Users complain of Lightning cable issues due to corrosion

By , Mar 5, 2014

apple-lightning-iphone-5

Apple has been taking criticism for its new Lightning connector since it was introduced alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012. The change instantly made millions of cases and other accessories incompatible, forcing users to either buy updated products or do without.

Those complaints have since spilled over into the Lightning cable’s durability, with the Apple Store showing a 1.5 star rating of the cable on over 1,200 reviews.  Apparently the cable is vulnerable to breakage, fraying, and according to a new report, corrosion as well…

Here’s more from ZDNet’s Jason O’Grady (via MacRumors):

“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.”

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And it’s not just O’Grady experiencing corrosion problems—several other users have taken to Apple’s support forums to complain of similar issues. Many of them said they were told by Apple the cause of the corrosion was moisture damage, but not everyone agrees.

Forum poster Jim Dion writes:

“I just returned a month old lightning cable and was told by the store that I had exposed it to moisture! When I said that I had not, they did not believe me, but it appeard that this was not the first one of these that they saw. They told me that they would replace it this one time but not again. This is why I pay them thousands of dollars, so that when a $3 cost cable fails they give me trouble? Not the way I would have handled it. They have a problem with this connector and are not prepared to admit it, so it is our fault.”

The complaints in the thread date all the way back to September 2012, but there are some recent posts as well. It sounds like Apple is now replacing these cables without issue, so if you are experiencing similar corrosion problems, it’s worth a trip to your local Apple Store.

But the bigger issue here is that malfunctioning charging components can be dangerous if undetected. In fact, Apple launched a trade-in program for third-party USB power adapters last fall following multiple reports where defective adapters caused fatal electrocutions.

Have you encountered any problems with your Lightning cables?

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  • Kenneth Lin

    Nope.

    • Hector Encinas

      I’m jealous, I have and I’ve only had my charger for a few months. It doesn’t have any water damage because I leave it in my room and don’t even take my phone into the bathroom while I shower let alone my charger. The damage randomly appeared and it’s only getting worse. Sometimes when I plug it in it’ll vibrate and show the charging sign and then stop charging and vibrate again and it just kept vibrating for about 20 seconds until I removed the charger. This is ridiculous.

      • Kenneth Lin

        Did you get Apple to check it out?

  • Modest

    They have been replacing the cables without a problem for like a year now. I’m on my 4th cable now, or 3rd. I lost count.

    • Tommmy

      Yeah, what about countries without “official iPhone sales”? No one’s gonna replace cable here and moreover it is expensive. I like Apple’s products, but there are issues which they don’t want to fix.

      • Ernie Marin

        my advice, get a knock off, buy them in bulk from eBay which is probable less than a new OEM will cost from Apple.

      • Tommmy

        Good idea, thanks.

      • Skoven

        Yeah… but be careful with that – ALOT of the cables on eBay does not work with IOS7.

      • Ernie Marin

        is that only for syncing or charging too?

      • Skoven

        Both… :( They are totally worthless unless you are still rocking IOS6.
        There was a jailbreak tweak that enabled them, but is was taken down, because it didn’t work properly. To bad.

    • BozzyB

      no protection. bad design.

      • Shadowelite123

        and the 30 pin design did? i think not

  • Ishaan Malhotra

    Mine has corrosion and also the white rubber over the wire has come off.

    • Kyle

      Happenig all the time. Have my iP5 since September 2012 and since then I had about 6 Lightning cables, while my most recent one ist about to die now … again. Very frustrating.

      • Ishaan Malhotra

        Have mine since oct 2012, but the original cable is still alive, though in a bad condition

  • Topuz

    You’re humidifying it wrong.

  • http://www.idevicecaregh.com Jeremiah Sarpong

    This post is irrelevant, you should rather advice people to learn how to handle the cable.

    • yoshif8tures

      Ha! And how would you ‘advise’ us? Mine is only next to me bed when charging and it’s been replaced twice already.

      • Ernie Marin

        move it somewhere else.

  • Keir Dicus

    I have the black marks on my charger like the second photo and my charger stopped working after like 3 months!
    I thought it was just me!
    Man apple really needs to look into this

  • CasonAsherTech

    What sucks for me is the closest Apple store is so far away that its not worth the gas. :(

    • Guest

      Order online.

