How to Spot a Counterfeit Cable

Apple’s prices for Lightning, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 cables may seem high compared to others you can easily pick up from any retailer or online for much less.

Unfortunately, when it comes to cables, you often get what you pay for.

We advise you to stay away from the bargain basement prices from no-name manufacturers. If you see a supposedly genuine Apple cable selling for a too-good-to-be-true price, it is probably a fake. To help assess cables, Apple created a detailed page that explains how to identify counterfeit or uncertified Lightning accessories

This image provides a quick overview of how to evaluate your purchases:


The problem with cheap cables is not just that they might break or wear out sooner than more expensive ones. Many modern cables carry power as well as data. When there’s sufficient juice flowing down those tiny wires, a short circuit can fry hardware. In the worst cases, this generates sparks or smoke. While fires aren’t likely, they have happened. In fact, Target just recalled 90,000 Lightning to USB cables after 14 reports of the cables smoking, sparking and igniting.

Spend a little more on quality products from reputable manufacturers so you don’t have to worry about your valuable iPhone being damaged by a $3 counterfeit Lightning cable.

Follow this advice to ensure a long life for even heavily used cables:

  • Don’t create sharp bends in the cable, especially near the connector. When coiling your cables, avoid wrapping them tightly around something that’s not round. A tight wrap can cause kinks that will degrade the wires inside.

  • When unplugging your device, pull from the plug instead of further down on the cord. That avoids stress near the connector.

  • Don’t put heavy objects on cables, or sandwich them between a desk and the wall.

  • iPhones may be fairly water resistant, but try to keep both the Lighting port and the cable’s pins away from liquids and clean to avoid a short circuit. USB-C cables are less susceptible to such problems because of their metal jackets, but it’s still worth being careful.

  • If a cable’s insulation ever breaks so you can see the wires inside, wrap it with electrical tape right away, and replace it as soon as you can.


arobasegroup has been consulting with clients and advising the best use of Apple Technology since 1998. We listen to our customers and solve problems by addressing their specific, unique needs; we never rely on a one-size-fits-all solution or require them to use a specific product. arobasegroup is your advocate in all things related to information technology. Contact us to learn how we can help: