Lightning Cables Are Failing – Corrosion Thought to be The Culprit

Lightning Cables Are Failing – Corrosion Thought to be The Culprit

It seems that Apple’s Lightning cable may be prone to corrosion, as a report from ZDNet‘s Jason O’Grady details the issues that he, and other users, have experienced with the cables.



About a month ago the Apple Lightning to USB cable (PN: MD818ZM/A, $19) that I keep in my vehicle for charging my iPhone 5s began to fail. At first charging was intermittent, then within a week the cable wouldn’t charge my iPhone at all. A closer look at the male end of the Apple Lightning to USB cable reveals that several of the gold contacts have become corroded.

O’Grady took a look in Apple’s online support communities and found that other users had also experienced the corrosion issue. Reports concerning the issue date back to 2012.

Apple’s stance on the issue is that users may have exposed the cables to moisture, leading to the corrosion. However, several users maintain their cables have come into no contact with any liquids.

Apple Community user “Brockap3” noted that the corrosion was happening primarily on the VBUS/V++/Power pin on the Lightning cable,  and offered two explanations for the issue:

  1. Two gold electrodes placed in an aqueous solution with a positive voltage on one wire and ground applied to the other will corrode the positive gold electrode away.
  2. Electrical arcing causing the corrosion (originally I dismissed this as it is just USB – i.e. 5 V /2 A max)

Apple is reportedly exchanging corroded Lightning cables for new ones, as community user “bmwraw8482” noted:

“After my post, Apple actually called me (using my contact info from my apple ID) and offered to mail me a new cable in exchange for sending the one I mentioned back to them to look into the problem. They paid all the postage and I got a new cable. so if you’re near an apple store it might be worth it to take the cable in and see if they’ll exchange it.”

All the cables here in MacTrast’s Tennessee office are working well, and show no visible signs of corrosion.

How about our readers? Has anyone experienced any corrosion on the connectors on their Lightning cables? If so, please tell us about it in the comments section below.