Apple may have a solution for fraying Lightning cables



  • Reply 21 of 52
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    I have never had a 30-pin or lightning cable fail, ever. There are absolutely people who are not careful or responsible with their things, and the possibility of accidents causing cable damage.
    I’m SUPER careful with my equipment. Yet, I’ve had a 30-pin cable literally disintegrate at the iPhone end. Two other cables (30-pin and lighting) are already yellowed (the 30-pin’s iPhone end is starting to rupture near the plug).

    What’s the difference? I don’t know. Do you use your phone or iPad when the cable is plugged in? When holding a charging iPhone, the hand is often against the charging cord. Only the device-end is yellowed on my cables. Only the device-end coating ruptures and disintegrates. If Apple haven’t worked out that this is a sensible and common way to use their devices (in use while plugged in), then that’s embarrassing for them. More likely, they just don’t care and would rather tell us it’s user error. Or better yet, let Apple fanatics attack other users for them.

    as for the article:

    I find it ludicrous that Apple are patenting cable stress relief/prevention techniques when they’ve long since refused to use existing methods just because they feel those methods aren’t pretty. I find it even more ludicrous that people will credit them with solving problems that didn’t need to exist in the first place. 
  • Reply 22 of 52
    melgross said:
    melgross said:
    Usually what happens to my cables is that the rubber/vinyl bunches up at the connector. I’ve only had one tear. But the photo used in the beginning of the article looks fake. Not the cable itself, but the tear looks as though it was deliberately cut. There is no way that cable cover can tear in that way. The material simply can’t tear that way.
    The material can tear that way, and the photo isn't fake.  You're looking at a lighting cable that has most likely experienced 1. multiple hot/cold cycles (probably in a car)  2. multiple removals by pulling the cable instead of the thick hard plastic near the lightning connector (look at the finger oils on the broken section vs the relative cleanliness of the hard/thick plastic portion) and 3. continuous bending causing that split to run... and continue to run because the cable remained in use after being damaged.  I think most people will continue to use a cable regardless of how cracked it gets.  They only think of replacing it when it no longer charges.  'Til then, you end up with what's pictured.
    I’ve had cables cycle hot and cold too. That “failure” is too artificial. Sorry, but I’m pretty familiar with materials, and that’s not the way this would fail.
    Ignoring that I mentioned two other contributing factors along with the hot/cold cycle, I have no idea what "too artificial" means.  There are numerous ways the cable would fail, so to say "that's not the way this would fail" doesn't make sense.  It's not as if there's only one way for the cable to fail.  Based on your "familiarity with materials"←(???) if that's not the way this would fail, what is the way you think it would fail?
  • Reply 23 of 52
    Heat shrink tubing can effect a makeshift repair - I've even had a Thunderbolt monitor cable split (you don't want to know how much they cost) also requiring monitor disassembly for replacement and suspecting heat from a mini vent having a degrading effect...
  • Reply 24 of 52
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,507member
    Personally, I haven't had many issues with Apple cables but over time they have progressively got worse with each new version.

    As a result I pamper them at all times. Probably why I have had better luck. 

    Apart from the well known fraying and being overly thin, they are unnecessarily small at the connector ends and the biggest problem for everyday use: too slippery and have no grip or 'lip' for extraction. 
  • Reply 25 of 52
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,779member
    Also have never had my Apple cables fray, first iphone was the 3G. Dunno what people do to them. Have had third parties fall apart tho, or simply stop working. 
    edited February 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 52
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,779member
    rcfa said:
    Sorry, this is nonsense.

    The issue with these cables is, that Apple in its drive to be environmentally sound uses a plastic insulation that’s not resistant to sweat/oils from the fingers.

    Where you touch the cable, is first discolors, and then the insulation gets soft, gooey, and crumbles. 
    Where you don’t touch the cable, it remains perfectly intact.

    I treat all my gear very carefully. And I have all sorts of cables, incl. varying quality third party USB and lightening cables, and the problem is unique to Apple, because they are trying to use environmentally friendly plastic, which of course backfires, because if you stick to Apple’s cables, you’ll have to buy several over a product’s life span, rather than one.

