How to get your frayed Lightning cable replaced for free

By , Jul 25, 2014

frayed lightning cable

Why is this 6 month old cable already falling apart? That’s the question my wife asked one day, referring to the Lightning cable she has plugged by her side of the bed to charge her iPhone at night.

As much as I tried to find a good reason, there was nothing I could say that would actually explain why this fairly new cable was already fraying. The only explanation I could give her was that these cables are crap.

It’s not like we’re rough on these cables either. We actually take good care of them. My wife’s charger, for example, has never been anywhere but her bedside, just being used at night. This is not the kind of usage you’d think would be so detrimental to a cable supposed to last several years.

Since I believed this cable was still covered by my iPhone 5s warranty, I decided to take it to Apple and see if they would replace it.

How to get a damaged Lightning cable replaced? Just ask

Without making a Genius Bar appointment, I walked into my local Apple Store and walked towards the first employee I saw. He happened to be the manager of the store.

I showed him my Lightning cable and kindly asked if this was covered by my iPhone 5s warranty. He briefly looked at it and told me to wait a second as he walked away. He came back a few seconds later with a brand new Lightning cable, fresh off the store’s shelves.

No question asked. No warranty check. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even bother to ask for my name or anything. I walked out of the store with a new cable but also feeling very satisfied as a customer.

Obviously, your mileage may vary, but it appears that Apple has been offering similar replacement units to people asking for them – our own Jeff Benjamin was also able to get his cable replaced too, simply by asking.

Apple is doing the right thing in offering free cables to replace defective ones, so I am hoping you will do the right thing too and not abuse the system.

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  • BIGODON

    apple cables are crap they made with subpar material, the only thing i’m surprised is they charge you a premium price and offer this as part of pack, this is not excuse

    my nearest apple store is just in another city, miles away from me

  • Jean Morales

    well, and if you bought your phone to a Celular company. like Claro or At&t? i know they give you the warranty but…?

  • therealjjohnson

    Observation: only the charger I leave in the car ends up looking like the above pic (actually worse) and the one I leave at work and at home look “good”. I think it’s something to do with the changing temps of the cord from the sunlight through the window and climate etc. maybe that’s what deteriorates the rubber around it and causes it to break down. Ehh…best I could come up with.

  • Anthony

    About to go try it this just happen to my charger….

  • disqusted

    Coincidental timing! I just said to my brother last night that I’m about to have to waste $20 on a new cable because mine is about to fray.

    There’s a problem though. The nearest Apple store for me, like another poster I saw, is 100+ miles away, which negates the time and money getting a free cable by many times over. So does anyone know how online customer service handles this? Would they just ship me one on my word or do I have to go days without a charge cable (not an option)? Or would I have to ship the old one back and then be subject to their decision if it was actually frayed enough and then maybe charge me $20 anyway? Who knows the answer?

  • J Private Dev

    I’ve always gotten an appointment just in case, but I’ve been doing this for 5ish years now

  • https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/412035973686366208/r14EeLu9.jpeg CPVideoMaker101

    can i do this if my cable is very dmagaed? it stopped working and i removed part of the white to fix it

  • jzack

    mine got replaced twice.. no question asked.. lucky me.. :)

  • http://pluspremieres.org/ Carlos

    This actually works with multiple products. I’ve had my lightning cable replaced, my earpods, and the Apple brand iPhone 5s case. They don’t ask many questions and are usually happy to help. I even lost a pair of earpods and it came up in a conversation with a worker at an Apple store while discussing an iPad, and he replaced the earpods on spot no questions asked.

  • Rook HD

    the best thing about Apple is they have a physical store.

  • Kr00

    What a load of shit. Why would an employee care whether they have to give you a new cable or not? It’s not coming out of their pocket.

    And as for “forbidding” companies (please provide proof of this), Apple license Thunderbolt, because they developed it. It contains a control chip which has to be specific in handling data transfer.

    As we’ve seen with third party USB chargers, people have died from using cheap knock offs, is this what you want? No wonder Apple want to license who manufacturers making compliant hardware.

    There are plenty of third party Thunderbolt cable manufacturers out there, and from my experience, they have the same track record for breaking, yet you want cheaper versions?

