Apple power cords: OEM vs aftermarket

What is the reason an aftermarket power cord charges Apple products much, much slower that the Apple cords do?

I have noticed this on my Ipad and my wifes Iphone and when brought up other people have said they noticed this as well.


Apple certifies chargers to deliver the correct charging current. If a product isn’t MFi certified, or doesn’t have the latest specs (or is unable to deliver the correct charging voltages and current), it will default to the standard USB charge speed, which is pretty slow.

Some are worse, some are better.

FWIW, I had been wondering this as well, and at one point considered making a post asking this same question.

I hate the flimsy OEM Apple lightning cables with the plastic insulated covers that always wears out at the plug-in points, so I got a nice set of third-party cables of different lengths with braided fabric cord covers that are much more durable. I noticed the slower charging speed, though I still use them often, and only break out the old OEM cable with the frayed ends patched up with shipping tape when I need a fast charge.

The reason is because not all USB cables have the same current capacity. This applies to lighting cables for charging Apple devices as well as mini-, micro-, and -C USB cables. When measured with a power meter, some of the cables do not carry as much current. Which means even when connected to the same charger and device, some cables are capable of charging the device faster than others.

I’m not sure exactly what properties of the cable allow some to carry more current. It may be quality of the connectors, gauge of the wires, or something else. USB-C cables will often advertise their maximum power delivery capacity, such as 100 watts, 60 watts, etc., but other cables just make it guess work.

Apple seems incapable of making a cable where the ends stay on more than a few years, but at least while the cables are intact, they work well. I have some aftermarket cables that work just as well, and others that perform worse.

Price is not a great indicator. The cheapest cables always perform poorly, but more expensive ones may not be any better. I’ve found I have the best luck when buying from brands with at least some reputation for quality, such as Monoprice or Anker. These are usually more expensive then the cheapest cables, but considerably less than Apple ones.

Because Apple sucks and is generally unwilling to adhere to industry standards for things like that, and often make it so that aftermarket stuff doesn’t/can’t perform as well as their own stuff with authentication chips and the like.

Now that they’re being compelled to use USB-C by the EU, we may see less of this kind of Apple-specific proprietary nonsense. It’s true that the cables with USB-C connectors may not adhere to the standards, but at least the standards are public, so there’s none of that nonsense with authentication chips like Apple is fond of.

100W at 5v is 20A. That seems pretty large for a USB cable or my laptop’s battery.

USB-C can charge using multiple pins and high voltage (20V), so each pin only needs to carry an Amp or so.

Thanks, I thought it was just 5v and 12v.

So is Apple sucks a factual answer or just an opinion? I’m guessing the latter.

In fairness to Apple, the lightning connector is ten years old. When introduced it was by far and away the superior technology. The rest of the world was messing about with a stupid mess of many tiny incompatible USB connectors, all of them difficult to use and only plugging in one way around. Apple created an easy to use plug that provided a large superset of USB functionality. By using a universal pin driver the plug could act just like a USB connection if plugged into a USB device, it could do USB on-the-go, deliver power as well as accept charging power, and when plugged into compatible devices provide much faster connectivity. USB-2 in comparison is stone age.

It took the industry quite some time to wake up and realise that the USB-3 standard, with it is insanely stupid double decker plug was DOA, and start to develop a viable new connector and physical interconnection standard, which became USB-C. USB-C owes quite a bit to Apple. The only connectors on my Macbook Pro are USB-C - although they do of course also support Thunderbolt as well.
Apple have been moving to USB-C for charging most products for a while now. If you look at their keyboard, touchpad, mouse, Airpods - all USB-C in the latest versions. The difficult problem for them is moving to USB-C on phones. There is a ten year old ecosystem of stuff that works with Lightning. Killing that would annoy a lot of customers.

There is a good chance Apple won’t provide USB-C on the next generation of phones. They may well just delete the connector altogether and make everything wireless.

I would say that the argument could be made that choosing to go with a proprietary standard for the purposes of maximizing lock-in and profit, especially when there were plenty of industry standards out there already in use, could count as sucking for a company. So does being second or third to market with a feature and advertising it like they invented it. And I’m not even going to get started on their “walled garden” app store BS.

When given a chance, this is Apple’s default behavior across their product lines.


The EU just set a deadline of December 27, 2024 for the iPhone to have USB-C. So yeah, possibly not the next generation, but definitely the one after that.