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How To Identify Good Third-Party Lightning Cables in 5 Steps

There are many reasons you might want to invest in some third-party lightning cables. Maybe you want to escape the pure white aesthetic of Apple or maybe you want the security of braided cables. One thing that you definitely want, whatever length or colour or brand of cable you get, is fast charging and data transfer compatible with all your current Apple products!

To make sure your cables are suited for your devices and you don’t end up with a very pretty, but very useless lightning cable make sure you check for these signs.

Step 1: Check MFi Certification

Step 2: Check USB Compatibility

Step 3: Check Voltage and Amperage

Step 4: Check Reversibility

Step 5: Check "Uncertified Cable" Error Message on iPhone

Step 1: Lightning Cable MFi Certification

The easiest way to identify a quality third-party cable is the MFi Certification. MFi Certifications guarantee the cable is compliant with the standards used for Apple Lighting Cables. By ensuring your third-party lightning cable meets that same standard you can then look in to things like colours, cable styles (Braided, insulated etc) and cable lengths!

The “CE” mark you see on electronics is a quick way to ascertain this compliance.

Step 2: USB 2.0 + Compatibility

According to the Apple website safety information page, under “Charging”, all “made-for-iPhone” chargers must be USB 2.0+. This means that if you see a Lightning Cable attempting to adapt to Micro-USB, for example, then the cable may not be legitimate. Alternatively, the charging and data transmission may be slowed and bottlenecked by the incorrect USB adapter.

To ensure your cable is giving you the most power and data speeds you must use a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 to lightning charging cable.

The only exception is USB-C to Lightning cables, as USB-C cables are rated for USB 3.0+ speeds and power delivery up to 20W, well above the requirements for Lightning.

Step 3: Power Rating Voltage and Amperage

The native power rating for a Lightning cable is 12 Watts at 2.4 Amps. They are, however, variable between 2.0A and 2.4A so don’t stress if you see this designation on a third-party cable.

Lightning cables should always be able to reach these figures, and any claiming to be far higher or lower are touting false info (Or using USB-C statistics to eclipse the poorer Lightning ones, leading customers to believe there is no bottleneck!).

These statistics can be easily checked on the manufacturers product pages and specifications. If not, best to look elsewhere.

Step 4: Reversible Cable Adaptors

One slightly more hands-on way to identify an authentic Lightning cable is the reversible adaptor on the Lightning end. Lightning cables can be inserted either way in to compatible devices and operate in the same capacity. Hopefully, you identify counterfeits before they’re in your hands to check this, though!

Step 5: “Cable Uncertified” Apple Charging Cable

Apple chargers use a chipset that is recognised by the device, and connect seamlessly. When a third-party uncertified charger connects to iPhone or iPad, they will display an error message concerning the unrecognised chip!

A fully-licenced third-party cable will simply plug in and no pop-up will appear.

Find Your Favourite!

It’s not all doom and gloom, many third-party cables are the exact right power rating, MFi certified and even use the original Apple chipset to incorporate brand-specific functions. By branching out from the first-party cables you can add a splash of vibrant colour to the otherwise endless expanse of bright white which Apple so adores. Gain extra length and even extra strength with braided cables from Daffodil which supply fast charging and MFi certified connections from Lightning to USB 2.0.


Make an informed decision about legitimate third-party lightning charging cables

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