04/10 2016

Identify counterfeit or uncertified Lightning connector accessories

Apple recommends using only accessories that Apple has certified and that come with the “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad” logo. Learn about the issues that counterfeit or uncertified Lightning accessories can cause and how to identify these accessories.

If you use a counterfeit or uncertified Lightning accessory, you could see these issues:

  • Your iOS device could become damaged
  • The cable might be easily damaged
  • The connector end might fall off, get very hot, or might not fit properly into your device
  • You might not be able to sync or charge your device

Compare packaging and writing on the cable

To identify counterfeit or uncertified cables and accessories, look carefully at the accessory’s packaging and at the accessory itself. Certified third-party accessories have the MFi logo on their packaging. An Apple Lightning to USB cable has “Designed by Apple in California” and either “Assembled in China,” “Assembed in Vietnam,” or “Indústria Brasileira” on the cable about seven inches from the USB connector. You’ll see a 12-digit serial number at the end of this text.

A certified, third-party Lightning to USB cable usually has company branding on the Lightning-connector end.

Compare connectors and laser etchings

You can use the Lightning connector, USB connector, and laser etchings to identify counterfeit or uncertified Lightning accessories. Compare the images below of certified Apple accessories and counterfeit or uncertified Lightning accessories. These are only a few counterfeit products. There are others.

Lightning to USB cable, Lightning-connector end

Here are examples of the Lightning-connector end of the Lightning to USB cable. The first three are Apple-certified, the others are counterfeit or uncertified.

Apple Certified Lightning to USB cable

Single piece
Rounded, smooth contacts

Width and length of Apple boot is consistent (7.7 mm x 12 mm)

Gray/metallic faceplate insert

Counterfeit or uncertified Lightning to USB cable

More than one piece
Rough or inconsistent finish
Squared contacts with an uneven surface

Varying width, length, or thickness

White or black faceplate insert


Lightning to USB cable, USB-connector end

Here are examples of the USB-connector end of the Lightning to USB cable. The first four are Apple-certified, the next set are counterfeit or uncertified.

Apple Certified Lightning to USB cable

Interlocks on USB shell are trapezoidal
Interlocks are equally spaced from edge

USB contacts are gold-plated

USB surface is smooth and consistent
Surface of USB shell is flat

Surface of the insulator for the USB connection is uniform and flat

Counterfeit Lightning to USB cable


USB shell interlocks are square
Interlocks are inconsistently spaced


USB contacts are silver-plated


USB surface is rough or grainy
Surface of USB shell has a detent or retaining divot


Insulator for USB connection has notches or indents

Lightning to 30-pin Adapter

Here are examples of the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter. The first is Apple-certified, the others are counterfeit or uncertified.

Apple Certified Lightning to 30-pin Adapter

Icon for 30-pin dock connection is laser-etched and clear
The connection between adapter body and Lightning connector is flush


Counterfeit Lightning to 30-pin Adapter


Blurry or missing laser etching
Step-down or large notch between adapter body and Lightning connector
Differences in the appearance of the Lightning connector

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