frayed lightning cable

Why is this 6 month old cable already falling apart? That’s the question my wife asked one day, referring to the Lightning cable she has plugged by her side of the bed to charge her iPhone at night.

As much as I tried to find a good reason, there was nothing I could say that would actually explain why this fairly new cable was already fraying. The only explanation I could give her was that these cables are crap.

It’s not like we’re rough on these cables either. We actually take good care of them. My wife’s charger, for example, has never been anywhere but her bedside, just being used at night. This is not the kind of usage you’d think would be so detrimental to a cable supposed to last several years.

Since I believed this cable was still covered by my iPhone warranty, I decided to take it to Apple and see if they would replace it.

How to get a damaged Lightning cable replaced? Just ask

Without making a Genius Bar appointment, I walked into my local Apple Store and walked towards the first employee I saw. He happened to be the manager of the store.

I showed him my Lightning cable and kindly asked if this was covered under my iPhone warranty. He briefly looked at it and told me to wait a second as he walked away. He came back a few seconds later with a brand new Lightning cable, fresh off the store’s shelves.

No question asked. No warranty check. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even bother asking for my name or anything. I walked out of the store with a new cable but also feeling very satisfied as a customer.

Obviously, your mileage may vary, but it appears that Apple has been offering similar replacement units to people asking for them – our own Jeff Benjamin was also able to get his cable replaced too, simply by asking.

If you get turned down by an employee, come back later and talk to a different one. I’ve learned that service at the Apple Store vary greatly depending on who you talk to.

Apple is doing the right thing in offering free cables to replace defective ones, so I am hoping you will do the right thing too and not abuse the system.


    apple cables are crap they made with subpar material, the only thing i’m surprised is they charge you a premium price and offer this as part of pack, this is not excuse

    my nearest apple store is just in another city, miles away from me

  • Jean Morales

    well, and if you bought your phone to a Celular company. like Claro or At&t? i know they give you the warranty but…?

  • therealjjohnson

    Observation: only the charger I leave in the car ends up looking like the above pic (actually worse) and the one I leave at work and at home look “good”. I think it’s something to do with the changing temps of the cord from the sunlight through the window and climate etc. maybe that’s what deteriorates the rubber around it and causes it to break down. Ehh…best I could come up with.

  • Anthony

    About to go try it this just happen to my charger….

  • disqusted

    Coincidental timing! I just said to my brother last night that I’m about to have to waste $20 on a new cable because mine is about to fray.

    There’s a problem though. The nearest Apple store for me, like another poster I saw, is 100+ miles away, which negates the time and money getting a free cable by many times over. So does anyone know how online customer service handles this? Would they just ship me one on my word or do I have to go days without a charge cable (not an option)? Or would I have to ship the old one back and then be subject to their decision if it was actually frayed enough and then maybe charge me $20 anyway? Who knows the answer?

  • J Private Dev

    I’ve always gotten an appointment just in case, but I’ve been doing this for 5ish years now

  • can i do this if my cable is very dmagaed? it stopped working and i removed part of the white to fix it

  • jzack

    mine got replaced twice.. no question asked.. lucky me.. 🙂

  • This actually works with multiple products. I’ve had my lightning cable replaced, my earpods, and the Apple brand iPhone 5s case. They don’t ask many questions and are usually happy to help. I even lost a pair of earpods and it came up in a conversation with a worker at an Apple store while discussing an iPad, and he replaced the earpods on spot no questions asked.

  • Rook HD

    the best thing about Apple is they have a physical store.

  • Kr00

    What a load of shit. Why would an employee care whether they have to give you a new cable or not? It’s not coming out of their pocket.

    And as for “forbidding” companies (please provide proof of this), Apple license Thunderbolt, because they developed it. It contains a control chip which has to be specific in handling data transfer.

    As we’ve seen with third party USB chargers, people have died from using cheap knock offs, is this what you want? No wonder Apple want to license who manufacturers making compliant hardware.

    There are plenty of third party Thunderbolt cable manufacturers out there, and from my experience, they have the same track record for breaking, yet you want cheaper versions?

    Considering there are numerous people here saying how compliant Apple are in replacing cables, your claim of sales reps blaming customers doesn’t hold water. If you like to back this claim up with some fact, please do, otherwise, back under your bridge you go.

    • gittlopctbi

      Geez, feel better now?

  • MisterC

    The first time my cable broke about 4, 5 weeks after I got iPhone 5 in 2012, I almost had an issue at the Apple Store. They wanted me to buy a new one. After explaining ‘this shouldn’t fail after a few weeks, I wasn’t rough with it. (and I wasn’t). they simply gave me a new one. And again a few weeks after that, 3 more times. I just have my cable in my car for emergency purpose, bought a Belkin dock to place next to my computer. Those lightning cables, and exactly where it’s pictured above are flawed, fragile, and unstable. Sure Apple knows this by now..don’t think they realized that after the initial launch.

