Are all iPhone charging cords the same?
Let’s face it, many of us are penny pinchers when it comes to accessories for our iPhones. How many pairs of inexpensive earbuds do you have? Think about your case. Do you fall into one of these two categories? A) You don’t have a case right now because you just don’t want to fork out the extra dough, or B) You bought a cheap case because you just couldn’t pull the trigger on a top of the line Otterbox for maximum protection. Same is true when it comes to our charging cables. Many of us just don’t want to pay for the best iPhone charger cord. What’s the big deal? Aren’t they all the same? If your family is like mine, at one point we had four iPhones in the house. Trying to keep track of our charging cables was impossible. We all ended up buying replacements as cheap as we could. What’s the big deal?
It is a big deal, and here’s why.
Apple has strict specifications on their manufacturing of their accessories. Are we paying for “the brand”? I’m sure there is something to that premise; however, quality products take time and use quality materials. And for good reason. What can happen if I use a generic iPhone charger and/or cable?
- You might not be able to sync or charge your device
- The connector might fall off
- The connector might get extremely hot
- Many are often oversized and could damage your iPhone’s dock connector
- The charging cable itself will likely fail prematurely
- You can get a message on your iPhone stating that the cable is not certified and may not work reliably with the iPhone
- You can even damage your iPhone to the point of rendering it useless
How can I spot a generic lightning cable?
The easiest way to know whether or not you are using a generic, or third party manufactured, cable is to check the writing on the cable. A genuine Apple lightning charger will have written on the white cable the words “Designed by Apple in California” and “Assembled” in one of three countries: China, Vietnam or Brasileira. In addition there will be a 12 digit serial number at the end of the text. Third party cables will have writing that includes their company name and possibly a serial number. A China product I once came across stated “Designed by Abble in California”.
Other identifying marks on a cable will consist of the quality of the manufacturing process. The lightning end on a genuine Apple charger will have a smooth, gray/metallic surface with clean, smooth, gold colored and rounded contacts. Generic plugs will be white or black with rough, unpolished contacts. However, this can be misleading because it’s difficult to sometimes spot these subtleties.
On the USB end, a genuine Apple connector will have gold plated contacts. All others will be silver. Once again, the surface of the USB will be smooth and flat where a generic USB end will be rough, grainy and unfinished looking. Again, silver contacts are a definite sign of aftermarket USB, but it’s possible to have gold colored contacts on aftermarket cables.
If you have electric calipers (like most American households…just kidding), you can even measure the Apple boot that the lightning charger connector projects from. It is always 12 mm x 7.7 mm. Generic boots vary in length and width.
The USB connector that plugs into the wall should also have the words “Designed by Apple in California and Assembled in China, Vietnam or Brasileira “.
Check your wall adapter and cable for the words imprinted from Apple. That’s the most effective way to know for certain you have genuine Apple chargers.
I know…this is a lot of information, but there’s one more important piece to tuck away. It’s the MFi logo.
What is MFi?
There is a logo on packaging materials for accessories that is Apple certified third party. That logo is MFi. It means “Made For iOS” devices. There are manufacturers that Apple certifies to sell accessories that follow strict protocol to manufacture quality products that Apple recognizes as OK to use with their products.
My Bottom Line Advice
Don’t trust your expensive piece of technology with a cheap, after-market charger. It’s not worth it. I am not an Apple employee,nor do I receive any monetary support for writing in support of Apple products. I’m a guy who has been repairing iOS devices for years, and I see too many customers in my store using cheap chargers that have caused the issues I pointed out earlier in my post.
Please feel free to share a story or ask a question regarding anything related to this post. I’d be happy to respond to help you make an informed decision based on my experiences. Check out my website for many other helpful iPhone Tips.