Apple makes fantastic mobile products, but its flimsy Lightning-to-USB cable deteriorates too quickly. One of the most common problems faced by iPhone and iPad owners is a frayed Lightning connector. Surely there must be tougher, more rugged options?
The obvious solution is to go back to the Apple store and claim the warranty (or AppleCare if you have it). Another option is to ditch Apple’s cable altogether and get something better that’s made by a third party, like these options.
1. Anker Powerline+ II: Strong Cable With Lifetime Replacement Warranty
Anker has hit it out of the park with its Powerline+ II Lightning Cable. The nylon braiding on the cable ensures it won’t fray at the connector point and that it will withstand the tugs and tangles of regular usage.
In fact, Anker is so confident that regular use won’t damage this cable that it’s offering an unprecedented “hassle-free replacement” lifetime warranty. If you have any quality issues, Anker will replace the cable for free.
The Powerline+ II also comes with a cool travel case. Smartly, the case has zippers on both sides, so you can take out a little bit of both wire ends while keeping most of it still wrapped up in the case. This especially helps with longer-length cables.
We’ve highlighted the 6-foot model above, but the Anker Powerline+ II is also available in 3-foot and 10-foot models.
2. Anker Powerline: The Cheapest Worthwhile Cable
The original Anker Powerline may be old, but it’s still fantastic value for money. Forget about AmazonBasics or other cheap cables—this is the best budget buy. It is MFi-certified, designed to resist fraying, and charges all Apple devices at full speed.
Anker claims to use Kevlar cables that can withstand bending up to 5,000 times. Bending is the primary reason why cables and headphones keep breaking. The company has reinforced the stress point around the Lightning pin, which is where most cables fray.
All this is without sacrificing compactness. Some sturdy cables end up with a fat casing around the Lightning pin connector, which makes it difficult to connect if your iPhone has a case. Anker’s PowerLine has no such issues, and fits comfortably wherever the standard Apple Lightning cable can go.
3. Belkin MIXIT Flat Cable: No Tangles, Twists, or Frays
Flat cables are excellent for those who carry cables loosely in their backpacks or pockets. Such types of cables don’t tangle or twist easily, making them last longer than standard wired cables. They are also a little more resistant to stress at the connector point, so they don’t fray easily.
I’ve used a Zoook flat Lightning cable for years, but that is no longer available. The Belkin MIXIT Flat Cable is another such excellent flat cable with MFi certification.
Again, it’s important to note the lack of extra bulk in the housing of the actual connector pin. This ensures the Belkin MIXIT works even when you have a thick case on your iPhone, whereas several other flat cables would not connect properly when used with a case.
4. Fuse Chicken Titan Plus: Strong, Pet-Proof Cable
Did your puppy or cat chew through your charging cable? Houses with pets would do well to get the Fuse Chicken Titan Plus, one of the strongest Lightning cables that is decidedly pet-proof too.
The Titan+ cable is wrapped in two layers of flexible steel. The Lightning and USB connectors are sealed with a one-piece housing over the cable and electronics, then with another aluminum housing for added protection. In other words, if you manage to break or fray this cable, you need to have a good, hard look at what you are doing with your life.
There are a couple of issues with it, though. First, the connector is a little thick, so it might not fit all cases. Second, the steel makes it difficult to coil this into a tight, small circle. Be aware of those trade-offs before you buy it. The Titan+ also has only one length, available in a 5-foot model.
If you like this, you might also want to check out the Fuse Chicken Titan Loop, a tough keychain that doubles as a cable.
5. Apple USB-C to Lightning: For iPad Pro Users
Apple is standing firmly behind the USB-C port on MacBooks. Thus, you connect a new MacBook to an iPhone with the Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable. And this is actually the fastest charger Apple has now.
You can charge the new iPad Pro much faster by using a 30W Apple USB-C adapter. The regular charger that ships with iPhones and iPads is a 12W adapter. The 30W adapter charges about three times faster.
The Apple-controlled MFi certification for such USB-C to Lightning cables is available only in this model made by Apple for now. Thus, it’s the only cable I feel comfortable recommending.
Owners of iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus will be glad to know there’s no real reason to get the 30W adapter and USB-C to Lightning cable. Yes, it is faster even on the new iPhones, but it’s only marginally faster than the adapter that comes in your box.
6. Belkin Audio + Charge RockStar: Split One Lightning Port Into Two Ports
Apple removed the 3.5mm audio jack, so now there’s only one port on iPhones. This Lightning port is for both charging your phone as well as using wired headphones. If you want to do both simultaneously, get the Belkin Audio + Charge RockStar.
This device is a splitter adapter, letting you connect two cables into the single port. It comes in two variants, so choose one based on what you want to do.
The Belkin 3.5mm Audio + Charge Rockstar has one headphone port and one Lightning port, so you can charge your device and use traditional headphones. Meanwhile, the Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar has two Lightning ports.
Honestly, I’d say you should ditch both. The new wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone are great. You’re better off buying those and not bothering with a clunky adapter.
More Great Lightning Cables for iPhones and iPads
As the list shows, new cables obviously cater to certain users or add features that are missing. But a cable is a cable, and some old choices like the Anker Powerline are still excellent bang for buck.
Check out our earlier roundup of Lightning cables; you might just find something else that fits your needs perfectly.