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Are Counterfeit Lightning Cables Safe to Use?
Jessica Hopkins

It seems Apple devices and accessories are ubiquitous these days. While it is common for Lightning cables to be used daily, it is not always clear which ones are safe and which ones can lead to problems down the road. The article, “Why Counterfeit Lightning Cables Kill iPhones” written by Motherboard, discusses an unrelenting issue occurring in the charging world of electronic devices, particularly with Apple iPhones.

Counterfeit Cables in Sheep's Clothing

There is an abundance of knock-off Apple iPhone chargers on the market, and while it may seem safe to use them with your iPhone or other Apple devices, it turns out they can actually harm your phone all the way down to the motherboard, causing irreparable damage.

The article discusses how some of the Apple accessories on the market are not MFi (Made for iPhone) approved, meaning that they are not reviewed and tested against Apple’s standards and specification compliances. Charging cables that are MFi approved have been permitted by Apple and are considered safe for use by the general public.  These cables will always include an MFi approved label.

Permanent Damage Can Occur with Unregulated Lightning Cables

Those that have been unfortunate enough to use these unregulated charging cords and have experienced phone damage may suffer these consequences permanently.

The article adds, "If you think you’ve already damaged your phone due to a bum charging cord, I’m afraid there’s no good DIY fix…swapping out the battery or changing the charging port won’t work. It’s the motherboard that needs a little TLC. The Geniuses at the Apple won’t be able to help, either—they can’t make repairs to the motherboard."

Moral of the story is that while it may seem trivial or too expensive to purchase an MFi approved cord, going with this option may actually be saving you a lot of grief and money in the end.

How Can These Problems Be Avoided?


The good news is that Total Phase offers tools that help prevent situations like these for manufacturers and sellers. The Total Phase Advanced Cable Tester v2 is a tool that thoroughly tests cables against multiple standards, including USB and Lightning. Our easy to read pass/fail confirmation is designed to quickly provide insight of a good cable, which can be useful for those in a manufacturing setting. Our tests include continuity checks on pins preventing shorts on the VBUS to data signals, measuring DCR and IR drops on the VBUS and GND power pins, verifying and comparing the E-marker capabilities to advertised data, and even testing for signal integrity of SuperSpeed and High-Speed USB 2.0 pairs to ensure they meet the relevant specifications.

Benefits of the Advanced Cable Tester v2

The main user interface of the Advanced Cable Tester v2 provides users with preset test profiles, which are standard test profiles provided for common cable types. The Advanced Cable Tester v2 supports testing of both Full-Featured and USB 2.0 Type-C cables. Modules are available for legacy connectors, enabling testing of additional types of cables, including Lightning:

  • Standard-A to Micro-B (USB 2.0 & USB 3.1)
  • Standard-A to Type-C (USB 2.0 & USB 3.1)
  • Standard-A to Lightning (USB 2.0)
  • Type-C to Micro-B (USB 2.0 & USB 3.1)
  • Type-C to Lightning (USB 2.0)
  • Lightning to Micro-B (USB 2.0 & USB 3.1)
  • HDMI-A to HDMI-A (up to 12.8 Gbps)
  • Display Port to Display Port (DisplayPort 1.4 and early version specifications)

Test profiles:

Test profiles

For more information about the Advanced Cable Tester, please visit:

Here is  the link to the entire article “Why Counterfeit Lightning Cables Kill iPhones”.

Have questions? Contact sales@totalphase.com for any additional information.