Fake Apple products: Here's how to avoid being fooled—and endangered—by counterfeits
Counterfeit Apple power adapters and charging cables may look like the real thing, but they have differences that can cause injuries to you or damage your device.
Here's how Apple and UL, the global safety and certification company, say you may be able to spot and avoid buying knockoffs.
Apple's genuine iPhone power adapters are white in color, and they are certified with letters in the name of UL, the global safety and certification company based in Northbrook, Illinois.
Some fakes go so far as to spoof Apple's logo and those of the regulatory agencies, even on products with four-star reviews on Amazon. One way to make sure what you're buying is legitimate is to check and make sure the spelling of words such as "California" is correct.
The iPhone power adapters made by Apple that come bundled with iPhones and are also sold separately come in white, sealed Apple packaging. They are not sold loose in bins or other packages.
Certified third-party Apple accessories have the Apple logo on the package, as well as the words "Made for iPhone," or "Made for iPhone iPad iPod."
When shopping online, be mindful of reviews. A number of Amazon and online sellers copy the image of Apple's power adapters to market and sell their fake products, fooling some consumers into buying counterfeit goods by making them think they are getting a great deal on the real thing.
While some fakes even go so far as to copy Apple's logo, looking quickly for the term "MFi certified" (MFi is short for "Made for iPhone") in the product's description or glancing through some of the online reviews can be helpful in discerning what's genuine and what's not.
Genuine iPhone power adapters generally retail for roughly $19. An unusually lower price may be a tipoff to a counterfeit.
An Apple Lightning to USB cable has the wording "Designed by Apple in California" and either "Assembled in China," "Assembled in Vietnam," or "Indústria Brasileira." The wording should be on the cable followed by a 12-digit serial number.
The wording is located towards the USB end of the cable, approximately 7 inches from the connector. The text is written in a tiny, light grey font. You may need to focus carefully to see it.
What to do about non-Apple accessories
One of the biggest selling points for counterfeits is their cheap price as an alternative to Apple's accessories. Good news: There are plenty of legitimate options outside of Apple made by third parties.
Amazon, Anker, Belkin, Mophie and a number of others make legitimate cables and charging solutions for the iPhone. A 6-foot, MFi certified Lightning cable from Amazon Basics is $7.99, more than $20 less than Apple's comparable 2-meter cable (roughly 6.6 feet).
These companies also are helpful in legitimately filling in the gaps of Apple's official offerings, such as wireless chargers, portable batteries and car adapters.
When in doubt, look out for those "Made for iPhone" or "MFi certified" labels and descriptions to make sure what you're buying will work as expected.
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