    Still got perfectly fine “hockey puck” power supplies and cables, old Apple USB cables, etc.; they’re all fine because they’re made from PVC or something similar, while the new *-free cables just crumble over the course of some months on their own after being touched by bare fingers with sweat and finger grease on them.

    You can tell the process is starting when parts of the insulation gets sticky and you could carve it with a finger nail, while elsewhere on the cable, where there’s no regular skin contact, the insulation is neither sticky, nor does it give in to a finger nail.

    By classifying these cases as wear and tear and not replacing them under warranty, Apple has in essence prevented that their materials engineers got the proper feedback on one of the main the causes of these issues: It’s chemistry, not physics!
    Citation? First I’ve heard of that, and my apple cables aren’t crumbling. Not a one, old or new. 

    I did read long ago Apple uses a spongier rubber-plastic for its cables that better resists tangling. 
    edited February 2021
  • Reply 27 of 52
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,308member
    LOL.  Some of the comments here are quite amusing. "I've never had an Apple cable fray/fail..."  As if that statement magically makes all the frayed cables The Rest of Us have seen suddenly become unfrayed.  

    It's important to note that not every Apple products user has the same experience, but that doesn't mean bad experiences do not happen, nor does it mean they are "rare" or "extremely rare," nor does it mean people who have bad experiences did something wrong.  It just means some of you have been truly blessed in not having had the problem.

    I am one of those meticulous people who takes extreme care with Apple products.  I baby everything. But the fact is, after a number of years of use, things do wear down.  That's true of anything in life. Things wear out.

    The upside of all this is that Apple has noted the problem and is striving to make better, more durable, longer lasting cables as a result.  That means less electronics waste, and less need to buy those 3rd party replacement cables, which is a good thing.
  • Reply 28 of 52
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,753member
    People shouldn't have to pamper cables. It's just a cable. The foamed plastic Apple uses instead of PVC is the reason they fail. It eventually goes brittle and falls apart.

    I have a Lightning cable in my car that is fixed to the dashboard, so whilst about 5" is exposed, only the last 3" moves a little when I plug in my phone to its car windscreen mount. The remaining 2" never gets touched. However, it's totally fallen to pieces and has completely crumbled to nothing, just the braided inner still exists (which is absolutely fine, no fraying there at all and the cable works fine). If it was abuse, it wouldn't be the whole cable, it wouldn't crumble, and the stainless braid would be damaged too. It's been like it for at least 4 years. On the other hand, an Apple cable of similar age that's spent most of its life on my desk is absolutely fine.

    But of course, the fanboys here can't possibly deal with the fact that some people have experienced a negative experience from an Apple product, so the only logical conclusion is there is a mass lying campaign by the public about these cables, and everyone here is lying too. Yup. Definitely that, can't ever be Apple. I will defend Apple to the hilt if someone is talking rubbish about them, but I will not lie and make excuses to try and defend them. Anyone who does really needs to take a look at themselves. Apple is a massive company, it doesn't care one iota what you think; as an Apple fan myself, that kind of defence on behalf of Apple is just embarrassing.
    edited February 2021 MplsP
  • Reply 29 of 52
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    It takes a lot of abuse to make the fraying happens. It’s a lot faster for the outside layer of the cable will become brittle and falls off if more exposed to the sun when left inside a car. 

    Why can’t apple make a braided cable which in my experience last so much longer compared the Apple made cables. 

    Where was the rumored braided cable? For a company that pride itself for make great product, delivering better user experience; I don’t get that from their cables. 
    They do make a braided Thunderbolt cable, I guess braidiing is something that Apple won't bother with unless they can charge >$100 for the cable.
  • Reply 30 of 52
    Sugru. Got tired of family cables failing so every new cable gets the Sugru applied. We share cables n they get lots of use. 

