I have many of the 30-pin USB cables for the iPhone, and I would like to determine which are authentic Apple and which are not. (Over the three years that I owned an iPhone 4 and my wife an iPhone 4s, I purchased several "knock-offs"). Is there a good way to determine which cables are authentic and which cables are not?

3 Answers 3


Lightning Connector with SerialThe cable itself will be stamped with the text: "Designed by Apple in California Assembled in China". The "knock offs" wouldn't be allowed to stamp their cables in this way.

Edit: It would be on the cable itself near the end that plugs into the iPhone (30-pin end).

Edit: The photo shows the text I refer to. This is an example of a genuine lightning connector in which they added a serial number for identification and moved the stamp about 8 inches down from the USB end of the cable.

  • "wouldn't be allowed" but doesn't mean they don't. Mar 25, 2014 at 21:18
  • @JasonSalaz :Do you have an example you can refer to? Mar 27, 2014 at 18:00
  • Any reputable company would reject something with someone else's name on it. If I went to an assembly line company with specs and asked them to stamp "Designed by Apple in California" on the cable too, I would hope they would say no. My point is that this is not a technical limitation, it's just a business/honesty one. It could even be stamped on a cable after the fact in order to pass off a fraudulent cable. No, I don't have an example, but the claim that "no one else can stamp a cable with those words" is silly. There is legal recourse, naturally. Mar 27, 2014 at 23:15
  • @JasonSalaz The question is not a technical question nor is it an arbitrary one. My response is accurate as you will see that only those cables that have the text mentioned in my response are genuine Apple cables. You have been unable to provide concrete evidence to refute my answer. Apr 8, 2014 at 21:48
  • @JasonSalaz See my recent edit for a picture of a genuine lightning cable with the text clearly stamped on the cable. This is from an iPad Mini. I also have one from an iPad Air and an iPhone 5s with the same stamp. Apr 10, 2014 at 23:09

Take them into an Apple Store.

No, really. Fakes are most often low quality and look/feel cheap, but until you know what a legit cable is, look/feel are arbitrary things. And some fakes can sometimes look really really good.

A(n Apple) Genius can no doubt sort this out quickly.

Note also that there are at least 4 different type of legit first party 30-pin iOS device adapters that I know of. They changed the "teeth" that wedge into the dock connector port at least twice, and I believe there was even a cable material change or two.

IIRC there have also been changes to the USB port end. Rounded corners vs. right-angle corners.


Use the iTunes application on a computer and connect them to the computer. If the phone does not connect it means that the USB cable is not authentic.

  • I am almost certain this is not true.
    – dwightk
    Mar 19, 2014 at 23:44
  • I think perhaps this is related to unofficial Lightning cables, which may charge but not sync?
    – stuffe
    Mar 20, 2014 at 9:09

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