Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > iOS Blog Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:30 PM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Lightning Cables Failing Due to Corrosion, Cause Unclear




Since being introduced alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012, Apple's Lightning cable has been criticized for its poor durability, as it is prone to breakage and fraying near the adapter.

It appears the Lightning cable may be vulnerable to corrosion as well, according to a report from ZDNet's Jason O'Grady, who noticed corrosion on the gold contacts of his Lightning cable after it had been failing to charge his iPhone.

Quote:
About a month ago the Apple Lightning to USB cable (PN: MD818ZM/A, $19) that I keep in my vehicle for charging my iPhone 5s began to fail. At first charging was intermittent, then within a week the cable wouldn't charge my iPhone at all. A closer look at the male end of the Apple Lightning to USB cable reveals that several of the gold contacts have become corroded.
In addition to O'Grady, several other users on Apple's Support Communities have experienced corrosion issues as well, with reports dating back to 2012. Several users have been told by Apple that it is likely that the cables were exposed to moisture to cause the corrosion, but several reports suggest there was no contact with liquid before the corrosion appeared.

Apple Community user "Brockap3" supplied photos of his Lightning cable under a microscope and suggested that the corrosion was happening primarily on the VBUS/V++/Power pin on the Lightning cable. He offered two explanations for the issue:
Quote:
1) two gold electrodes placed in an aqueous solution with a positive voltage on one wire and ground applied to the other will corrode the positive gold electrode away

2) electrical arcing causing the corrosion (originally I dismissed this as it is just USB - i.e. 5 V /2 A max)

After examining the male and female sides, it would seem both are likely culprits, but you would have to have some pretty serious condensation on the pins to get this to happen with steam.
Apple does appear to be exchanging Lightning cables that are unusable due to the corrosive deposits, so it is likely that users experiencing issues can have their cables replaced at an Apple retail location or through an Authorized Service Provider.

Article Link: Lightning Cables Failing Due to Corrosion, Cause Unclear
MacRumors is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:31 PM   #2
TimeSquareDesi
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Vacaville, CA
Engineered-in obsolescence at it's finest.
__________________
$3,400 Retina MBP - best Windows 8.1 laptop I own
Also: 64gb iphone 5, 16gb iphone 5s, ipad mini 1st gen.
TimeSquareDesi is offline   14 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:32 PM   #3
Sky Blue
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
happened to one of mine, will try to get it replaced.
Sky Blue is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:32 PM   #4
pmz
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NJ
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeSquareDesi View Post
Engineered-in obsolescence at it's finest.
Yeah when they replace them for free it certainly seems that way.
/sarcasm
pmz is offline   26 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:34 PM   #5
macnerd93
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: United kingdom
mines been through the washing machine and it still works fine
__________________
21.5'' iMac, iMac G4, iMac G5, Power Mac G5 Dual, PowerBook G4, MacBook Pro, MacBook, Mac mini C2D, eMac, Power Mac G4 AGP Graphics, Power Mac G4 Quicksilver, iPod 4th Gen, iPad mini, iPhone 5S,
macnerd93 is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:35 PM   #6
Mac Eagle
macrumors member
 
Join Date: May 2010
CableGate?

sorry, my apologies to everyone in advance. I just couldn't resist.
Mac Eagle is offline   10 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:36 PM   #7
Codyak
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Only problem I've had is on one of mine, the outside cover is fraying.
Codyak is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:37 PM   #8
cymad
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
iPhone 5 = usually outside warranty. Apple didn't exchange my cable after it stopped working. They told me I could buy a new cable for 15, so I decided to buy 10 cables for 8 on eBay, that's 0.80. They still seem to work. Maybe Apple should try copying the knock offs.
cymad is offline   3 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:38 PM   #9
Radio
In Time-Out
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central California
I've been highly Disappointed with the lighting adapter.

Apple should of just killed the cable and created a charge sync wifi station
Radio is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:40 PM   #10
arian19
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
use a toothbrush to scrub that corrosion off, and you are back in business.
arian19 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:40 PM   #11
acidblue
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Roswell, GA (unfortunately)
This accessory may not be supported.

I have 3 Apple Lightening cables (shipped with iPod, iPad and iPhone). One of the cables just recently started to cause the "This accessory may not be supported." error. It doesn't pop up immediately every time. But, after a few minutes it might display on the phone and stops charging. It was really annoying when I found out it was having a problem when I actually needed to use the cable when I was at work and my phone was runnin' low. How annoying. I don't see any corrosion on the leads though. So, I wonder what other issues there could be. Or, I could just have a bad cable.

If I'm near an Apple store, I'll try to return it and see if they will replace it.
acidblue is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:42 PM   #12
DonutHands
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
liquid, condensation, sweat, on the cable, then plug it in and it corrodes. omg, wow, who would have thought.
DonutHands is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:43 PM   #13
Intell
macrumors P6
 
Intell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Inside
But gold doesn't corrode.
__________________
Last edited by Intell; Yesterday at 6:21 AM.
Intell is offline   6 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:46 PM   #14
definitive
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
and that's why it's a good idea to skip apple's overpriced cables, and buy several cheaper and compatible cables off of ebay instead.
definitive is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:46 PM   #15
Dr McKay
macrumors 68040
 
Dr McKay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kirkland
Send a message via MSN to Dr McKay Send a message via Skype™ to Dr McKay
iPod/iPhone cables have never been Apples strongpoint for durability.

