It’s a cable. Sure, cables are just a bunch of wires with a connector at each end, but they’re critical to almost everything we do on our devices so those cables need to be treated with care. End of story, right? My experience with computer cables goes well back into the last century. Cables have issues. So do their users.
There may come a time in the not too distant future when we have a world without cables. The latest and greatest are versions of Apple’s Lightning cable– USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, which share the same connector.
You may have experience similar to technology writers who complain about Apple’s cables. I don’t recall reading complaints about Samsung cables. Does Samsung make better cables? Are cable problems not a big deal among customers? Or, are technology writers required to complain about all things Apple and on slow news days frayed cables reach the top?
Whatever it is Apple’s cables come out on top as the worst. Google iPhone cable problem and you’ll get a list of hints and tips to make you iPhone cable last longer. Some tips are from Apple, others from experienced users, but the most important tip is easy– treat the cable with some respect, disengage it from the iPhone or iPad (or Mac) not by pulling on the cable itself, but gently pull the connector.
My cable experience goes back to the Parallel and Serial days, back when cables were brutally heavy and thick, back when cable connector pins were a thing and damage was easy to come by. By those standards, today’s Lightning cable and USB-C Thunderbolt 3 cable might seem even more delicate– based upon size– but that’s not the case. To date, I’ve never needed to replace a Lightning cable, but did have a problem with two 32-pin cables and connectors from back in the iPod era. One I dropped and stepped on, the other pulled loose where the cable meets the connector.
David Payette of Genius Bar fame has a nice list of things you can do if your iPhone won’t charge, all related to the cable and charger, and most problems can be tracked back to the connector that plugs into the device, whether iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Wireless charging on current and future devices might make those points moot, but they’re worth a read.
Take a very close look at both ends of the USB cable you use to charge your iPhone. Apple’s lightning cables are prone to fraying, especially at the end that connects to your iPhone. If you see visible signs of wear, it might be time for a new cable.
Agreed. That’s where most of the issues arise and that’s the part of the cable that customers touch the most, therefore, handle that end of the cable more carefully. The other end doesn’t move around much. If the trouble isn’t caused by an obviously frayed cable, determining the issues becomes an adventure of trial and error. Swap out the cable. Swap out the charger. Try a different device. Hard restart the iPhone or iPad.
Payette recommends a specific cable brand that is Apple MFi-Certified and priced higher than an Apple cable. Amazon has AmazonBasics Lightning cables, too, usually less expensive than most replacement cables but when it comes to Lightning and USB cables, usually you get what you pay for so the best way to keep a cable working well for many years is to handle it carefully.
This gentle rant about cables where I’m certain the cable fraying issue is more about user than Apple’s branded cables, stems from my father who said, “Take good care of your stuff, and your stuff will take better care of you.”