In my recent update on AirTags, I revealed that I rarely lose stuff.
That isn’t strictly true.
I’m always misplacing my wallet. But this is for one very simple reason: I barely need it these days. Thanks to Apple Pay, my iPhone has turned into what I like to refer to as The Magic Free Money Machine.
However, there are times when I need to retrieve my wallet either to grab the three-digit CVV code for online purchases or to fish out my driving license. Unfortunately, due to the infrequency with which I use it these days, I can never remember where I leave my wallet.
I tried placing an AirTag in one of the compartments to make it easier to locate, but they’re clearly not made for that purpose; insert an AirTag into your wallet and you’ll simply create a hideous bulge and find yourself cursing every time it slips out.
So, in a bid to solve my wallet conundrum, I bought the MagSafe Wallet, and it’s one of the coolest little Apple products I’ve ever got my hands on.
What is the MagSafe Wallet?
It isn’t a wallet. At least, not in the truest sense of the word. For me, a wallet is a small foldable holder for money and credit cards.
But, maybe I’m old fashioned.
The MagSafe Wallet follows the lead of the modern wallet which is, to all intents and purposes, a little slipcase for a couple of cards. It doesn’t fold and it doesn’t have any hidden compartments for loose change. And while you can squeeze three cards into it, I wouldn’t recommend doing so if you fancy retrieving any of them.
This arguably makes it one of the least functional wallets on the market and, as such, won’t appeal to hardened wallet users.
The MagSafe Wallet attaches magnetically to the back of your iPhone and features a thumb-sized cut-out at the back which is designed for retrieving cards from the wallet with a swipe of that digit. It’s made from leather and feels like it’ll put up with a lot of abuse. In fact, this is the tightest, most well made non-aluminium accessory Apple has made for a long time. It’s also a joy to hold and run your fingers across, unlike the horrible material they use for accessories like the Magic Keyboard and AirPods Max case.
But when all is said and done, it’s a leather slipcase for two cards that attaches to the back of your iPhone. Although this will make it a tough purchase for wallet traditionalists, it’ll please anyone who likes a simple features list.
What’s it like in everyday use?
I bought the MagSafe Wallet out of curiosity. I wanted to see if it was something that would benefit me and find a place in my everyday life, but I was also curious as to whether or not it would display the same inherent flaw with MagSafe as exhibited by the Battery Pack.
That flaw relates to alignment.
MagSafe consists of two magnets – a circular one at the ‘top’ of the accessory which is tasked with the majority of the grip (and, I assume, the data connection), and a vertical magnet designed to aid alignment.
The vertical magnet isn’t strong enough.
This is troublesome, because, just like the MagSafe Battery Pack, the Wallet will sit skew-whiff on the back of your iPhone when you quickly throw it on. A small adjustment is then required to ensure it sits square, as intended.
I still can’t quite get over how un-Apple-like this is. This is a company known for its attention to detail. Why isn’t that vertical magnet stronger? Why don’t accessories like the Wallet and the Battery Pack attach with the same therapeutic perfection as the snap of an iPad attaching itself to a Magic Keyboard?
That aside, the Wallet does at least stay attached once it’s on the back of your iPhone. Those who are worried about it dislodging while being placed into a trouser pocket can rest easy; despite the alignment issues, the magnets do appear to hold the Wallet firmly enough.
They’re also loose enough to make retrieving your cards a super simple process. And while the need to do so takes a bit of getting used to (it took me a while to work out what the thumb cut-out was for on the rear of the Wallet), it quickly becomes intuitive. If you need a card, you quickly detach the Wallet from your phone, thumb-out the card and away you go.
As noted earlier, you’ll get three cards in there at a push, but it is a push. This might be due to mine being brand-new; I guess the leather will relax a little over time, but for now, this is definitely a two-card wallet.
This has forced me to think carefully about what I place in there, and I’ve rounded on my main personal credit card and a gym pass. The latter is the game-changer for me, because I’m forever misplacing my gym pass. Now, it’s always attached to my iPhone, which is always with me. Problem solved.
Over the last few days, I’ve learned that the MagSafe Wallet isn’t really designed to stay attached to your phone constantly. Indeed, it’s the ability to remove it so easily that makes it such a great little accessory.
For instance, after checking in at my gym, I detach the Wallet and leave it in my locker. At night, I remove it once more before charging my iPhone on its MagSafe stand. This has resulted in a wallet that, finally, never leaves my side and consequently never gets lost. It’s also worth noting that the MagSafe Wallet is an attractive little thing when not attached to an iPhone, and I suspect many people will make use of it in that guise.
Who is the MagSafe Wallet for?
If you like your wallets to be stuffed with payment cards, loyalty cards, ID cards, receipts, banknotes and loose change, I’d take a hard pass. The MagSafe Wallet is ideal for people who don’t carry many cards and have zero interest in collecting loose change. But it also presents a fascinating challenge for anyone who’s looking to pare down their daily carry.
The fact that it’s clearly only designed to carry a couple of cards forces you to think about the absolute necessities. For me, it came down to two cards whose absence would be felt in a number of daily situations; I really can’t overemphasise how useful this has been for my gym card.
There are plenty of alternatives out there, and as you might expect, the MagSafe Wallet ain’t the cheapest. At £59.99 it certainly isn’t Apple’s most expensive accessory, but it does require plenty of thought before hitting the ‘Buy Now’ button.
However, it’s very well made, attractive and is embossed with the Apple logo, which will be a draw for some people. As such, it feels like you’re getting enough for your money.
Before the Wallet, I was unsure about MagSafe’s use beyond anything other than a super-convenient charging method. Apple needs to improve the magnets in order to solve that irritating alignment issue, but the MagSafe Wallet is an example of an accessory that forces positive habitual change.
More of this please, Tim.