What is MFi Lightning Cable

Apple MFi lightning cable

Table of Contents

Users with iPhones will certainly struggle with one thing, that is, how to choose a data cable. It is well known that Apple’s original charging cable quality is worrying, although the appearance is high, feel the texture is also good, but the outer skin aging very quickly, often a year did not arrive, the line is peeling. This is when you have to consider the issue of buying a data cable. As for why not choose the original? The quality is really not good, and the price of the original cable is very expensive. So it gives all kinds of cell phone accessories manufacturers a lot of room for development.

What is MFI certified Apple data cable?

The answer is: Due to the closed ecosystem of Apple iOS, even cell phone accessories need to be certified and supported by Apple.

MFi (Made for iOS) certification is a kind of license mark that Apple authorizes the production of for accessory manufacturers.

MFi is an acronym for Apple Made for iOS and is a kind of permission mark for Apple to use for the authorized production of accessory manufacturers.

Apple accessories that have passed the MFi certification have certain restrictions on the quality of their components and production processes, and Apple will not provide an after-sales warranty for products damaged by using accessories that have not passed the certification. Apple data cables are used for data transfer, in addition to charging.

This article will continue to talk to you about the MFI certified Apple data cable from the following aspects.


Why is the price of MFi Apple-certified data cable higher?

Because MFi certification for Apple is the quality control restrictions on accessory manufacturers to ensure that accessory manufacturers produce products that meet their own standards but also to charge a certification fee. So MFi certified products usually sell at a higher price, for both reasons.

  1. After getting the MFi certification for the Lighting cable, Apple will provide the MFi certification chip, which can ensure that the cable can still be used normally after the device system upgrades. But the non-MFi certified cables may lead to the device can not be identified so the charging and data transmission functions will not be supported.
  2. In addition, the chip provided by Apple can ensure stable output when charging, which is a kind of protection for the device itself, plus Apple’s warranty policy does not support damage caused by using non-MFi certified accessories, and accessories without MFi certification are like wild children in Apple’s system. This makes products with MFi certification a bit more gold, and after these years of promotion, now recognition re very high, usually with a printed MFi logo on the outer packaging.

Interested parties can also check the Apple website for manufacturers that support MFi certification at: https://mfi.apple.com/account/authorized-manufacturers

what is mfi logo

When it comes to non-MFi Apple data cables, in the past, they were almost not spared from lying down and striking after the system upgrade of the device. But now it seems that there are some data cables on the market that use cracked chips, which can make the device upgrade still support the charging and data reading and writing of the data cable. However, Apple will still not support such accessories caused by the equipment damage after-sales service.

mfi lightning cable chip

What’s the difference between MFi and Non-MFi Cables?

So what are the differences in performance between these MFi certified Apple cables and non-MFi certified cables on the market today? We start the following tests for the below 13 data cables for comparison.

What Apple Lightning cables have we chosen?

 We know that Apple’s original data cable is the most stable and officially recognized accessory. Therefore, our test also compared all the samples of the sub-factory data cable with the original. But the material of the outer jacket is TPE for the original cable and TPE is easy to be broken. Therefore, whether it is MFi certified or non-MFi certified sub-factory data, the price difference is mainly the material and workmanship. Good data cables will use better materials for the inner cores and anti-interference functions. On the one hand, to ensure performance, on the other hand, also to ensure durability.

lightning cables chosen for testing

 There are hundreds of manufacturers of Apple Lightning cables, and we have selected 10 of them based on e-commerce sales. The main distinction in sample selection was between MFi certified and non-MFi certified. Offline, we purchased both MFi and non-MFi certified products from the same brand in the store. Together with the original Apple cable, a total of 13 cables were used in the evaluation.

We numbered 13 data cables, 1-7 for the Apple Lightning cable marked with MFi certification, 8 for the original Apple data cable, 9-13 for the Apple data cable without MFi certification. In terms of the selling price, the selected data cables price is USD1.2-15.2, with a difference of more than 10 times. The price of the purchased cables is lower than Apple’s original USD21.99 price tag, in line with the majority of consumers to select cost-effective data cable requirements.