    Considering there are numerous people here saying how compliant Apple are in replacing cables, your claim of sales reps blaming customers doesn’t hold water. If you like to back this claim up with some fact, please do, otherwise, back under your bridge you go.

    • gittlopctbi

      Geez, feel better now?

  • MisterC

    The first time my cable broke about 4, 5 weeks after I got iPhone 5 in 2012, I almost had an issue at the Apple Store. They wanted me to buy a new one. After explaining ‘this shouldn’t fail after a few weeks, I wasn’t rough with it. (and I wasn’t). they simply gave me a new one. And again a few weeks after that, 3 more times. I just have my cable in my car for emergency purpose, bought a Belkin dock to place next to my computer. Those lightning cables, and exactly where it’s pictured above are flawed, fragile, and unstable. Sure Apple knows this by now..don’t think they realized that after the initial launch.

  • John

    I made an appt. with the ‘genius’ bar about 6 months after buying my iPhone 5. The headphone wires had fallen apart, these were replaced. When I produced my lightening cable, the ‘genius’ was less willing to replace it. I stated it was faulty, most of the outer insulation having come off. He seemed to imply my usage had been atypical. I informed it had been plugged in near my bed and used each night. He still wasn’t in a hurry to exchange it. I informed him I believed it was now dangerous and possibly even a fire hazard. He then went away and checked with someone before replacing it.

    I like Apple’s iDevice products, I really do. However, the build quality that at times appears to self destruct, leaves a lot to be desired, especially in light of the price they retail for.

  • n0ahcruz3

    We all know idevice usb cables are crap and apple knows it and they design it that way in order for u to order a new one from. Its a good business actually lol

  • Jack Wong

    I have been doing this online with free shipping to my office and free shipping to return the bad one, but it does the warranty check, I am sure there is a friend around you with the latest generation.

    This is why I like Apple smartphone, the accessories/battery also come with warranty.

  • Danial Garratt

    I have gone through 4 lightening cables in a year, we dont have an apple store anywhere near us. I asked a friend to take it in for me as he lives near one. The apple store were very rude to him, to the point where he has made a formal complaint. I gave him 2 freyed cables and they turned round to him and said they are both fake, well one came in the box with my 5s, and the other from the apple store online. they even went as far as to tell him that maybe three (uk network provider) were swapping out the cables in the box with fake ones and told him id need to speak to them. they went and got 2 replacement cables off the shelf and tried to put them through the till and charge him £30+ for 2 cables… this was in the milton keynes store in the UK. if Im ever in the area im going to go myself and have it out with them. they have actually put my mate off ever buying an apple product they were so rude!!

  • Javier Salinas

    I should of tried this. I just threw mine out.

  • dnice

    doesn’t work i went to apple on friday, they checked and my cord was out of warranty so they directed me to buy a new one for $20

  • Brian Voll

    I’ll try this next weekend.

  • punit

    i did it again 3 rd cable now :) happy happy :D apple india rocks

  • Jacob S

    One time I had issue with my charging cube and I just walked into the store without any appointment. I told the guy my charger not working. He checked the charger, went inside and came back with a charger plus a lightning cable. No questions, no name or warranty check. I guess it depends on the location of the store and employee you dealing with.

  • gittlopctbi

    Thanks, Sebastian. I took my cable into the Apple Store and after the customary “we’ll need to see if it is under warranty” statement by the greeter, the person who actually made the replacement didn’t even check my warranty, took one off the rack, did his little “paper work” on his module, and I left with a new cable.

  • mark sandelson

    This is the exact opposite of my experience last night at Apple store Santa Monica. Not only was the salesman a buffoon but the manger accused me of twisting it. I had to show him that it twists itself. He refused to replace it and when I said to him that a class action suit would no doubt follow he told me he could not speak to someone who lawyer-ed up. Again I said that no doubt a class action suit would be forthcoming NOT THAT I WAS FILING IT.
    After going round and round I left without any new cables and feeling really pissed off. I bought new ones from Amazon as they warrant theirs properly. Sod Apple

  • Steve Adams

    Worked for me yesterday, I have a iPhone 5S still in warranty got a replacement lightning cable with no arguments, to be honest I wasn’t sure they would do it (Covent Garden – London,England)