How Apple's iPhone charging cable could finally be as good as the phone

  • Apple may equip the iPhone 15 with an elegant, well-made braided USB-C charging cable.
  • They may be color-coded and longer than existing cables.
  • Considering how well Apple does everything else, its cables are surprisingly bad.

Apple's next iPhone may come with the cute braided charging cable that comes with the MacBook. Thank goodness, because Apple's current cables are disgraceful garbage.

Given Apple's reputation for quality hardware, from the ridiculously well-made iPhones to the design and engineering of the iPad case packaging, it seems crazy that its cables are so bad. I don't think it's because we use it more than other cables. According to rumors, the iPhone 15 will come with a USB-C braided cable, which may even match the color of the iPhone. Would these cables be better? Here's hoping, because they can't get any worse.

"Perceptions of the poor quality of Apple's standard iPhone Lightning cables may be due to the fact that they fray significantly more easily than other aftermarket options," said the software designer, electrical engineer and engineer. "Many people find that these cables wear out after extended use." Will wear or break," technology writer Matt Kerr told Lifewire via email.

Going back to the hard drive based iPod, I love the fact that Apple provides cables that crack, fray, or most worryingly split, fray, and turn brown around the wound. The cables are wrapped in plastic that hardens and cracks quickly, causing it to split around the USB-C and Lightning plugs.

Plastics have improved over time - Apple may have switched to softer plastic at one point - but in my experience they're still prone to breaking around the plug connector. I am a very careful cable handler and rarely take cables out of the house.

For comparison, take a look at Apple's EarPod cable, which also comes in the box with the iPhone. Although they get more abuse, are stuffed in bags, or piled in pockets, they rarely suffer from the same problems.

In many ways, iPhone charging cables are disposable items that almost reluctantly come with every device. They are too short, thin, cheap, and in my experience and seeing cables abused by friends, they are not durable. But we probably all have an old box full of unused iPhone cables we've collected over the years that we can use when needed. Like I said, they're pretty much disposable.

"I wish they could make them more durable. My Apple charger cables are 100% a failure," said iPhone cable buster Mrr in a MacRumors post that Lifewire contributed to.

On the other hand, until you break them, they're safe, reliable, and seem to keep working even under the worst cable abuse.

"I've never failed, not even since the original iPhone," Rychiar, a long-time iPhone owner and apparent cable junkie, replied in the same discussion thread.

Not all USB-C cables are the same; some may not have the proper certifications to ensure they won't damage your device or transfer data slower.

The problem is, most replacement cables are junk too. To get decent cable, you have to pay. Fortunately, you don't have to pay Apple's cable prices, which are currently $19 for a standard 3-foot cable and $29 for a 6-foot cable.

My favorite charging cable is from Anker. Specifically, the Anker 551 USB-A to Lightning Cable is a nylon braided cable that is durable and works well. I've been using the same Anker braided cables at home and traveling for years and they're like new.

Even my partner, a notorious cable abuser, even supports their iPhone vertically while standing on the cable itself, and FaceTiming has so far not broken or even damaged their Anker cable.

The trick with cables is that you can't buy them cheap. Do not remove the blister pack from the hanger next to the supermarket checkout. Don't order the cheapest cable from Amazon. Spend a little more money and not only will your cables get better, but they'll last longer. These Ankers range in price from $17.99 to $19.99, depending on length (up to 10 feet), and are easily more durable than four $5 cables.

In addition, cheap off-brand cables present safety risks. They may carry a tiny tracking computer hidden inside a USB plug.

"With USB-C iPhones, consumers should be wary of the quality and certification of the cables they purchase. Not all USB-C cables are the same; some may not have the proper certifications to ensure they won't damage your device or be slower Data transfer speeds," Kerr said.

Of course, Anker is far from the only option. But if the rumors are true, you may soon be able to rely on the iPhone cables that Apple ships in the box. If it used the same cable that comes with the MagSafe MacBooks Pro, it would be a huge improvement, sturdier, feels and looks better, and has nice, pleasant soft flex.