Why you shouldn't buy cheap iPhone cables

You should never buy a cheap iPhone cable - it could be riskier than you first thought. Here's why you shouldn't buy cheap Lightning cables, and also how to spot one.

With prices of copy lightning cables and iPhone charger cables so cheap, it's hard to convince iPad and iPhone owners to fork out extra cash for the genuine cables. Apart from unreliable, cheap cables can also be dangerous in certain circumstances and can also cause long term damage to your cherished device.

So, first of all, what's wrong with the cheaper iPhone cables that are mass produced and sold in bulk?

Because they're manufactured in bulk in anonymous factories, there really isn't much quality control or product checking involved - if it looks ok it's shipped in a box with thousands of others. It means your cable will be more likely to rip after little use, or something could even go wrong inside. We've heard stories where one bend in the cable has rendered the cable useless.

This doesn't happen with official cables - as they're put through rigorous testing procedures to make sure they're up to the job.

Since iOS 7, your iPhone or iPad have had built in detection mechanisms to warn you of the possible issues with using copy cables. It knows this due to the lack of a computer chip inside the cable, that's often missing in the cheaper cables.

Even if this doesn't annoy you too much, and you're not too fussed about the safety hazards - there's also the real danger of damaging your device. At Phone Bar we see hundreds of devices every year where the end of the charger has snapped off inside the charging port, we also see devices with blown power management chips on the logic board - something that is super expensive to repair, if it can be repaired at all. Another common repair is a battery replacement due to a swollen battery - mostly caused by using cheap charging cables.

After UK-based Chartered Trading Standards Institute tested a bunch of 400 fake cables - results showed only 1% of them, that's only 3 single cables out of 400 - passed basic assessments for safety. The most common fault with them was a lack of insulation, which is designed to stop you getting an electric shock when using the cable. These cables were tested after users started complaining they could feel the current through the wire - something you should not be able to feel.

So how do I know if a cable is legitimate?

The first step to watch is the price - if you've paid £3-£5 from a market stall or a backstreet phone repair place - your alarm bells should be ringing. Genuine Apple Lightning Cables are £19 from Apple - so if it's pretending to be an Apple cable for less than that, it's unlikely to be real.

Watch out for error codes when syncing with iTunes or if it flashes on and off charge while charging - that's another sign of a fake cable.

When buying approved cables, look for the 'Made For iPhone' design on the packaging - all of our cables have this logo to ensure safety for all of our customers.

Where do I buy a safe cable from?

Click here to view the Lightning cables available at Phone Bar.