  • John

    I made an appt. with the ‘genius’ bar about 6 months after buying my iPhone 5. The headphone wires had fallen apart, these were replaced. When I produced my lightening cable, the ‘genius’ was less willing to replace it. I stated it was faulty, most of the outer insulation having come off. He seemed to imply my usage had been atypical. I informed it had been plugged in near my bed and used each night. He still wasn’t in a hurry to exchange it. I informed him I believed it was now dangerous and possibly even a fire hazard. He then went away and checked with someone before replacing it.

    I like Apple’s iDevice products, I really do. However, the build quality that at times appears to self destruct, leaves a lot to be desired, especially in light of the price they retail for.

  • n0ahcruz3

    We all know idevice usb cables are crap and apple knows it and they design it that way in order for u to order a new one from. Its a good business actually lol

  • Jack Wong

    I have been doing this online with free shipping to my office and free shipping to return the bad one, but it does the warranty check, I am sure there is a friend around you with the latest generation.

    This is why I like Apple smartphone, the accessories/battery also come with warranty.

  • Danial Garratt

    I have gone through 4 lightening cables in a year, we dont have an apple store anywhere near us. I asked a friend to take it in for me as he lives near one. The apple store were very rude to him, to the point where he has made a formal complaint. I gave him 2 freyed cables and they turned round to him and said they are both fake, well one came in the box with my 5s, and the other from the apple store online. they even went as far as to tell him that maybe three (uk network provider) were swapping out the cables in the box with fake ones and told him id need to speak to them. they went and got 2 replacement cables off the shelf and tried to put them through the till and charge him £30+ for 2 cables… this was in the milton keynes store in the UK. if Im ever in the area im going to go myself and have it out with them. they have actually put my mate off ever buying an apple product they were so rude!!

  • Javier Salinas

    I should of tried this. I just threw mine out.

  • dnice

    doesn’t work i went to apple on friday, they checked and my cord was out of warranty so they directed me to buy a new one for $20

  • Brian Voll

    I’ll try this next weekend.

  • punit

    i did it again 3 rd cable now 🙂 happy happy 😀 apple india rocks

  • Jacob S

    One time I had issue with my charging cube and I just walked into the store without any appointment. I told the guy my charger not working. He checked the charger, went inside and came back with a charger plus a lightning cable. No questions, no name or warranty check. I guess it depends on the location of the store and employee you dealing with.

  • gittlopctbi

    Thanks, Sebastian. I took my cable into the Apple Store and after the customary “we’ll need to see if it is under warranty” statement by the greeter, the person who actually made the replacement didn’t even check my warranty, took one off the rack, did his little “paper work” on his module, and I left with a new cable.

  • mark sandelson

    This is the exact opposite of my experience last night at Apple store Santa Monica. Not only was the salesman a buffoon but the manger accused me of twisting it. I had to show him that it twists itself. He refused to replace it and when I said to him that a class action suit would no doubt follow he told me he could not speak to someone who lawyer-ed up. Again I said that no doubt a class action suit would be forthcoming NOT THAT I WAS FILING IT.
    After going round and round I left without any new cables and feeling really pissed off. I bought new ones from Amazon as they warrant theirs properly. Sod Apple

  • Steve Adams

    Worked for me yesterday, I have a iPhone 5S still in warranty got a replacement lightning cable with no arguments, to be honest I wasn’t sure they would do it (Covent Garden – London,England)

  • Kbrauneis

    My power adaptor cable for my macbook frayed and I took it into an apple authorized reseller and they said nope… apple turned down the request. it seems that the mfg process of these cables in order to comply with eco standards is known to cause this as a side effect. . this was in germany. still sucks.

  • Didn’t need a Genius

    Funny but I had the opposite experience. I walked in with my cable and was told I needed an appointment. If I wanted to wait it would be 5 hours or I could go online and make an appointment for another day. Four days later I got an appointment. When I arrived there were multiple people in red shirts hanging around the store chatting with each other. The service rep took me because I had the appointment, didn’t even check the cable and simply handed a new one to me (after checking my serial number) – less than 10 minutes total. I asked why the people hanging around couldn’t help out with simple issues and was told that they weren’t “trained” to swap a cable. I didn’t need a Genius – just a warm body to swap a cable. Very poor customer sevice at the Walt Whitman Apple store in Huntington, NY.

  • JR

    I have replaced my iPad cord three times. The first time was six months after purchasing my iPad. I took the faulty cord to Apple Store and they replaced it. Then six months later the cord they replaced did the same thing.

    So I went to Radio Shack and bought a cord and that one last nine months.

    After reading your blog I went to our local store and they would not replace it without a receipt. I bought a new one, and will definitely keep my receipt. Apple really needs to address this issue ASAP.

  • MouseNo4

    Couple years ago I asked about the missing gold pin on the Lightning cable and that it no longer synced or charged. Walked away and came back with a new one.

    Then last week came back with a cable that was frayed but still working. Sorry can’t help you.

  • adrian3000

    I just don’t get it. I’ve had iPhones since the original and now have the 6s and have never had a cable fray on me or even go bad for that matter. And I use mine to commute quite often. I’m sure things happen and some cables out there may fray but I also think a lot should be said about how they’re handled.