NO.PhotoMFI or Non-MFIMaterialLengthSelling Price
1mfi lightning cable 1MFiPVC1.2MUSD3.98
2mfi ligthning cable 2MFiTPE1MUSD6.14
3mfi ligthning cableMFiPVC1M USD6.14
4mfi lightning cableMFiNylon Braid1MUSD9.08
5mfi lightning cableMFi Nylon Braid 1MUSD12.16
6mfi lightning cableMFiNylon Braid1MUSD10.62
7mfi lightning cableMFiNylon Braid0.9MUSD15.23
8apple original lightning cable 8Apple OriginalTPE0.5MUSD22.93
9non mfi lightning cable 9Non-MFiNylon Braid1MUSD1.22
10non mfi lightning cable Non-MFi PVC2MUSD1.53
11non mfi lightning cable Non-MFiTPE1MUSD1.54
12non mfi cable pisenNon-MFiPVC1.5MUSD4.93
13non mfi lightning cableNon-MFiNylon Braid1.8MUSD4.93
The price is based on the price at the time of purchase, and the current market sales price will fluctuate.

Judgment of the data cable is good or bad: one is the data cable is whether smooth to be used; second is the data cable is durable or not, and then with the product price, it can be concluded that the data cable is worth buying or not. In this cross-evaluation, we first answer the question of whether smooth to use.

What do we test?

1、MFi certification test

  The MFi-certified cables on the market are marked with the certification logo on the packaging, but if the actual product is really MFi cables are required to pass the verification.

img 9930

We examined 13 data cables using the Apple Lightning cable identifier. It supports Apple data cable, charging cable, single head identification. It supports MFi certified original data cable and copied high imitation data cable, and can identify the scheme used by the chip as well as the manufacturer.

2、Charging speed

  There are two functions of the data cable, the most commonly used is charging, so the charging speed is a very critical judging point. We have monitored the voltage and current as well as the stability of 13 data cables.

  Higher current can get faster-charging speed, and the stability of voltage and current is important to protect the phone’s a power management IC, battery and circuitry, and other components. Charging current more stable data cable indicating that its chip, materials, better quality, less likely to burn your phone, or to avoid short circuit and other accidents.

apple 12w wall charger

For this test, we used the original iPad 12W wall charger and iPad mini2, which supports 2A fast charging, as the load device. The charging head supports output of 5.2V/2.4A. The voltage and current data were recorded by connecting the Power Z KM001 USB test meter.

powerz tester website

This USB test meter is a compact but powerful test meter from a company that focuses on charging and supports a wide range of charging protocols and physical interfaces.

tester with cables

 We connected the plug-in board, charging head, KM001, data cable, and iPad Mini 2 in turn. After powering on, KM001 can display the current-voltage and current data and the waveform graph of the two data in real-time during charging. After 30 seconds of power on, we record the voltage, current, and waveform in steady-state and calculate the charging power data.

3、Data transfer speed

  When Apple devices are connected to a computer for data transfer, the speed is often related to the data cable and whether it will be interrupted in the middle. We recorded the time required to transfer a fixed-size file to determine the data transfer performance of different data cables.

What are the results of the test?

Are there any false marks on the MFi certified cables?

img 9939
Apple Lightning cable identifier display interface

The data measured by the Lightning cable identifier includes whether the chip is MFi certified, and only certified products will show original, while non-MFi certified products will show copycat. The test showed a product that showed Taiwan, which was actually the same result of a high imitation chip.

  E75 C48 and C89 are all MFi hardware solutions. Most of Apple’s original cables use the E75 solution, while C48 and C89 are mostly solutions with authorized MFi chips. Both programs are MFi certified chip solutions. However, if the word copycat is displayed on the screen, it means that the E75, C48, or C89 solution with the cracked chip is used, which is not MFi certified.

