What you need to know
- Using a MagSafe accessory with a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, S23 Ultra, or S24 Ultra could cause the S Pen to malfunction.
- The magnets in some MagSafe cases and accessories cause interference with the way the S Pen writes on the phone’s display.
- It’s unknown whether this could cause long-term issues.
Right after the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra was announced on January 17, we learned something interesting about our favorite MagSafe accessories: many don’t play nice with the S Pen.
But it turns out that this has been a problem for years and very few people knew about it. If you’re using a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, S23 Ultra, or S24 Ultra with a MagSafe case, it’s entirely possible that your S Pen will not work properly when you have a MagSafe accessory attached to the back of the case.
This issue doesn’t affect every case or every MagSafe accessory, but we recommend not using MagSafe accessories with any Galaxy S Ultra phone for the foreseeable future. Here’s a video I put together showing what happens:
The problem lies in the magnetic nature of MagSafe and the S Pen’s writing technology, itself. Samsung’s S Pen technology is powered by a Wacom digitizer, the same kind you can find in a dedicated Wacom tablet used for digital drawing.
Wacom tablets — and Samsung’s S Pen, by nature — are powered by magnets. Bring the S Pen close enough to the screen and the powerful magnets inside the phone can detect the pen before it even touches the screen. It’s how Samsung Air Commands work and one of the reasons the pen knows how much pressure you’re applying.
When a MagSafe accessory is put on the back of the phone, the magnets in it can negate the magnets in the phone, much as you might find magnets pushing against each other when the opposite magnetic poles get too close.
Many of the best Galaxy S23 Ultra cases have MagSafe rings on the back but not all cases are created equal, and using a MagSafe case will likely not harm your Galaxy S Ultra device on its own. MagSafe rings, in cases, are just metal rings, but MagSafe accessories contain magnets that interfere with the S Pen inside your phone.
Samsung was very coy about why it wasn’t launching the Galaxy S24 Ultra with MagSafe and now we understand why.
So far, the only cases I’ve tested that exhibit no issues when using a MagSafe ring are the Carved Traveler case and CaseBorne Clear Slim case, but your mileage may vary. A PopSockets MagSafe adapter ring and MagSafe PopSocket also worked with the S22 Ultra in our testing.
Some MagSafe cases might have enough padding or a protective layer that keeps these magnets from interfering with your phone, but it’s wise at this point to stop using any MagSafe accessory with your S Pen-enabled phone to ensure the best working order.