__________________
If only I could be so grossly incandescent.
Dr McKay is offline   28 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:51 PM   #16
goobot
macrumors 601
 
goobot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: long island NY
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intell View Post
But gold doesn't corrode.
I think when they said gold they mean color, because as you said gold doesn't corrode.
goobot is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:51 PM   #17
carjakester
macrumors 68020
 
carjakester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Midwest
one of my chargers had that happen to it.
__________________
Late 2013 rMBP iPad 4 Retina Ipad Mini Iphone 6 Gold 64GB Apple TV 3
carjakester is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:54 PM   #18
zorinlynx
macrumors 68020
 
zorinlynx's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida, USA
This happened to one of my cables. All the others are fine. The one it happened to happens to be the one that was in my car for a long time, where there's moisture and heat in the summer.

Coincidence? I think not; the one on the 30-pin to lightning adapter stuck in my iHome alarm clock, which gets a plug-in-and-out cycle every 24 hours or so, is perfectly fine.

They just need to engineer them a bit better to resist moisture and heat, I think.
__________________
Old-school Apple ][ expert! Ask me if you have a ][ question!
Apple user 1983-1992, 2003-Present -- Linux user 1995-Present
Windows-free since 2003! Though I still have to deal with it at work.
zorinlynx is online now   2 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:55 PM   #19
vpndev
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: May 2009
Magsafe

I've been very happy with the redesign of the Magsafe connector. The "T" version was a problem but the "L" one has been fine. I notice also that the cable itself is stiffer
vpndev is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:56 PM   #20
bearbo
macrumors 68000
 
bearbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr McKay View Post
iPod/iPhone cables have never been Apples strongpoint for durability.

Image
It's amazing how people don't take care of their products, and go blame the manufacture when they break their things. Out of the 20 some OEM Apple USB cables and power adapters that I used over the last 10 years, none of them shows sign of fraying. Some power adapters eventually failed, but not from frayed cable.

Not saying Apple's products and peripherals don't ever fail, but frayed cables are usually the users' fault.
bearbo is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 03:59 PM   #21
alent1234
macrumors 603
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearbo View Post
It's amazing how people don't take care of their products, and go blame the manufacture when they break their things. Out of the 20 some OEM Apple USB cables and power adapters that I used over the last 10 years, none of them shows sign of fraying. Some power adapters eventually failed, but not from frayed cable.

Not saying Apple's products and peripherals don't ever fail, but frayed cables are usually the users' fault.


most of mine fell apart, unlike the "fake" ones i've bought on amazon
alent1234 is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 04:02 PM   #22
seble
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearbo View Post
It's amazing how people don't take care of their products, and go blame the manufacture when they break their things. Out of the 20 some OEM Apple USB cables and power adapters that I used over the last 10 years, none of them shows sign of fraying. Some power adapters eventually failed, but not from frayed cable.

Not saying Apple's products and peripherals don't ever fail, but frayed cables are usually the users' fault.
Lies. Every apple charger (and headphone cable) I've had since 2007 has broken or frayed at some point. This goes for Macbook, iOS device you name it. They're simply terrible. The only Apple cables I've not had to replace are the ones in static machines (iMac) and in my 2003 powerbook, of which has that 'ugly looking' anti fraying device shown on the black cable that someone posted above.
seble is offline   5 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 04:02 PM   #23
ENduro
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Detroit, MI
You're not charging it right.

Seriously, if you're going to try and lock down your cables to maximize profit you best make them bulletproof. Including against fraying because that isn't abuse, it's normal wear and tear and should hold up to it. Best to just get a Mophie and use the mini USB to charge it. Or blow on them like a Nintendo cart.
ENduro is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 04:07 PM   #24
christarp
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
am I the only one that has never had any problem with their apple cables?

Even my original 30 pin on my ipod video (2005) still works perfectly (even the buttons you need to press to release it from the device!) and has no fraying at all. Every 30 pin I have and every lightning cable I have is still in near perfect condition.
christarp is online now   12 Reply With Quote
Old Mar 4, 2014, 04:08 PM   #25
mbh
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
That enlarged photo looks like solder splatter. Maybe the cable picked this up at the factory, or at the home or work of the owner if they do any soldering.
mbh is offline   1 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > iOS Blog Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lightning cables are different for the 5S and 5? DDar iPhone Accessories 14 Oct 9, 2014 08:05 PM
iPad Mini: Anyone try these Lightning Cables? pat park iPad Accessories 2 Jan 29, 2013 12:30 PM
Lightning cables nelly22 Mac Peripherals 0 Nov 29, 2012 11:54 AM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:10 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC