Apple’s Lightning authentication already cracked?

By , Oct 9, 2012

Apple’s new Lightning connector, currently utilized on the iPhone 5 and the new iPod touch and iPod nano, features an authentication chip, also found inside the Lightning cable. The chip, along with tightened ‘MFi’ terms, exists to ensure that only Apple-authorized Lightning accessories (like the Lightning to 30-pin adapter) function with Lightning-equipped iOS devices.

Some folks suspect it also serves to prevent third-party alternatives offered by places like Alibaba.com. I guess Apple won’t be too pleased realizing that cracked chips which bypass its authentication functions are now reportedly available…

Chinese firm iPhone5mod just released an interesting iPhone 5 Flash Lightning Dock and MacRumors got in touch with the company, confirming that “they are currently using original Lightning controller chips from Apple’s supplier, ensuring proper functionality”.

As previously reported, Apple’s authentication chips assist with dynamic assignment of pin functionalities in the connector and converting signals received through the connector for output at the other end of the cable.

However:

iPhone5mod did, however, inform us that they have also obtained cracked chips that bypass Apple’s authentication functions and that the cracked chips are working just as well as the original chips, suggesting that we may soon see a significant increase in unauthorized third-party Lightning accessories.

If history is indication, Apple’s legal team no doubt will be after unauthorized third-party Lightning accessories.

What do you think, could have Apple introduced a smaller dock connector without exercising so much control over accessory makers?

Is Apple putting a chip inside to prevent unauthorized accessories from damaging your iOS device or just to squeeze more money out of accessory vendors?

By the way, iPhone5mod’s Lightning cable and dock are just $39 and available now.

Take that, Apple!

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  • Kurt

    haha apple

  • http://twitter.com/kriss631 Kriss Zavala

    Its going to benefit a lot of people. Instead of buying one of the 30 pins for $20+ I bought 2 colored with house, and car charger. For 5.99 online.. Just imagine how cheap these new lighting cables will be to buy.

  • wadjj

    Come on folks, they have ready to ship third-party product in China already. Though it might has problem in video or audio output, I never believed I’d have to buy a 30 dollar charging cable, someone will take care of that, sooner or later.

    • puggsly

      The current Apple branded cables are $19.99.

      • wadjj

        25 Australia dollars down here, US always got the cheapest.

      • notewar

        but their minimum wage is like $7 bucks though

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Wagers/1094372411 Chris Wagers

    It seems people can crack just about anything. It amazes me.

    • jose castro

      apple tries all the time and fails pretty much all the time..

      • Jason

        Not really, still waiting on an ATV 3 hack

      • Tobbe

        if one person can create it, another person can recreate it…

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      anything made by a human can be broken by a human

    • disqusted

      For whatever electrical engineers and programmers that create their most impressive attempts at “protections” at Apple or any company for that matter, there are 100 SMARTER electrical engineers and programmers to crack that crap open like an oyster. There’s always someone willing to reverse engineer or find weaknesses in your design. And they will. Always. It’s just a matter of TIME. That’s the only factor that varies. I mean if you’ve got some kid like George Hotz owning BOTH Apple AND Sony’s copy-protection and software security… Geniuses are born every day— and they’re not hanging out at the bar in your local Apple store.

  • philadelphia

    I’m glad they cracked it.. What is Apple doing this for anyway? If its purely for money then shame on you Apple..

    • R0tten

      It’s so people can’t ‘copy’ their cables. They think charging technology is owned by them.

  • http://twitter.com/shagans Stephen

    This option is still quite expensive. $19 for the cable alone from iPhone5Mod.. $39 for a cable and dock is a little crazy too.

  • soccerkrzy

    Apple will defend this relentlessly. Cables are a ridiculous markup for them and they’re intending to keep that. The fact you can buy a 2m microUSB cable for less than $2 shipped….but nope, you can get a 1.07m Lightning cable for $20.

    • AdamChew

      No one ask you to buy one.

      I can’t believe people whining about anything Apple when they don’t use Apple products.

      • soccerkrzy

        Hey moron, I’ve had an iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, and now the 5, with two iPads, and a MacBook Air (for writing apps, OSx blows, I hate my MBA). I just had to spend $80 on 2 additional Lightning cables and an adapter cable. I have every right to complain about the greedy and selfish company of Apple in my OP.

  • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

    Tell me, what can I do with my Digital AV Adapter that cost me 50$ that I used with the 4S, now that I have an iPhone 5. Throw it away? Simply marvelous step Apple.

    • AdamChew

      Use the Appe adapter over a year and it will cost next to nothing something like .10cents a day.

    • @dongiuj

      Sell it on ebay

  • http://www.facebook.com/dietermarkus Markus Hudobnik

    I still can’t believe it’s $30 for an adaptor. It’s completely stupid. I can’t wait to buy cheap $5 ones for all my old accessories

  • goofygreek

    Looks like apple is starting to get greedy. Why else would that make such a proprietary cable. Pretty soon the iPhone is going to have some crazy patent on it that prevents 3rd party vendors from making accessories. And if apple is doing it just to protect their own asses. well then they should just put in writing that your warranty is voided if you use non-apple accessories.

    • @dongiuj

      No, apple’s always be greedy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Keith-Wilson/100000592569208 Keith Wilson

    What’s the name of that song though? Lol

    • iHamzaDev

      Get Shazam, run it and hold it next to the song that’s playing. maybe Shazam might do something for you. Otherwise, you’re SOL.

  • smtp25

    I reckon the chip is only there so they can sue people that make 3rd party cables. They knew it would be cracked .. just like the older 3rd party chargers for ipod/iphones that wouldn’t charge at full amps unless it had the special wiring trick applied

  • ryan treadwell

    what if these chips could somehow block the jailbreak stuff from jailbreaking your phone when it is connected to your computer…that would suck but i wouldnt be suprised if apple did it but im probably wrong though i hope :/

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-H-Alvarez/100000031533460 Luis H. Alvarez

      hmmmm

  • Mèo Con Đi Chơi

    I have many Apple lightning cable, its produce by Foxconn, but the chip on it was not have firmware (or code..) and it not working. Who can help me? Please contact me meoconlovemaunhung@gmail.com to price agreement. Thanks!