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My wife and I have iPhone 6s and we noticed something odd recently. Three of our lightning cables have stopped working when plugged into the wall. We both get a message "This accessory may not be supported". These are not cables purchased from Apple, but they have worked until a few days ago.

However, when we plug the phone directly into our laptops using these cables, they still charge fine.

We have a fourth cable that seems to work perfectly, both in the wall socket and our computers.

Can someone explain why this is the case? Are these cables all broken, or is there a way to fix the three broken cables?


EDIT: Coming back to this question after a few weeks where I have some more information to provide. I don't think it changes the answer below, but it definitely raises more questions for me.

It seems that the problem occurs in my house only. These power cords seem to be fine in my office and in a few other places that I have tried. Also, some of the broken cords are original (but older) lightning cables and some of the working ones are knockoffs.

My guess is that the difference has something to do with the wiring in my home. And it's just pure luck that some cheaper cables work while others don't. I wonder if there is something about the wiring in my home that could be causing this.

  • Your edit worries me a bit; if there is a problem with your house wiring significant enough to keep chargers from working right, it may be a symptom of something bad enough to do something like start a fire. I'd suggest having an electrician take a look at that... – Gordon Davisson Dec 16 '16 at 22:43
  • Thanks for your concern. I feel the same way, to an extent. We are currently living in Costa Rica for a year and although our house seems well constructed, who knows? (Pura vida, as they say here.) We take the precautions that we can, using power bars for all electronics, unplugging when not in use or when there is an electrical storm. From what I understand, this sort of thing is common in the country. – Andrew Eisenberg Dec 17 '16 at 20:05
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It's not that surprising - a lot of 3rd party accessories aren't of a very high quality, and some of them don't support all functions.

For example, there are many Lightning cables on the market that support charging, but not data transfer.

Another example is some speakers support charging of iDevices, while some only support the transfer of audio data.

The quality of the cable can impact the amount of charge travelling through it and how many devices it will or won't work with. Some cables deteriorate faster than others, meaning they stop working with some devices and not others, or just stop working totally.

Also, sometimes it isn't the cable, but the charger or accessory it is connected to.

Another variable is the amount of current going through the cable - it's quite likely that the current from your chargers is higher than your laptop (especially if they're Windows laptops).

Regardless of the cause/reason, I've seen your scenario occur many times and sometimes disconnecting and reconnecting the cable a few times gets it to work, but it's certainly not a cable I would trust any more. And they wouldn't be worth trying to fix either.

I'd keep them for as long as they work with your laptops, but would otherwise replace them and ensure you buy cables from a reputable source/brand.

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