  The score shown is a rating of the Lightning cable identifier for the cable of the data cable, which is actually for reference only and is not used as a comparison item here.

  We have extracted the key data into the following table for your convenience.

No.PictureChip TypeChip Solution
1mfi lightning cable 1CopycatE75
2mfi ligthning cable 2OriginalC48
3mfi ligthning cable 3Taiwan FoxconnC48
4mfi lightning cable 4Orignal C48
5mfi lightning cable 5Original C48
6mfi lightning cable 6Original C48
7mfi lightning cable 7Original C48
8apple original lightning cable 8Original E75
9non mfi lightning cable 9CopycatE75
10non mfi lightning cable 10CopycatE75
11non mfi lightning cableCopycatE75
12non mfi cable pisenCopycatE75
13non mfi lightning cable 13CopycatE75

 The results of the test are indeed a bit surprising, 1 and 3 samples are marked on the product page and packaging with the MFi certification logo, but the actual test results show that the two are non-MFi certified products, most likely false label products. Of course, the test results are only responsible for the samples, whether the real or fake chips are mixed, we can not verify one by one.

  In addition to the 1, 3 samples, the rest of the data line test results and product labeling is not different. It is worth mentioning that the No. 1 and 3 data lines are priced at $3.98 and $6.14 respectively, the cheapest of the samples we purchased with MFi certification, it seems that the price is too low for the certification line we need to keep an eye on.

Does the MFi certified cable charge faster?

  For the charging test, we recorded the voltage, current, and waveform data of 13 data cables under stable charging conditions.

cables types with color
current testing

To facilitate the comparison of the data, we have organized the voltage and current data into power data and come up with the following comparison chart. Since the voltage and current change from time to time, the data in the table below is for reference only.

Cable No.Cable TypeCharging Output (W)
5MFI Certified10.571
6MFI Certified10.544
2MFi Certified10.542
7MFi Certified10.533
3Non-MFi Certified10.524
8Apple Original10.522
12Non-MFi Certified10.508
9 Non-MFi Certified 10.476
10 Non-MFi Certified 10.440
11 Non-MFi Certified 10.440
4MFi Certified10.418
1Non-MFi Certified10.255
13 Non-MFi Certified 9.020
Charging speed estimation results

The results obtained from the actual calculation, except for sample #13, the charging power of all the other samples differed very little, indicating that there is no significant difference in charging speed whether the MFi certified cable. The power of sample 13 is significantly smaller than the other samples, and the charging speed will be slower.

  This is the result measured using the iPad mini that supports 2A fast charging, if using these cables to charge the iPhone, the current will be relatively lower, the difference in charging speed will be even smaller. So for charging speed, we can tentatively assume that market for non-MFi certified cables, there is also no limit to the peak charging.

Is there a big difference in charging stability?

  After 30 seconds of power on, the fluctuation of the current waveform is relatively stable. We observe the charging current waveform of the above 13 data cables to rate the stability: Level 1 indicates a smooth waveform with no fluctuation, Level 2 indicates a small waveform jump, Level 3 indicates that the image shows obvious charging current/voltage fluctuations, while Level 4 indicates that the charging voltage/current repeatedly jumps significantly and easily damages the device. The higher the stability of the current, the better the performance of the data cable.

  We believe that data cables that receive ratings of 1 and 2 are stable and perform well during charging, while ratings of 3 and 4 are unstable and perform poorly. The charging stability (voltage/current) rating chart is as follows.

cables types with color 1
charging stability test

Among them, samples 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 meet the requirements regardless of voltage or current stability, of which samples 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 have received a level 1 rating for both data, with excellent charging stability.

  The rest of the products with large current fluctuations are MFi certified tests for non-MFi certified data cables. This is corroborated by the fact that MFi-certified cables provide better protection for the device.

  It is worth noting that the quality of the original Apple charger is very high, if you use a copycat charger, the charging current fluctuations in the above test will only be further amplified, which may cause excessive charging power resulting in heat, or even burn the phone.

