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Fake Lightning cables can damage your iPhone. Here's how to make sure yours is genuine

I have a weird hobby. It's buying Lightning cables from eBay that claim to be "Apple" or "Genuine."
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer
This breaking inside your iPhone can be the start of a bad day

This breaking inside your iPhone can be the start of a bad day.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Once again, I've come across an iPhone that could have been damaged by a poor quality charging cable. The owner thought that they'd bought a genuine cable from an online retailer. 

Apparently it was a "really good deal."

Also: Apple's worst product has now become one of its best

It wasn't a good deal. It was a fake.

And it broke off in the Lightning port after a few weeks of use.

Fortunately, I was able to remove it using a pair of surgical hemostats (a good tool to have in the toolkit).

I know that Apple charges a lot of money for replacement iPhone charging cables, and it's tempting to go looking for a "bargain," but these cheap cables rarely turn out to be bargains. 

Especially if they end up damaging your iPhone.

So, how do you tell if a cable is genuine or not? 

Let's take a look at some of the easiest ways to tell the difference.

Genuine Apple Lightning cable

Genuine Apple Lightning cable

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I find that the easiest way to spot a fake is to look at the Lightning connector. On fakes, this is usually rough and unfinished, the connector on the USB end will also look cheaper and nastier. On the genuine Apple cable, the Lightning connector is clean and smooth and well-finished.

Apple products are built to tight tolerances, while the counterfeit products are not.

The Lightning connector on a genuine Apple cable is smooth and well made

The Lightning connector on a genuine Apple cable is smooth and well made.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

You might not have noticed, but Apple cables are marked with 'Designed by Apple in California' and either 'Assembled in China', 'Assembled in Vietnam' or 'Indústria Brasileira' on the cable, followed by a 12-digit serial number.

You'll find this printed about seven inches from the USB connector. 

Apple cables have markings printed on them

Apple cables have markings printed on them.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Don't want to buy a genuine Apple Lightning cable?

There are plenty of high-quality third-party cables out there, from AmazonAnker and Nomad, so rather than buy something cheap and potentially damaging, go look for something that's decent from a reputable manufacturer, and that comes with a warranty. 

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