Are all iPhone Lightning cables created EQUAL? – Charge Tests, Tips for FAKE cables & Tear Downs

Do you ever wonder how good those cables being sold at gas stations are? How about those lightning cables that are a fraction of the cost of the Apple ones? Do you know what a MFI certified cable is? Does it matter?

Now I’ve never really given any thought to the cables that charge my devices because I’ve never lost a cable nor and out of all the years of using iPhones, the only time I’ve gone and bought cables is for this video.

So does it matter? The short answer is yes. But the…

33 thoughts on “Are all iPhone Lightning cables created EQUAL? – Charge Tests, Tips for FAKE cables & Tear Downs”

  1. Very detailed and informative. Thanks for this video! Is there any difference between Anker Powerline + and Powerline + II? Would appreciate if anyone can answer this.




    JaneLee 😠

  3. I got a crappy apple cable out of apple box, and when i bought a apple cable at apple store it cut charge time in half. I have also bought a cheap $1 cable and it works just as good as a apple cable. Buyer beware.

  4. This is a great in-depth video, but I just wanted to drop my two cents on the subject. I've been repairing electronics for the better part of 5 years, specifically very many Apple devices.

    The cable itself is not necessarily that important, the DC supply it's connected to is significantly more important. The issue with a lot of these cheap cables is they are rarely just the cable. More often than not you're getting a cable bundled with a DC power supply which plugs into a wall outlet.

    The most a cheap cable will do is not really stand the test of time. It's entirely possible to experience slightly slower charging on a crappy cable, even with a really good DC supply, but these are honestly very negligible differences and you probably wouldn't even notice unless you used an ammeter to measure the current draw. The main drawback of cheap cables is they are just…cheap. They are more likely to fall apart, fray, bend, snap, etc. Anker and Startech are the only two brands I've run into so far that have excellent cable quality, the rest I've messed with are total junk.

    Anyway, going back to my first point, the DC supply is what really matters. When it comes to chargers, the AC electricity from the wall outlet is rectified into a DC voltage, and from there it has to be filtered to smooth it out into a flat DC voltage. There's many different ways to filter and smooth a rectified voltage. Ideally, you want it to be as smooth as possible, but the reality is it's impossible to have a completely smooth rectified DC output. If you were to analyze the DC output from a variety of charging blocks using an oscilloscope, you'd see that each one is not a perfectly flat DC voltage. There will be all of these little waves in the voltage. This is called "ripple". The problem with ripple is it absolutely can damage a device's internal charging circuitry, and it's extremely common on iPhones and iPads for this to happen.

    The charging standard for USB power is 5v. This means you want to have the rectified output be as close as possible to 5v. As I said earlier, with any rectification you'll end up with some kind of ripple, so achieving a perfect 5v is impossible. However, some chargers get way closer than others. The way how ripple works is it's measured in a peak-to-peak average. If you have a consistent ripple of 0.1v, then that means your output voltage is really closer to 5.1v than 5.0v.

    I've done a lot of testing on all sorts of chargers, and many of the cheap ones are closer to 5.3v or higher. The highest I've seen averages at about 5.6v I'll spare the nerd details but the point is, more voltage = bad. On many devices this is usually not that much of a problem because the charging circuitry is designed to handle and accept a given range of voltages. It expects to see some kind of ripple and it's designed to work with it.

    iPhones on the other hand…are not. The charging circuitry of these things is very particular, and so much as a 100-200mV p-p ripple is all it takes to cause irreversible damage. Specifically, the USB negotiator that handles all of the Lightning/USB data protocols (usually called U2 or tristar) ends up failing. Without USB recognition the device simply will not charge.

    If anyone reading this doesn't believe me simply Google iPhone tristar and you'll run into hundreds of forum posts from people like me explaining why someone's iPhone suddenly quit charging. So yes…I would say that getting a quality charger is extremely important if you have one of these special snowflake devices that can't handle a little bit of dirty power.

  5. Damn can’t believe a genuine cable hasn’t broke on you. Usually mine last about two years and then I have to get a new one. Usually get a new device by then though

  6. I find disturbing if you are traveling and forget your cable that you get the “Not supported notification” sometimes using a non Apple product. I had done this and was stranded. I kept a spare no name chord on my motorcycle. My phone went totally dead on a low traffic road. Had to flag down another motorist in the middle of nowhere. People nowadays don’t stop for strangers in the middle of the dessert (Arizona). Never forgot that power chord again. Never went down that road again. Just saying that 💩happens and any similar chord should work instead of leaving you stranded. Apple chords start falling apart within 6 months of use. I will check out the Anker chords. Question , is there a way to override that non supported feature? Great video.👍🏾

  7. I have found that other charging cords are terrible and die after a month to two including yo style, onson chargers. The aibocn portable charger chargers my iPhone 10 with an iPhone charger very very quickly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *