A TECH expert has warned of the potentially deadly consequences of using a dodgy iPhone cable.
Giuseppe Capanna, of the UK charity Electrical Safety First, says that counterfeit chargers pose a risk of fire or serious electric shock.
Speaking to the Sun earlier this year, he shared some of the telltale signs that your gadget could be a death trap.
“Fake iPhone chargers are deliberately made to look identical or similar to a genuine product usually with a view to deceive the consumers,” Guiseppe said.
“Counterfeit products are often made up of substandard components which leave the buyer at risk.
“They present a particularly insidious threat to the consumer, undermining legitimate manufacturers and retailers whilst often posing a risk of fire, serious electric shock or even electrocution.”
Fake iPhone cables fall into two categories: Counterfeits and uncertified accessories.
A counterfeit is a cheap product that is dressed up to look like it was made by Apple.
Uncertified accessories are those made by third-party companies without the blessing of the iPhone-maker.
Generally speaking, if you buy a cheap cable from a reputable retailer that is certified by Apple, then the product is safe.
Counterfeit and uncertified cables, on the other hand, can be hazardous.
They have been blamed on numerous occasions for dangerous explosions, lethal electrocutions and house fires.
And an ESF investigation previously found that up to 98 per cent of phoney Apple cables put consumers at risk.
The best way to be sure that you are not sold a fake is to buy directly from Apple or from a reputable High Street retailer, Guiseppe, who is ESF’s Product Safety Engineer, told Central Recorder.
However, if you’ve bought one from a discount store or online marketplace and aren’t sure whether it’s phoney, there are a number of obvious clues to look for.
1. Check the packaging and cable
With Apple charging up to £29 for a charging cable on its website, it’s understandable that some consumers look to purchase from elsewhere.
If you’re buying a wire from a third-party seller, make sure it’s certified by Apple by looking carefully at the accessory’s packaging.
Certified third-party accessories have Apple’s MFi badge on their packaging, which says “Made for iPod, iPhone, iPad.”
In addition, look for missing markers or spelling errors in the text on the cable, Guiseppe said.
“These are the easiest way to spot a counterfeit – but beware, as fake products are becoming more sophisticated.”
2. Look at the plug
It’s a good idea to compare your charger to one from Apple. Counterfeit accessories tend to feel thinner and lighter in the hand.
As a result, you can test the pins of the plug for signs of a phoney product.
Guiseppe said: “Our testing has shown that the pins on counterfeit plugs are much weaker than they are legally required to be required by the standard.
“This is typically because they are metal-coated hollow plastic, rather than the solid metal used in genuine products.
“An easy check for this is to simply flick the largest pin and listen to the noise it makes.
“A genuine plug will sound and feel solid, while counterfeit products will make a ‘plastic’ noise and feel hollow.”
In addition, the finish of the plug’s casing can indicate a fake.
“The finish on a genuine charger is high quality, matte and uniform,” Guiseppe explained.
“On counterfeit chargers, the finish is usually glossy or shiny with imperfections.”
3. Weight, shape and dimensions
It’s also worth taking a look at the item’s weight and plug pins.
A phoney product will be lighter than an official Apple one, and the pins may be the wrong size or shape.
Guiseppe said: “As counterfeit chargers contain few, if any, of the higher quality components required for safety, they are usually significantly lighter than genuine chargers. The charger should weigh approximately 40g.
“The plug pins on a fake Apple iPhone charger may be larger or smaller than a genuine one and may be positioned in a different place.
“The easiest way to check is by using the Electrical Safety First plug checker tool.”
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