Is it safe to use cheap or second-hand iPhone and iPad chargers and power adaptors that aren’t made by Apple?
After three people were injured in East Asia by malfunctioning chargers (two of whom died) and another suffered burns in England, iPhone/iPad charger safety is a hot topic. Plus, Apple has been forced to recall millions of its own chargers, too. Here’s our best advice on the safety of low-cost, imitation, third-party and even knockoff and counterfeit chargers for the iPhone and iPad.
View official chargers on Apple’s website
Are cheap iPhone chargers safe: 99% of counterfeit Apple chargers fail basic safety checks
Non-official Apple chargers have been in the spotlight recently, after researchfound that the overwhelming majority of counterfeit chargers failed basic safety requirements.
In autumn 2016, tests on 400 counterfeit chargers commissioned by Trading Standards found that only three were sufficiently insulated to protect against electric shocks, a pass rate below one percent.
The chargers were bought from eight count11
Doubts have also been raised conquering the safety of chargers bought second-hand, after a separate set of tests on 3,019 electrical items bought from charity shops and antique dealers found that 15 percent of them did not comply with basic safety requirements covering plugs, insulation and suchlike.
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On 28 January 2016, Apple announced a voluntary recall of AC wall plug adaptors that were sold by the company between 2003 and 2015 with Macs and some iOS devices, and were also part of the Apple World Travel Adaptor Kit.
The recall comes after 12 incidents involving the adaptors were reported. “In very rare cases, affected Apple two-prong wall plug adaptors may break and create a risk of electrical shock if touched.” Apple said in a press release.
Not every Apple adaptor is part of the recall. The fault affects two-prong adaptors designed for use in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Continental Europe, New Zealand and South Korea. Other adaptors for Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom and United States are not affected, nor are Apple USB power adaptors.
If you’re struggling to identify whether your adaptor is part of the recall, you can take a look inside the slot where it attaches to an Apple power adaptor. If you see a box with EUR, KOR, AUS, ARG or BRA inside, you’ve got the redesigned, safer adaptor. If you see numbers, other characters or nothing at all there, your charger may be affected
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As this latest recall demonstrates, just because a charger has been built or sold by a reputable company – even including Apple – that doesn’t mean there is no danger whatsoever. There is always a tiny chance of a manufacturing or human error, or an unanticipated problem. This is not the first time Apple has had to recall power adaptors. It recalled millions of iPhone 3G power adaptors back in 2008 because they were thoughts to pose a shock hazard.
In other words, don’t take safety issues for granted when you’re dealing with even high-quality electrical goods: keep an eye out for wear and tear or suspicious behaviour (sparks, excessive heat). And don’t let your kids handle chargers, of course.
Are cheap iPhone chargers safe: Third-party power adaptor trade-in program
After an investigation into the safety of iPad and iPhone chargers, Apple in August of 2013 announced a third-party power adaptor trade-in program that allowed iPhone, iPad or iPod owners to trade their third-party USB power adaptor for an official one at a reduced cost. This trade-in program ended on 18 October, but not everyone with a third-party adaptor will have taken advantage of the offer.
Apple also built some safety features into iOS 7 and beyond. You might see a message that reads: “This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone,” when you plug your phone in to a counterfiet charger.