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A small example use case will make this clearer. I have a really long lightning cable that I use to charge my iPhone on my bedside table at night (there's no wall socket close). I'm thinking of buying AirPods and naturally I would like to charge them with a cable also on my bedside table next to my iPhone. However, I have no interest in using another USB wall adapter or buying/using another really long cable.

So, is there any small lightning cable power splitter for charging two devices from one cable? What I mean is a small adapter where on one side there is a female lightning port (to connect to the already existing cable) and on the other side the cable splits into two small cables each with a male lightning connector.

I imagine this would be quite easy to do by manually splicing the cables. Since I'm only going to use this for charging (not syncing), it is just a question of splicing two male lightning connectors together by putting power and ground in parallel. But I'd be willing to pay a few bucks for something fabricated. Does anyone know of any product like this?

Note: This is NOT a power/headphone lightning splitter for iPhone7+. I've searched the internet with all the search terms I can think of and all I can find are those splitters.

  • Not sure how much you paid for the longer Lighting cable; however, a 3-Outlet Polarized Indoor Extension Cord can be found for just a few dollars and you could have then just used the regular charger for your phone. I'd just get the 3-Outlet extension cord and an Apple 5W USB Power Adapter for the AirPods and be done with it. – user3439894 Apr 20 at 18:04
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    @user3439894 it’s not about the money, it’s about simplicity and cleanliness. I’d just rather not have another cable, that’s all – Alex Apr 20 at 18:06
  • Also, I’ll also have to charge my AirPods on trips and not dealing with two chargers and two cables would be useful too – Alex Apr 20 at 18:08
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    Wouldn’t splicing power cables break the charge signaling and risk damage to the device? I imagine it’s quite easy to break things, but to make something safe and durable might be more tricky or costly. – bmike Apr 20 at 18:12
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No, this is not possible to make.

Your question implies that you think of the Lightning cable as solely providing power in the form of two wires with +/- electricity. This is not the case.

In addition to simply power supply, the cable also contains wires that are used for communication between the charger and the device. When you plug your phone or other device into the charger, they start negotiating right away what kind of supply is needed. The charger acts differently according to the needs of the device plugged in.

This is the reason why you cannot have both a phone and AirPods (for example) spliced into the same charger cable - as the negotiation process would go hay-wire with multiple devices communicating on a protocol that is designed strictly for one-to-one communication.

I would recommend instead getting a charger with multiple USB outputs. These can be bought quite cheaply - for example IKEA has a cheap charger with 3 USB outputs for plugging in Lightning cables.

In order to keep the Lightning cables short, you would have to extend the use of the 110/230V cable and place the actual charger nearer your devices.

  • It’s true that I don’t know the specifics of the lightning charging protocol, but I assumed that if no communication occurs, the charger still outputs 5V. For example, the cheap USB AC adapter I have only provides 5V and I would think that if I go probe it with a multimeter there’s 5V on the power line with nothing connected. So, yes, I assumed that if you remove all data cables from the lightning cable and connect two male lightning sockets in parallel on the 5V and GND that the iPhone/AirPods would still charge. But let me know if I’m wrong still – Alex Apr 20 at 21:17
  • And I also assumed that a phone will still charge given only the 5V and GND just because many cheap/old USB chargers would become useless otherwise, but maybe they already are and I just haven’t used one of those in a while – Alex Apr 20 at 21:21
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My recommendation is to get a small powered charging hub and run each charger independently. Anker and monster ones are very reliable, inexpensive and available worldwide. You can get them on clearance for $10 usually at http://meh.com and similar sites.

Go for low power chargers, you don’t need fast charging at night and the non fast charge models are commodity priced now and not premium priced ($25) like the fancy fast chargers that run 5 devices.

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Even the fancy fast charge 2 USB devices are down to the $10 price point now - https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Charger-PowerPort-PowerIQ-Foldable/dp/B071YMZ4LD

  • Like I said, it’s not about the money otherwise I’d do this manually, but if there really isn’t anything like this available already, I’ll stick with your solution of multiple cables – Alex Apr 20 at 18:26
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    @Alex it’s cheaper to bring the power to the devices upstream from where the power converts to USB than to handle multiple calls for charging on one USB connection. It is how the hardware is designed. Putting the smarts in the little box connected to AC is cheaper, safer and more reliable than putting the smarts down stream past USB. – bmike Apr 20 at 18:56

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