Apple patent hints at next-gen MagSafe adapter for iPhone photographers

Moment MagSafe's tripod mount
(Image credit: Moment)

Apple's MagSafe accessories have been a slightly mixed bag so far, but Apple could be about to push them to the next level if one of its new patents comes to fruition.  

As spotted by Patently Apple, Apple has published a patent application for some versatile magnetic adapters that'll let you attach your iPhone to tripods, gimbals and other stabilizers.

The patent doesn't actually mention MagSafe by name, but it's fair to assume that it the L-shaped accessory could be based on the tech that arrived on the iPhone 12. MagSafe is a ring-shaped magnet that sits under the back case of the last two generations of iPhones and supports wireless charging.

An Apple patent application showing MagSafe accessories

(Image credit: Apple)

The main difference between Apple's patent and current MagSafe mounts, like those from Moment and Peak Design, is that the patented concept charges your iPhone while you're using the adapter. As the application suggests, this could be particularly useful for vloggers and video shooters.

Interestingly, the patent also says the adapter could be used for "transmitting data to the phone and for receiving data from the phone", which is something that isn't currently possible with MagSafe. So either the patent is referring to next-gen MagSafe tech, or it's a different kind of magnetic mount altogether.

Either way, it's certainly a promising development for those who've been slightly underwhelmed by the MagSafe mounting options for iPhones so far. Whether Apple decides to make the accessories itself, or license them to concept to third-party manufacturers, isn't yet clear, but perhaps it's something we'll hear more about during the iPhone 14 launch later this year. 

Analysis: MagSafe slowly explores its potential 

The Moment Multi Threaded Mount on a blue background

(Image credit: Moment)

Until recently, MagSafe has mostly been seen as a handy wireless charging solution, but we've finally started to see some interesting mounting options for photographers and video shooters.

One of the most popular ones among YouTubers and filmmakers who already have existing kit is the Moment Multi Threaded Mount (above). This has threads that let you magnetically attach it to magic arms, tripods, ball heads, mini friction arms, or pretty much any stabilizer.

This is a lot more user-friendly than the traditional clamp-based options, but Moment's adapter doesn't include wireless charging or data transfer. So while Apple's patent doesn't have the variety of threads seen on Moment's accessory, the inclusion of wireless charging could leave your iPhone's Lightning port free for other accessories like microphones.

There have previously been rumors about a future version of Apple's MagSafe tech including data transfer, as part of a move towards a port-less iPhone. But those were based on a separate patent for a three-pinned MagSafe charger, similar to the ones seen on its older MacBooks. 

Patents can take a long time, sometimes years, to be approved or reach fruition in a real product, so this MagSafe patent certainly isn't confirmation that new accessories are imminent. But it does point towards some interesting ideas for Apple's magnetic accessories that could ultimately make them a little more mainstream.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.