  • Reply 31 of 52
    Heat shrink tubing can effect a makeshift repair - I've even had a Thunderbolt monitor cable split (you don't want to know how much they cost) also requiring monitor disassembly for replacement and suspecting heat from a mini vent having a degrading effect...
    Believe it or not, the attached Thunderbolt cable isn't needed to use the Thunderbolt monitor. You can just use a Thunderbolt 2 cable in the extra Thunderbolt port on the monitor. It works without needing to disassemble the monitor to replace the permanently attached cable. My Thunderbolt monitor's cable failed years ago but I've been using it with an extra cable without any problems since then.
    edited February 2021 elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 32 of 52
    I’ve used Apple devices since the 4S and the iPad. Granted, my job required me to travel a lot, and I’m somewhat neurotic about charging. My cables consistently frayed and failed over six months to a year. As a shipboard electrical safety inspector, I regularly saw others’ cables fail similarly, at the ends where the cable feeds to the connector. The only cable that has not failed me in years in the one that came with my Series 2 Apple Watch. The reason for this is that the cable was supported by a watch stand, so there was no bending.

    For portable wire, it has long been standard to put a 2-3 inch plastic mold around the cable, with bend spacers cut into it. Your surge protectors likely have it, so do your lamps, kitchen appliances, home electronics, and even most wall warts, as well as 3.5mm headphone connectors. 

    When portable devices like phones became a thing, and companies realized that there’s money in having to replace cables (after all, our $500-$1000 phone is useless if we can’t charge it), they lost any incentive to reinforce the cable.

    In this case, Apple is trying to reinvent the wheel to stay as proprietary as possible. Just mold the reliefs back onto the cables, and we’re go to go. 
  • Reply 33 of 52
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,753member
    Dogperson said:
    Sugru. Got tired of family cables failing so every new cable gets the Sugru applied. We share cables n they get lots of use. 

    I can vouch for this! I've had a previously frayed cable work for years after using Sugru.
  • Reply 34 of 52
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,232member
    They only cables that ever break down on me are the ones I use in my car. I live in the northeast, so I imagine the cold temps in winter make them brittle. Still, they last several years at a time which is good enough for me. 
  • Reply 35 of 52
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,216member
    neilm said:
    My opinion is that people just abuse them.

    That's nice, but it's a fact that Apple's cables have been poorly designed. The worst culprit, in my experience, are the older Mac MagSafe cables (which I still use). I take my laptop with me everywhere I go and over time, the cable sheathing near the MagSafe connector began to tear due to twisting. It was not abuse, just use.

    There are far better materials that Apple could be using to provide better longevity. It's my opinion that they were so fixated on the white appearance that they didn't put enough development into improving the cables. At $100 for a MacBook cable, it's inexcusable to be forced to buy a new one, yet that's the reality.

    There are "jelly-like polymers" that would stand up to every day use and abuse far better than what Apple has been using to date. Let's hope they fix this oversight once and for all. It's time for this embarrassment to go away.

  • Reply 36 of 52
    I’ve never had a cable fail on me, as I treat them gingerly.  First thing I was taught in my Cisco networking class was how to properly handles cables.  My wife on the other hand, goes through a couple a year, and either gets frustrated or ignores me when I tell her how to handle them.  She often just says, “it’s a thing to be used and will wear out.”  And I say there’s a difference between babying, normal wear and tear, and abuse.
  • Reply 37 of 52
    Surprised that so many people here claim that reason for cable failure is the user being careless. I for one never thought myself harsh with cables, I always carefully pull from the head, yet I do experience the cable breakage, maybe just not as quickly, but after few years, which IMO is still not acceptable. It breaks even quicker for the one I have in the car.

    My solution is the magnetic cables, it's convenient it's cheaper. It has other problems like rusting but it can be avoided by keeping the phone away from moisture. When in the car, the phone has to stay in place, or else the connection might break. 
  • Reply 38 of 52
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,753member
    The other thing wrt cables... If Apple cables are just as good as other brands, why is it only Apple ones fray in this way?
  • Reply 39 of 52
    I’m usually very easy on my devices.  My cables at home last a very long time.  The problem in lies with using these cables while in the car and traveling.  Plugging them in to multiple different outlets at airports, rental cars, etc.  They are simply not strong enough, especially in an automotive environment where the phone is subjected to moving around, the weight of the phone resting on the cable in say a cup holder, etc.  They always fail in these environments.  If you spend a lot time in the car, you will have a cable failure.  
  • Reply 40 of 52
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,890member
    I’ve seen multiple frayed apple cables. We have several at work that people use and they all end up fraying. 

    I agree with @elijahng - you shouldn’t need to baby your cables. 
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