Yesterday, Internet-famous productivity guru Merlin Mann (@hotdogsladies) posted a photo of the discoloration of his lightning cables (the cords used to charge many of Apple’s portable products) on Twitter. It led to a slew of responses from people who said that their cables showed the same signs of decay. Worse, that the discoloration was a sign that the $19 length of metal and white plastic would soon stop charging devices.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, apparently, because a quick check on the Apple forum’s shows that sometimes if you complain about the corrosion, the company will just replace your cable. Further evidence:
Apple did not immediately reply to our request for comment about the corrosion nor offered any tips for avoiding it. The company line on copper-gone-wrong, judging by the comments from Apple store staff reported in the forum linked above, seems to be that it is caused by exposure to moisture. Tweets on the thread started by Mr. Mann suggest that cords that sit permanently in dry places like nightstands still end up sickly.
One tip for a better charging experience? The Wirecutter says you should buy your lightning cables from Anker (and save $11 over the price of Apple’s version).
This reporter has not experienced a comparable problem with his Android phone chargers. Europeans may also be spared the indignities of unreliable metallics sometime in the next year, as the EU moves to a common design for all mobile chargers.