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monoprice-lightning-cable

Making the switch to iPhone 5 (then iPhone 5s) and iPad Air meant replacing all my 30 pin cables with Lightning cables. The problem is that Apple only makes two Lightning cables one 1m ($19) and the other one 2m ($29). They do make a relatively expensive 30 pin to Lightning Adapter ($29), but I’d rather not have to buy those adapters for all my existing cables. This meant buying 3rd party Lightning cables if I wanted something longer than 2m or shorter than 1m. I’ve had the best luck with the 10 foot cables from Monoprice.com. However, the problem is that over time the Lightning connector on the end becomes loose from the cable and you begin to see wires. This will happen even quicker if you disconnect it from your iDevices by pulling on the cable rather than the connector itself. I’ve tried cheaper cables from various manufacturers (most likely made in China) and the problem with these is that they simply stop working after a month or so. The first thing that happens is the connector stops working on one side. Meaning that you have to plug it in one way vs being able to plug it in on either orientation. Then eventually the cable stops working period.

The Solution

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Apple makes another less expensive Lightning Adapter that connects to a standard Micro USB cable. It’s easy to find quality long USB cables since they’ve been making them for years. This means that I can buy relatively low cost Micro USB cables at any length I want and put a Lightning Adapter on them. For example, here’s a 10 foot USB cable from Monoprice.com for only $1.56! Add the Apple Lightning to Micro USB Adapter for only $11.56 from Amazon.com ($19 list price), and you’ve got a 10 foot Lightning cable for less than the price of the 2m (about 6 feet) Lightning Cable from Apple. The other advantage to this solution besides having Lightning cables at relatively any length you want (because you can pretty much get Micro USB cables at any length you want) is that if you take the adapter off you can charge most other mobile devices. I use a shorter version of this in my car so that if the passenger has an iPhone I can off them a charge, but if they have an Android or any other smartphone I can pop off the adapter and use the same cable.

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  • James Cutler

    If you already have the Lightning connector cables, an old trick is reinforcement with fiber and resin – or just dental floss and nail polish. The problem happens with Apple-brand cables too. Here’s an example of a cable repaired after wires started showing:

  • stevenjklein

    Great tip, Terry. I still use a an iPhone 4S with the 30-pin connector, and noticed the same problem, and came across a near-identical solution. Apple doesn’t make micro-USB to 30-pin adapters, but there are lots of 3rd party adapters.

    I’ve tried two such adapters — one had both micro-USB and mini-USB plugs, and the other has must micro-USB.

    Both had similar problems — the USB cable pulls out too easily. But it’s better for the connector to unplug than for the wire to break.

    I use this one.

  • stevenjklein

    Great tip, Terry. I still use a an iPhone 4S with the 30-pin connector, and noticed the same problem, and came across a near-identical solution. Apple doesn’t make micro-USB to 30-pin adapters, but there are lots of 3rd party adapters.

    I’ve tried two such adapters — one had both micro-USB and mini-USB plugs, and the other has must micro-USB.

    Both had similar problems — the USB cable pulls out too easily. But it’s better for the connector to unplug than for the wire to break.

    Here’s a link to the one I bought for $8 on Amazon (pictured below):

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007Z494P6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B007Z494P6&linkCode=as2&tag=yourmacexpert-20

  • Steven Gold

    Interesting back-story: for a long time, the micro-USB adapters were not available from Apple in the Americas but were in Europe. Several years ago, consumer-rights agencies in Europe (sadly lacking in the US) got tired of the growing number of proprietary cellphone chargers and connectors and passed legislation *requiring* all cellphones sold in the European market had to use the same standard charging connector and voltage — a Micro-USB connector and 5 volts. Obviously, the iPhone didn’t (and still doesn’t) but the regulatory agencies said that was OK as long as Apple provided an adapter to allow any standard European cellphone charger with their micro-USB connecters to charge an iPhone.

  • Wow, that can really be helpful to those who want to save up on their expenses but needs to buy an iPhone charger. It was also quite different at first. I have an iPhone 4s that was broken so I needed to upgrade my 30-pin cable too. The Apple Lightning Cable, however, was a bit more convenient for me to bring around since it’s slimmer and the pin itself doesn’t get tangled or stuck along with my other things. Also, I can buy really reliable ones online without the high price that Apple offers. Anyway, keep it up!