Do Off Brand Lightning Charging Cables For Your Apple Products Really Work?

charging cables, Apple products, off brand products

Standing in the electronics section of Walmart, I had a decision to make. Would I pay $19.99 for a 3ft Apple brand lightning cable, or 1/3rd that cost for an off brand cable that claimed to be able to charge and sync my wife’s iPhone just as well? Under most other circumstances I would have picked the less expensive option, but I was giving serious consideration to paying more for the official Apple cable.

Why would I pay 3 times as much for a cable just because it was made by Apple?

A few months after my wife got her shiny new iPhone, a catastrophic incident occurred that left the lightning cord that came with the phone inoperable. The next morning I purchased a cheap off brand replacement cable which worked great, for about 2 months. My wife stated she would like a longer cord this time around, and thinking the previous cable must have just been a rare bad item, I again purchased an off brand lightning replacement cable. This cable lasted less than a month.

With two quick failures of off brand lightning cables, I started to question their quality.

The cheap cables appear to simply not last. Additionally, I’ve found that some of them flat out don’t work at all when I plug them into the USB charging port in my vehicle.

Looking closer at different brands of lightning cables, I found that the ones priced higher are “MFi Certified.” This is a certification that they pay Apple to obtain, and therefore pass that cost along to the consumer. I doubt that the certification means the cables are guaranteed to last longer or work better than non-MFi certified brands, but they certainly cost more.

I put an official Apple Lightning cord into my cart and continued on with my shopping. If I’m going to pay more for a cable, I might as well get it right from the same company that manufactured the phone. Most of the time I’m all for generic or off brand products as I find the quality is either the same, or fairly close. But in the case of lightning cables for my family’s Apple products, the knock off cables are a bust.

How about you Clever Friends, have you had any luck with buying off brand lightning charging cables for your Apple products, or do you stick exclusively to official Apple cables?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

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About the author

Brock Kernin


  • They do work. They don’t seem to last as long. But it’s not like the authentic ones lasted forever. So if you can get three at 1/3 the cost and have those combine to last longer than one from Apple, then you’re coming out ahead.

    • That’s a big “If”, Money Beagle. I’ve heard some good things about some that can be bought from Amazon, but the ones I bought from Walmart are complete junk.

  • I’m not much of an apple user but I always buy the off brand usb and now usb-c chargers and haven’t had an issue with probably well over a dozen different off brand ones. I’m thinking maybe you just had bad luck with those two.

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