What is MagSafe? MacBook Pro gets Apple's magnetic charger (again)

MagSafe is back on Apple's new MacBook Pro M1 laptops. Here's what to know.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
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Erin Carson

MagSafe is making a return to MacBooks.

Apple/Screenshot by Erin Carson/CNET

Apple is bringing MagSafe charging back to its line of MacBooks, the company said during its fall hardware event. Apple announced two new laptops, a MacBook Pro 16-inch and a 14-inch model, featuring its new M1 chips. (The company also released the AirPods 3 and new HomePod Mini colors.) One of the new MacBook Pro features, called MagSafe, already exists on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. In fact, it used to exist on the MacBook, too. So, what is MagSafe, anyway?

MagSafe is a proprietary magnetized power plug that breaks away from the computer -- so if you trip over the power cord, you don't take the laptop down with you. MacBook users will still have the option of charging via Thunderbolt port. 

Read more: Apple's MacBook Pros: Starting price, and how to buy the two new laptops today

Apple first introduced MagSafe charging in 2006 as part of the MacBook line, but started phasing it out in 2015 with its 12-inch MacBook. The laptop came with a USB-C power connection instead -- a big improvement, according to CNET's Dan Ackerman.

Watch this: New MacBook Pro: MagSafe returns

The return of MagSafe charging has been rumored for nearly a year. 

During Apple's October event, the tech giant also announced new M1 processors for its 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The updated laptops also ditched the Touch Bar for a HDMI port, SD card reader, notched display and upgraded cameras.