iOS 7 Killed Off Some Unlicensed Lightning Cables, But Here’s A Fix That Might Work For You

iOS-7-Could-Save-Your-Life

It’s not just you: iOS 7 has seemingly killed off support for some unlicensed, third-party Lightning cables.

We’re seeing numerous reports from users that iOS 7 has blocked support for many knock-off Lightning chargers. When you plug them in, iOS 7 will warn you that the cable is unlicensed and may not function properly, and will then fail to sync or charge. This does not appear to be universal, some cables are still working fine despite the warning. But a large number have been rendered non-functional.

I can confirm this myself. I have a short, three-headed hydra of a cable that I love to use with an external battery pack when I’m on the go: when head is a Lightning charger, the next a 30-Pin, the final one a micro-USB. Since iOS 7 officially dropped, the Lightning adapter has stopped working, while the rest of the cable syncs and charges just fine.

You might recall that when the earliest iOS 7 betas hit, iOS 7 would warn users when an unsupported Lightning cable was plugged in, but otherwise didn’t take any action. Unlicensed Lightning cables would sync and charge just fine. Starting with the GM, however, Apple has apparently started enforcing compliance with its MFi licensing program for all third-party cables… and shutting out anyone who dares to release a Lightning knock-off without paying Apple their share.

However, some devious third-parties have already figured out how to fool Apple’s detection mechanism. It’s possible that some of the unlicensed cables that still work implement this crack.

Although I have had no luck getting this to work with the third-party Lightning cable I have here, some users are having luck with this workaround:

1. Turn on USB power.
2. Plug in Lightning cable to iPhone.
3. Dismiss any warnings.
4. Unlock your iPhone.
5. Dismiss any remaining warnings.
6. Now with the screen turned on, unplug the Lightning cable.
7. Plug it back in.
8.Dismiss warning again. It should now charge.

It should be no surprise that Apple is officially ending support for third-party, unlicensed Lightning cables. The fact that counterfeit cables can now be detected using Lightning’s advanced chip detection was a major reason why Apple shifted to the standard to begin with.

Still, this is a big bummer to me, and no doubt a lot of other Apple customers. It might not be licensed, but my tri-headed hydra of a cable served me well, and there’s nothing licensed that does the same thing. Fingers crossed someone fixes this, and soon.

Is your unlicensed Lightning cable still working after the iOS 7 update? Is it broken? We’re trying to gather more data. Let us know what cable you have, and if it’s still working in the comments.

  • Rygaard

    if you just do nothing, and wait like 10 seconds it will start to charge, just tested it
    Source :http://www.duaf.dk/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=102

  • JohnDHynes

    I’ve had a few knockoff cables, and they all do this after a while, some quicker than others. They work ok at first, then you start getting the warnings, and have to unplug and replug to get them to work. Eventually, even that stops working. They just wear out. Has nothing to do with iOS 7, I don’t have iOS 7. Then I go buy some more. Still cheaper than buying Apple’s.

  • thewiccaman

    Plugging/unplugging as above seems to work for me with ‘some’ of the non-official lightning cables I have – not tested all of them (I have a few!)

  • dcj001

    Isn’t it just easier to buy new Lightning cables?

  • halcyonphotos

    iPhone 5 has the charging symbol but actually loses power then puts a bit of charge in. Most I’ve got in is 16% before it drops again. iPad 4 won’t even charge. Both will sync though. I’m even more concerned about the battery power drain before I get them to a charger. iPhone 5 dropped about 40% in an hour of hardly using it! No brand name on the cables so I don’t know what make they are. I don’t have a genuine cable as that packed up within a few months. Never thought it would be covered by warranty. Having cable for home, work and car makes life easy but can’t pay out for 3 apple cables!

  • troopersam

    Eastern Collective cloth braided cables working with iPhone 5 on iOS7. Was surprised to find they weren’t MFI licensed.

