Anker PowerPort III Nano

Anker Powerport Nano
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

While Apple’s 20W charger works just fine, you can save a bit of money and space with Anker’s Powerport III Nano. At $17, it’s slightly cheaper than Apple’s but we really prefer it for its compact design. It’s about 50 percent smaller and more square than Apple’s charger, but it’s still capable of charging the iPhone 12 series at full speed. I used it with one of Anker’s Powerline cables to juice up the iPhone 12 after it had totally died, and it powered up the handset to 61 percent in just half an hour. And if you have an older iPhone, you can use it with the Nano as well. Just remember that the Nano, and most other chargers like Aukey’s Omnia Mini, require a USB-C to Lightning cable rather than an older USB-A cable.

Buy Anker Powerport III Nano at Amazon - $17

Aukey Omnia 100W PD charger

Aukey Omnia 100W charger
Will Lipman Photography

We’ve praised the Omnia 100W PD charger before and it continues to be a solid option if you want one adapter that’s both powerful to charge any device and portable enough to take with you anywhere. Its gallium nitride technology allows it to be compact yet strong, charging even Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro at full speed without breaking a sweat. This model with two USB-C ports is a good brick to have for when you need to quickly and efficiently charge your iPhone 12 and your MacBook at the same time. Even better, it works well with other USB-C devices like the Nintendo Switch.

Buy Aukey Omnia 100W charger at Amazon - $50

Anker Powerline II USB-C to Lightning cable

Anker Powerline cables
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

We’ve been fans of Anker’s Powerline charging cables for a long time and its Powerline II USB-C to Lightning cord is no exception. First, it’s more affordable than Apple’s — you’ll pay $19 for a three-meter cable from Apple, whereas Anker’s three-meter cord costs $13. It also has MFi-certification, which means it’s passed enough tests to get Apple’s seal of approval as a safe, reliable iOS accessory. While not all of them are made out of braided nylon, those that don’t still have a 12,000-bend lifespan so you can use it without fear of wire fraying after a few weeks. Anker also has a similar USB-C to C cable in the Powerline III series that should work well for charging the latest iPads and MacBooks.

Buy Powerline II Lightning cable at Amazon - $13 Buy Powerline III USB-C cable at Amazon - $15

Belkin MagSafe Car Vent Mount Pro

Belkin MagSafe Car Vent Mount Pro
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Belkin’s new MagSafe car mount is easier to use than one of those fussy clamps you pray will stay put on a vent while you’re driving. The strong magnets truly make this accessory — the iPhone 12 snaps into place on the mount’s credit-card sized plate and doesn’t budge even if you have to quickly swerve to avoid hitting a squirrel. The clip that attaches to your car’s vent is also quite snug and you can swivel your phone into landscape or portrait mode while it’s attached.

Even if you’re not commuting or driving long distances right now, this accessory will come in handy in the future when you need to consult Google Maps along the way. Just remember that this mount won’t charge your iPhone; it’s just a magnetic holder. You can, however, weave a charging cable through an opening in the back of the mount so you can neatly power up your phone while driving.

Buy Belkin MagSafe car mount at Belkin - $40

MagSafe cases

Apple Silicone MagSafe iPhone 12 case, Otterbox Symmetry+ MagSafe iPhone 12 case
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

There aren’t a ton of MagSafe cases available just yet, but you do have a few options to protect your new iPhone. If you like silicone cases, it’s usually best to save some money and get a third party one. However, Apple’s silicone MagSafe case is worth considering for its luxurious feel and slim design. It doesn’t add much heft to the iPhone 12 at all and it gives you a bit more protection against scratches and drops. It also has a premium, smooth texture that makes it nicer to hold than cheaper silicone cases.

Apple also makes hard-shell MagSafe cases, but we typically prefer Otterbox for that level of protection. The company’s Symmetry+ line is only a hair thicker than Apple’s hard-shell cases but they are slightly more flexible, making it easier to take your iPhone in and out. They also have Otterbox’s signature rubberized bumper around the edges and, although you can’t remove it like you can with some of its other heavy-duty cases, it provides an extra cushion if you accidentally drop your iPhone.

Buy Apple silicone MagSafe case at Amazon - $49 Buy Symmetry+ MagSafe case at Otterbox - $60

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