  As the saying goes, a good horse with a good saddle, even if you buy a good data cable, it is best to match the quality of the charger.

Is there a big difference in file transfer?

Is the data transfer restricted for the non-MFi certified cable?   

Before the file transfer test, we first verify a point of view: only the MFi-certified data cable can ensure that the connection to the computer does not go wrong and the upgraded system can be used normally. Non-MFi certified data cable connection is prone to problems, and the device system upgrade can not be recognized and can not be used.   

We carefully tried 13 data cables, using iPhone 8 Plus, system upgraded to the latest iOS11.1. including the front and back of the Lightning connector connection. The results obtained were that all could be connected properly and data could be uploaded and downloaded to the device.   

This is related to the current non-MFi certified data cable mostly using cracked chips, which cheat Apple devices to achieve data transfer. Since iOS7, Apple has released restrictions on non-MFi certified accessories, so most of the new non-MFi certified cables can be connected to the device and computer normally.

2、How is the transfer speed?

  We used iPhone 8 Plus with MacBook Pro 2016 15-inch version for file transfer speed test, the transfer software is iTunes, the transfer file size is 1.72GB. 5 times of writing and deleting steps were repeated for each data cable, and the writing time was recorded with a stopwatch, and the average of the 5 test results was taken.

Data Transfer Speed Test

Cable No.Cable TypeTransfer Speed (second)
8Apple Original56.710
12Non-MFi 56.740
3 Non-MFi 56.820
5MFi Certified57.030
11 Non-MFi 57.130
1 Non-MFi 57.270
13 Non-MFi 57.300
10 Non-MFi 57.300
7 MFi Certified 57.310
4 MFi Certified 57.740
6 MFi Certified 57.840
2 MFi Certified 57.910
9 Non-MFi 59.530

The test results are not surprising, 13 samples are very close to the file transfer speed, only No. 9 sample is a little slower, but the gap is actually very small. Here we also want to remind you that although the MFi certification cables and the copycat cables in the large file read and write speed is comparable, but some of the poor quality of the copycat cables in the process of transferring data current will also be unstable, prone to data loss phenomenon, when the backup phone may be missing files and lead to backup failure, therefore, the choice of MFi certification cable is still necessary.

Summary of test results

  After the above three tests, we can clearly compare the difference in performance between the MFi certified cable and the non-MFi certified cable.

  In terms of charging speed, transmission speed, and other functions that we use every day. The non-MFi certified cable can basically catch up with the MFi certified cable. But the biggest problem with non-MFi certified cables is the poor stability of the current. It is likely to charge the device badly. Especially when it comes to voltage instability and the use of poor charging heads. Plus Apple’s warranty policy rejects damage caused by non-MFi certified accessories.

On the contrary, MFi-certified cables are stable in all aspects of performance during use. And Apple supports the warranty for damage caused by the use of MFi certified accessories, which is equivalent to an insurance policy for the device. This is also the MFI certification is a very meaningful point.

mfi lightning cable chip

Apple data cable purchase advice

  The above test summary also deduces an important conclusion. Don’t be too big-hearted, choose the MFi certified cable. Not to mention the quality of the product at different prices, at the very least, you can avoid causing damage to the device, and this kind of damage can not be repaired.

  The other point is not to be cheap, MFi certified cable is well recognized, will print the relevant logo, but some manufacturers will be marked Apple-certified cable, compatible with Apple iOS10, iOS11, and other words to confuse users, as long as the MFi logo is not clearly printed on the cable, we think it is fishy.

  As for the other reason why you can’t be cheap. It is possible that some low-cost data cables will be false label MFi certification logo, the actual hanging sheep’s head to sell dog meat. After all, MFi certification is a real certification fee to Apple, the cost in, the selling price is not too low, some cheap can not be greedy.

  We recommend that you buy more than $6.5 or above for MFi-certified data cable, these products are more guaranteed in performance and quality. Durability is also better than the original data line.

  Finally, if you want to get the test data line detailed brand model and test the original information, please send me an email and I will send you the original data.

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