  • Mystakill

    Give it a week and the cable manufacturers will have worked around this again. They’re cheap enough that I just buy ‘em 5 or 10 at a time; with dogs and kids, even the official cables don’t last very long :(

  • troopersam

    I wasn’t entirely clear…Eastern Collective cables recognized as not certified by iOS7, but work fine after dismissing the warning.

  • WafiqAli

    Most third party cables will work with iOS 7 even if the error comes up. The Practical Meter is a kickstarter funded product that diagnoses this exact problem. You can see real time feedback on how much juice your phone is drawing REGARDLESS of what i)S 7 is telling you. Check it out

    http://www.thepowerpot.com/solar-power-optimized-practical-meter

  • Paul Burt

    I have a battery case for my iPhone 5 made by MOTA and I was surprised to get this warning. The first few times I tried it it would quit charging after a min or so. Now it seems to work fine but I’m kinda shocked that a company that went to the trouble to make a battery case didn’t bother to get a certified adapter.

  • teedoff087

    You can get Amazon Basics lightning cables for $14. How many lightning cables do you really need? I’d rather pay a little bit more for a licensed cable than deal with this.

  • CiccioChirinos

    I updated to ios7 3 days after it came out. i had been using my 3rd party 8pin plug just fine, i’d get the warning, dismiss it and it’ would still charge and sync until.. TODAY, OCT 7th. the warning shows up and it wont charge or sync. but hey!! i just found out how to make it work:

    -PLUG THE CHARGER TO THE WALL (without pluggin it to the phone)
    -TURN OFF YOUR IPHONE AND PLUG THE CHARGER TO IT WHILE YOU SEE THE WHITE SPINNING WHEEL on THE BLACK SCREEN.
    -WAIT 10 MIN AND TURN THE PHONE ON.
    – YOU’LL SEE IT CHARGED.

    hope it works for you, it does for me.

    Saludos from Peru!

  • dddlev

    I’ve had iOS 7 installed since October and got a MOTA “apple certified” cable for in November. It worked fine for a month, but just today it stopped working and displaying the not certified message. Annoying.

    None of the suggestions worked.

  • stevebone42

    I found something that is working for me so far. I left my one good cable at work and my phone is about dead. So instead of plugging the 3rd party cable into a wall charger, I plugged it into one of the USB ports on my PC. Its been charging for about 20 minutes now, it’s a little slower this way but it seems to be working. From 17% to 28% so far. Usually (after the first of the year is when mine started rejecting the unsupported items) it stops charging after 30 seconds. I think this works. OooOoh, we’re at 30% now!

  • VegasGlutton

    This greedy shit with the charging cords is the final straw for me. So sick of apples bullshit. iOS 7 looks fucking terrible. The keyboard is shorter and very time I hit space I get a period when searching in safari. My search engine changed from google to yahoo on it’s own last week. And I can never type swear words without autocorrect popping up trying to replace ‘fucking’ with ‘ducking’ nor do I get to decide as an adult to add swear words to my phones vocabulary so this happens EVERY time I swear which, with this phone is quite often. And if I’m browsing the internet and want to see flash? Fuck me. Fuck that shit. And every time they sell us this shit like “this iphone’s camera is better than the last iphone” that may be but it’s NEVER better or even competitive to other cameras on the market! And every time I buy one I have to buy a $60 otterbox case for this fragile shit in addition to their phone and now EVERY charger will have to be apple brand as well at $40/ea in order to ensure my sub-par phone can hold a charge for a full 18 hours and that’s only if it’s set to it’s lowest brightness setting to conserve energy.

    • Beckola

      Totally agree. iOS7 looks grossly obnoxious.

      Although, you can use shortcuts to change ducking to fucking each time (I also got annoyed at this, haha).

  • http://www.mightytravels.com/ MightyTravels

    This happens with the original cables to me now. Just started today. But the workaround works…

  • TB

    My chargers just stopped working 2 weeks after. It is a Belkin.. Thought it was apple approved but now it says it’s not!

  • mchan1

    F#kc Apple and its licensing agreement. It’s a damn monopoly!!!