  • Vijay Panjwani

    What!? You should be happy that apple is generous enough to replace your cable…
    i am using the galaxy s4 as my daily driver and my mom is having the lumia 520, its been almost a year that we are using these products and believe me, the cable of s4 is also becoming corrosive and the 520 cable is burnt somehow! But we do not have any other option but to just buy one! Its sad to,see that many of you guys are taking apple advantages for granted and making a dumb blog post about your lightning cable to become corrosive -_-!(not blaming idb but that jim dion)!

    • Vijay Panjwani

      And moreover i think the reason for corrosion is indeed the moisture… It might not be because of you but that fckin winter is all around… Because not any ghost will come and make your cable corrode, it has to be science somewhere!

      • Aaron

        the problem, my friend, is not the fact we’re spoilt rotten. It’s the fact that you have the option to buy a £3 replacement cable for your phone if you wish. Us Apple users have no choice but to spend £15 on a replacement.

      • Vijay Panjwani

        Yeah i see your point… Its true that i have an option to buy a replacement but apple was also allowing users to buy those replacement cables till last year, but it was because of those dumb people using Chinese cable complaining about burnt iPhones and the media to expose it so badly that apple had to take a step that you now only have to buy an original one to get it worked!

      • Shadowelite123

        yea plus there is humidity everywhere so its really just a matter of how it holds up. i have never had a lightning cable break but i have had to replace 30 pin cables and micro usb cables quite a lot

    • Fundy fish

      Holy sh*t your cable is becoming corrosive?

  • http://www.appcast.fm/ Jeff Benjamin

    The corrosion is a real problem. I had one fail just recently, but it _was_ due to moisture. Having the cable in the car during snowy season pretty much guarantees that it will be exposed to moisture if your cable is in an area where it can hit the floor mats of your vehicle.

    That being said, the cable is still poorly made, frays easily, and doesn’t stand up to much abuse. It’s pretty terrible.

    • Ernie Marin

      and just how much abuse is the cable supposed to take?

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        As much as the previous gen 30-pin connector did…I’m still using myne from 4 years ago with no problems.

      • Ernie Marin

        I’ve actually had more problem with the 30 pins than the 8, they would just stop syncing, or not plug in, not to mention the size was an issue always.

    • RarestName

      I guess I’m lucky to live in a country which is literally summer all year, huh?

    • Brent Shelton

      Surely you know to keep electrical items away from snowy floor mats in your car…

      As Ernie said, it’s not a Monster cable built for indoor/outdoor use with IP66/67 rating. It’s a charging cable.

    • Stefano

      didn’t iDB post a reference to an article or write one about how they’re water proof. i swear i read that somewhere

  • Glenn DolFan Baptista

    That’s why I just by generic cables on eBay. Just got a 10 pack for 14.99 should last me a lil while if I handle them gently

    • Fundy fish

      No, trust me those will probably all be broken in a month, the cheap ones like that are so crap. Not worth the money even though they’re dirt cheap.

      • Glenn DolFan Baptista

        Actually the same ones lasted almost 2 years.They just was not iOS 7 compatible so they started to fail. These ones I have now work just fine with ios7.

      • Ernie Marin

        well if they last a month, then that’s 10 months worth of cables for less than half of what one new cable will cost from Apple.

  • Rowan09

    It’s best to get the heavy duty chargers from Best Buy. I never had any corrosion problem but corrosion is always caused by moisture. I have a charger in my car from Belkin and it’s perfect. I usually have my iPhone chargers last me 3-4 years, I’m using my 5 charger and the 5s cable is still in the box so I’m an not a normal user I guess.

  • yoshif8tures

    YES!! I have already replaced two cables because of this and now I think I need to replace a third. This is also for EarPods as well. Thank God I have AppleCare though!

  • Hyr3m

    Way to go Apple!

    Air has moisture; do they expect people to store (and use?) their cables in vacuums ?

    • Ernie Marin

      you have to be careful as alcohol can cause moisture too, it has to be at least 70% (the white one), some people thing they can use the yellow just as good but that’s wrong as the yellow one contains more water.

      • Hyr3m

        Indeed. One has to use the right one but does it do the trick for failing lightning cables ? I would guess so but didn’t get a chance to try it yet…

      • Ernie Marin

        it all depends on how deep the corrosion is, if it made it pass the shielding then you might as well throw the cable out, if it’s merely superficial then you still have a chance to save it.

      • Hyr3m

        IKR…

        I was only asking this because it seems nobody else mentioned this potential solution…

        (also, even if the shielding is corroded away, it may still do the trick for a little while… after which you could clean it again… until you get to your local Apple Store that is.)

