Frustrating in use
Before we discuss the safety implications associated with using unofficial Lightning cables to charge your iOS device, let’s talk about how these cables perform – because it’s far from ideal.
As the majority of these so-called ‘original’ Lightning cables are mass-manufactured in anonymous factories overseas, there isn’t as much (or possibly any) quality control as those manufactured by Apple or certified third-party companies.
This means that your cable might split or rip after little use, and even if it doesn’t, something inside the cable may go wrong and render the cable completely useless. We’ve even heard of people breaking unofficial chargers simply by bending them the wrong way – something that would never happen with an official Lightning cable from Apple.
‘This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone’
Since the arrival of iOS 7, iPhones and iPads have been able to automatically detect when an unofficial Lightning cable has been used.
When detected, iOS will display a notification informing you that you’re using an unofficial cable and that it might not perform as expected. This is due to the presence of a chip in certified Lightning cables – something missing from the vast majority of unofficial cables.
Beyond the safety issues associated with unofficial lightning cables, the notification is annoying and not something you want to see every time you plug your iPhone or iPad in to charge.
It could damage your iOS device
iDevice, claims that using an unofficial Lightning cable could be a costly decision.
According to the firm, surges caused by using fake Lightning cables can cause power surges in your iPhone or iPad. The first unit to become damaged is usually the charging chip found inside the Lightning port – without a functional charging port, you will be unable to charge your iOS device.
Even if the charging chip avoids damage, the surge has the potential to damage other internals, from the processor to the actual lithium-ion battery.
So, while you might be shaving a few pounds off the price of your Lightning cable, you may end up with a repair bill for hundreds.