    People want reliable yet Inexpensive lightning cables but can’t find it since those 3rd party cables won’t work anymore. I’ve wasted enough money on this Not-supported 3rd party cables and had to splurge whenever I find a Supported cable version on discount or sale price!

    It’s no wonder that CrApple has made lots of enemies amongst the general public, though its iSheep still loves the company regardless of what it does or produces.

  • Cindy

    how do you turn on usb power? i do not see that option anywhere on my phone

  • jasme

    apple lightning cable have an authentication chip. I think when you plug in an unlicensed lightning cable, the device will send that cable id to apple. When that cable is unlicensed, apple will instruct the device to disallow the use of that cable. This is regardless of ios version. I have a device with version 6.1.3 and the cable will work for first few days, then that warning message appears, and the cable wont work anymore.

  • Beckola

    I wouldn’t be so frustrated with the authorised cable issue if my Apple items didn’t break so frequently. I’ve had my iPhone 5 since it was launched and have used many cables. I use an adapter now as the cables have become so unreliable.

    I like Apple, but am considering switching to a device with a micro USB charger as the ease and convenience of the iPhone is slowly fading.

  • kassss

    im using CDR king’s newest release of lightning cable.. and there is no warning at all;)) fast charging and fast data transfer.. haha great work for cdrking no.1 copy manufacturer at Philippines haha! and i bought it for about 60pesos almost 1dollar if i convert it to U.S. currency;) hahahaa!!!

  • Kirk Witzberger

    I have lots of third party cables. One each in my car, my wife’s car, work and home desks, nightstand. I got only warnings with IOS 7, but now none of them work since IOS 7.1. This has dramatically diminished my view of Apple as a user centered company.

  • http://www.SuccessInMedia.com/jess_bio.html MediaJess

    I had something worse happen. When plugging a third-party lightning connector into my MacBook Pro, it caused the machine to shut down and stop working. After taking a trip to the Apple Store, they confirmed that it was because of the third-party cable. The only way to turn it back on is to have the battery unplugged and plugged again. This can only be done by Apple because they have a proprietary screw.

  • Anthony

    I’ve found the one reliable way to charge your iphone with other charging cables, is to plug in the wire to a power outlet, and turn OFF your phone. Charge may be a little slow but it does charge with any only when phone is OFF.

  • Michael Townshend

    in the months that I have had my iPhone 5s (since it was released) I have replaced more lightening cables than the phone costs. Just having discovered that this is just another of Apples exclusivity hacks, I plan to try the one alternative that seems (in theory) to work well. That’s to just buy an adapter for the old 30 pin cables and use them as they are not part of this hack that apple is using to defeat every cable I have ever purchased (not to mention that the original as well as the other 6 legitimate apple cables have all stopped charging as well, including the above message. So, if they have found a way to defeat cables (their own included) isn’t this some kind of legal issue that is forcing consumers to replace cables when there is no problems with them? Isn’t there some entity watching this and trying to get them to drop the hack they are using. It’s definitely NOT good business practice to make cables stop charging after a month or two of use.
    I guess they are ok with all this being public and that the fact that this same hack defeats their own AND licensed cables in the same time frame as knock-offs. I would like to see a serious test of these cables so that it might be printed, showing the lifespan of these cables versus the same manufacturers 30 pin cables. Maybe all they need is more bad press to stop this, it seems that the electronics sector is not overseen by anyone as many aspects of the industry are making the same kind of decisions that when all is said, just cost the consumer more money than what they should be paying. The video game area is ripe with these problems, but I guess they are making so much money that everyone looks the other way. What a shame, I guess it’s going to take some event that actually shocks a lot more people to put an end to all the deceptive practices currently being used to suck the max. money out of customers with no consideration for their reputation or future sales.

  • MHernandez1975

    The cable in my car would not charge, it used to work with out a warning, but my older cable that always gave the warning is charging at my desk.

  • f-apple

    Simple n short. Apple CEO are so greedy,thier service and customer view are at the lowest .MIGHTY PISSED

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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