      • Ernie Marin

        actually if the shielding is gone don’t even think of using any kind of liquid since it might pour deeper into the part and when you plug it into the iPhone it might short.

      • Hyr3m

        Isopropyl alcohol evaporates/dries out in a matter of seconds. That’s what I use to clean my circuit boards… As long as it’s not plugged in to the power (or computer) and wait at least 5min before you plug it in you should be fine.

      • Ernie Marin

        honestly it’s not worth the risk for a 10 dollar cable at a Walmart.

      • Hyr3m

        Risk ? Oh nvm… just go spend your money if you really want to…

  • SPQRGuyMontag

    I noticed this on the cable I keep in my car just the other day.

  • mahe

    hmmm, no problems here …
    I’ve one in my car since the iPhone5 was released …
    The other one is about 1 year old and I take it with me to festivals … no problem too, and on some it was pissing like hell …
    All other cables are just use at home, of course they are fine …

  • Ernie Marin

    Mine is still fine after a year, and I only have one, the only thing is that now recently the wire cover has come a bit off from the end that goes to the iPhone and you can see some of the wiring, but some tape can fix that.

  • Muhammad Ali

    mine working only one side .

  • J M

    Certainly agree that my lightening cables have not stood up to frequent use at all as well as the old 30-pin cables did. My lightening cables have long ago had the protective coating start to fray very badly around the lightening connector end of the cable. I have now taken to basically using electrical tape around my cables as soon as I get one. One of my cables is entirely dead, already been replaced by apple, they won’t replace it again I was told. Majorly disappointed with the quality of the lightening cables.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Apple quality, ofcorse they designed it that way in order for users to shell out 30$ for cables. Its business.

  • Steve Brea

    This is my 4th lightning cabe I’ve gotten replaced by Apple.

    • Stefano

      regards to quality, has anyone seen the 30 pin female to lightning cable connector. its thick, and very durable. they gotta thicken up the cables for mac laptops and iPhones

      • Steve Brea

        Agreed.

  • Stefano ‘Graziani’ Polo

    Does anyone else (people who keep their phones in their pockets) have issues with dust piling up in the lighting connector slot of the iPhone? After a few months, I have to use an air can to clear out the slot because the cable won’t connect properly to charge the phone. And I don’t mean that the cable sticks out and doesn’t fit, I mean that the slightest bit of dust interferes even though the cable is snug in. It took me forever to realize this and I thought my cable or phone was the issue. I never had this issue with the 30-pin connector

    • Stefano

      DUSTGATE! LOL

  • Stefano

    i have three lightning cables, one in my car on in my backpack and one at home for my iPad… additionally i have a belkin lightning dock. I’ve never had corrosion issues. my brother, father and mother have iPhones with lightning cables. i mean, i want to know where these people live. it can be a salt water issue during humid days if they live near the ocean; and I’m not talking across the street, this can happen a mile away.

  • Brent Shelton

    I have four Lightning cables. Three when I bought my i5 and one when I bought my iPad. Never had an issue with any one of them. Could be luck of the draw or that I’m just careful with my sht. Hmmm.

  • Out5poken

    Damn, I wonder if it was corrosion that resulted in my cable failing after just 4 months! Oh well..Too late now as it’s long gone in the bin…and replaced with a much more durable Amazon basics.

    However I did try to return it to Apple but the store rep told me they weren’t taking back genuine cables, only unofficial ones.

  • http://173.58.214.169/ Anthony3595

    It’s already 3 years and Apple has not taken care of this problem yet. The cable that came with my iPhone3g still works just fine.

  • Jonathan Foell ™

    Wait if you take it to Apple they will replace the lightning port for free? My cord is torn pretty bad and the wiring is exposed.

  • Lance Baker

    I hear this all the time. At least a couple times a week. And yet, I haven’t had an issue with any of my cables. Not sure what I’m doing different.

  • vlimic

    Cody Lee, how do you make the leap from corroded cables being related to third-party charger electrocutions? (Aside from slipping the two into your last paragraph)

  • Shams

    Nope.

  • Shadowelite123

    weird, i have never had a problem with the lightning cable nor bass anyone else i have known. these people complaining could have just damaged it and said it was defective to get it replaced or they are just horrible with cables. not saying that this problem is not genuine but it does seem a bit far fetched if this is not happening to everyone. i know about like 50 people who have never had a problem with the lightning cable and i for one think its perfect the way it is. i didn’t like how big the 30 pin was and i don’t like the micro usb cables used for android phones because of the fact that it is not flip able as in you don’t have to worry about plugging it in wrong