    • Harsh Sac

      Actually after some time they improved the design quite a lot so it doesn’t happen anymore, but in the 5S and iPad 4 era, it was a very common issue…

  • BowToYourKing

    I had a cable that was less than a month & 1/2 old & Apple wouldn’t replace it because some genius said it was physically damaged. Does this mean Apple only replace emotionally & mentally damaged cords. My cord was used in the same way every other cord I have from them gets used only this was a 2 meter cord & not the regular 1 meter one. I had the receipt for it also when I brought it back to them. I was disgusted that they would sell a cord for $35 & then not cover it under warranty. That’s the last dime I will ever spend on any Apple products. I’ve already replaced my sons phone with a Nexus 6P for his iPhone 5s & I’ll be getting rid of my iPhone 6 as soon as possible also.
    Apple is not the company they once were or want people believe they are.

  • veer vardhan

    I was denied replacement in Mumbai, mine charger also damaged in less than a year

  • James Crew

    not so lucky here in Malaysia as the store will not / never gave replcament since the warranty already finished.

  • Charles Beckerman

    apple best =)

  • MsRandall

    My son and I did this on Tuesday for his broken cable. We walked in and waited 15 -30 mins to get the replacement – his warranty was checked even if he was holding a new iPhone 7 plus model

    While I realize they have to make sure you are within your warranty – these cables should be up front and replaced in minutes since there is obviously a design flaw or crap quality

  • techfreak23

    I think that’s a new policy that they implemented within the last year because they used to not replace them if there was any physical damage to the cable. I walked in recently for my Lightning EarPods and they did the same thing without having an appointment or asking any questions.

    As for the frayed cables, a lot of the time it’s not that people move them around the house or anything like that. It’s usually because people are using their devices while it’s on the charger, twisting and bending the cable as they use the device and it wears out at that point. I’m not saying ALL cases are like that, but a lot of them are.

  • Agneev

    That time when a post on iDB easily racked up a thousand likes on Facebook and over 100 comments on the site itself.

  • Lacemaker427

    I was sick and tired of the crappy Apple lightning cables and the knockoffs that though reasonably priced are also crap. I absolutely love my new ANKER PowerLine II Dura Lightning Cable. It has a lifetime guarantee and I was immediately impressed with it, because it is thick and very sturdy looking. It appears to be one continuous piece, not a flimsy, thin cord with 2 cheesy connectors tenuously glued or soldered at either end like every other cable I have seen or had the misfortune to purchase (and watch fail within a few months)! In addition, Anker quite proudly offers a no nonsense, no-questions-asked LIFETIME guarantee on this new cable! All of Anker’s lightning cables are Apple Certified. This new cable has a price I scarcely believed when I found it at — just $12.99 for a 6′ cable! Since its an Amazon Prime item, 2-day shipping is free for Prime members. It is available in your choice of red, white, black, or blue. Just make sure you select the “ANKER PowerLine II Dura Lightning Cable” if you want the model with the lifetime guarantee. Their other cables have an 18-month iron clad guarantee, so they are also a very good value. No, my last name is not Anker, and I don’t have any Anker stock,…yet! I just trust this company because they have proven themselves to me after more than a year of enjoying their superior devices.

    I think it’s time to let Apple know that we are not going to continue to buy their inferior, overpriced, “crappy Appley” cables anymore. Nor for that matter should we buy their overpriced: wall chargers, car chargers, portable battery stations, solar charging stations, or anything other device that Anker makes, makes better, and sells for half Apple’s price! Join me in throwing all your Apple accessory business to a company that deserves it and will continue to earn it! Goodbye Apple, hello ANKER!

  • Katy Leichtfuss

    Ya, I wish. I went in and they told me that my warranty only covered my phone, NOT my accessories. (This is the chord that came with my iPhone 6s) I’m very light on my charge chords, it stays next to me where I sleep like your wife does with her cable. And for this to break in not even 6 months blows my mind. Oh ya, I also had to drive an hour and a half just to be turned away. You really should do some credible research for ALL Apple stores before making such a bold statement, that apple will give you a new chord and not even check the warranty. Ha! Not only did they check my warantee, and deny me, but I wasted time and gas after reading this post. Take everything as a grain of salt!

  • smruti ranjan Dash

    Mumbai Vikroli Mapple store, its worst they just refused. My phone is only 3 months…apple sucks this time.

  • Nihat

    It is different in Turkey. Apple store in Istanbul is very unrealiable. My macbook pro cable was frayed. I asked them for a replacement. They didn’t do that. I bought a new adapter because of the frayed cable from that store. It has been just 1.5 years and I have the same problem again. My warranty still continues, I called the customer care and asked if I have right for a free replacement. They said it will be store’s decision. But it is imposible to get an appointment from the store. When I go the store I can only talk to the sales person so a free replacement is practically imposible.

  • Veres Juli

    why would anyone “abuse the system”? how many defective cable’s has one person? end how many new ones do you need?