Technology

No, a MagSafe Case Won't Break Your Galaxy S24 Ultra's S Pen

Now that the Qi2 standard is finalized, some new Android phones will be compatible with Apple’s MagSafe technology. But the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra doesn’t support Qi2 charging. If you want to pair your Galaxy S24 Ultra with a MagSafe accessory, you need a MagSafe case—this may reduce S Pen performance, but the effect is mostly negligible.



Touchscreens are capacitive; they use two layers of film to detect the pressure from your finger. But the S Pen operates on the principle of magnetic induction. A magnetic field, which is produced by the S Pen, activates a digitizer under the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s display. This method provides a more accurate writing experience with pressure sensitivity and tilt detection.

Unfortunately, external magnetic fields can prevent the S Pen from communicating with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. And it isn’t a new problem—years ago, Samsung warned Galaxy Note 8 customers that magnetic latching cases could create “dead zones” for the S Pen. Now that MagSafe is all the rage, this problem is just a bit more obvious.

Several outlets have reported that the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s S Pen will malfunction when a MagSafe case is in use. These reports stem from a Twitter post by M. Brandon Lee, which demonstrates how a MagSafe accessory (in this case, a MagSafe phone grip) creates a circular dead zone in which the S Pen will not operate. Detaching the MagSafe accessory from the case resolves the problem.

In other words, a MagSafe case shouldn’t impact S Pen performance. You should only encounter a dead zone when pairing the Galaxy S24 Ultra with a MagSafe charger, wallet, grip, or other accessory. Case maker dbrand has confirmed these findings and states that the issue was also present in last year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra. We reached out to another case maker, Peak Design, which told us that it’s only encountered the problem when pairing the Galaxy S24 Ultra with a MagSafe charger.

Here’s the kicker: if you place a naked Galaxy S24 Ultra on a MagSafe charger, you’ll encounter an S Pen dead zone. This problem is a consequence of the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s design, and it probably won’t be resolved by a phone case manufacturer.

If you want a MagSafe case for your Galaxy S24 Ultra, go on and buy one. Just know that you’ll need to remove MagSafe accessories when using the S Pen. In some situations, you can also get around the problem by applying more pressure with the stylus. Try to avoid MagSafe cases from unknown or poorly-reviewed brands, as they may use excessively strong magnets that amplify the dead zone effect.

Source: M. Brandon Lee, dbrand


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