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Apple's MagSafe Power Cord Does More Harm Than Good
Ed Kohler
As I understand it, one of the supposedly great features of Apple's MacBook Pro notebooks is the magnetic power cord attachment to the computer called MagSafe. Using a magnetic allows the cord to break free of the computer if someone happens to trip over the cord, thus preventing an unplanned trip to the floor. It certainly seemed like a good idea to me when I first heard about it.

However, when I managed to accidentally test this feature it flopped. The cord stayed attached and the MacBook Pro took a dive. Here is where it ended up. Notice the stretched out power cord where my toe managed to find a home.

Diving Macbook Pro

While the cord didn't break free this time, it certainly has many times before. Unfortunately, they tend to be when I'm getting up from the couch to grab a Coke or some other mundane task that put only minor strain on the cord. It also unknowingly comes unplugged from time to time while working with the computer on my lap. I find this out when I notice the battery is nearly dead.

A magnetic power cord attachment is a great concept but it doesn't handle all of the practical considerations of laptop use, as far as I'm concerned. Apparently, I'm not the only person having problems keeping the MagSafe cord attached since this company sells an adapter called a MagStay Pro to prevent unintended disconnects.

MacStay Pro

Given a choice, I'd prefer a sturdy connection over the supposed benefits of the MagSafe at this point. How about you?



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Comments

1. Posted by: Aaron Landry on November 4, 2006 10:28 AM:

Personally I think the MagSafe Power Cord on my MacBook Pro has been awesome. Many times I have mistakenly yanked it and it popped out as it should. I personally have no reason to change it. I've also ruined a couple power adapters on PowerBooks before. :-)




2. Posted by: Rev on November 5, 2006 2:37 AM:

i think part of the reason that didnt come loose is the way your audio jack is wrapped round in front....ive gotta agree with aaron....its a great system....




3. Posted by: John Rudkin on November 5, 2006 4:37 AM:

Hi,

MagSafe is a great concept, and works well 99% of the time. I am amazed that you managed to pull the MacBoof Pro off a desk, and it must have come as a shock. I'd suggest that this is unusual (as you suggest) and you SHOULD tell Apple support. They'll investigate. My comment has to do with MagSafe's 'retention'. I have noticed that if the cable is cold it stiffens and is more prone to being 'leveraged' off the connection. This, however, it hardly a problem, and as long as you check you can minimise any tensions on the cable.

MagSafe is a massive step forward in safety - I guess its a bit like an airbag in a car, its just there waiting to be useful,......




4. Posted by: Sean on November 5, 2006 2:15 PM:

It's pure genius, for those with kids know all to well the ugly side of the previous version.




5. Posted by: Videokarma.com on November 5, 2006 8:46 PM:

Agreed, it is a great system and another instance of apple "thinking outside the box" - so the next thing is when will I be free of these wires all together, like maybe a 12 hour battery? work during the day, charge at night... no more cords??? I like it !!!! yikes...




6. Posted by: Ed Kohler on November 6, 2006 2:00 PM:

Aaron, it sounds like you have the MagSafe touch. Maybe I need to be more rough with my notebook?

Rev, I don't think the audio jack interfered with MagSafe in this case.

John, maybe I was in the unlucky 1%? Time will tell.

Sean, great point about kids. I can definitely see where MagSafe could save a child's noggin from a falling laptop.

Videokarma.com, you only work 12 hours a day?




7. Posted by: Kiki on October 4, 2008 12:45 PM:

I own a DELL, make that 3 Dell Laptops one Toshiba and one MAC in our family and we have had a problem with the power connector on all of our laptops with the exception of the MAC. If the MAC falls off the table and the cord does or does not disconnect....I'm sorry the problem with the cords connection is that it falls off? In regards to your statement; “A magnetic power cord attachment is a great concept but it doesn't handle all of the practical considerations of laptop use” would that be catching it in mid-air by the cord to prevent it from hitting the floor???? If a DELL or Toshiba power cord wiggles or moves in any way (swivels on desk, moves around on your lap etc) after some time the motherboard looses its connection or cracks and you have little or NO power. No comparison to the cost to repaired or replace the power jack vs. finding out your MAC’s power cord is unplugged!




8. Posted by: Stev on April 1, 2009 4:21 PM:

My wife hates the unplanned disconnects that came with her magsafe equipped Mac. She finally solved the problem the same way Leo LaPorte did ... With a JerkStopper Cable retention Kit.




9. Posted by: MrGrinch on December 4, 2009 3:16 PM:

man you are just dumb... every laptop should have magnetic power adapters. Its not just so it wont "fall to the floor"... its so you dont snap off the power jack inside the machine and end up needing a solder job. If you drop your $1000+ laptop you are just an idiot...




10. Posted by: Kris on January 24, 2010 5:07 AM:

I like the concept o the magnetic conection. I've had to replace a couple o conections on my pc because of a broken conections inside the computer, it's not cheap and doesn't last. The problem now is that my mac cord is no longer working. Sometimes the green or red light comes on and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the green light stays on even when unplugged from the computer. The cord is no longer charging or powering the computer. Here I thought all of my power cord problems were solved with the new connection...NOT




11. Posted by: Jewelia13 on June 18, 2010 7:11 AM:

Hey... I couldn't help but remark that my MacBook runs solely on the charger (battery's dead) and everytime the charger so much as wiggles, EVERYTHING dies. I'm worried about the damage this might be doing to my hard drive, and long for a better system!




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