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98% of Knockoff iPhone Chargers Pose Severe Risk of Shock and Fire

iPhone-Charger Credit: 9to5Mac
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According to researchers affiliated with U.K.-based Electrical Safety First, an advocacy group devoted to promoting the safe use of electricity, as many as 98 percent of knockoff or lookalike iPhone chargers put users at risk of potentially fatal electric shock or fire.

To reach their conclusion, the group conducted a series of tests using 50 counterfeit iPhone chargers, the majority of which were acquired in the U.K. The firm’s Technical Director, Martyn Allen, revealed that 49 of the 50 chargers failed basic safety checks.

“This report shows that anyone purchasing an iPhone charger from an online marketplace or at an independent discount store is taking a serious risk with their safety,” Allen warns.

Key Findings

The chargers used in this study were all knockoff versions of Apple’s OEM charger, sourced from a variety of online and retail marketplaces, discount stores and stalls across the U.K., according to a DailyMail report. Below is a brief compilation of what the researchers found:

  • The chargers were sent through a series of electrical and mechanical tests — including an “electrical strength test,” which revealed that over 50 percent of them pose a “severe risk of electrical shock” during use.
  • Additionally, researchers noted that of the 50 chargers tested, all but one failed multiple tests, while one in three failed every single test.
  • An internal examination of the chargers revealed that 68 percent of them were either manufactured using “sub-standard internal components,” or pose a severe risk of electric shock due to their designs which “lack sufficient insulation.”
  • Lastly, of the 15 chargers that passed the electrical tests, zero of them went on to pass the ‘plug pin strength test’, which reveals the concerning (but not omnipresent) danger of fake chargers simply “breaking off” inside a wall socket.

“The vast majority of chargers we tested had the potential to deliver a lethal electrical shock or cause a fire,” Allen and his associates concluded.

Interestingly, this week’s report appears to echo the findings of a 2016 investigation, conducted by the U.K.-based Chartered Trading Standards Institute, which revealed that 99 percent of counterfeit Apple chargers lacked sufficient insulation to prevent damage or potentially fatal electric shock.

How to Protect Yourself

The first thing you’ll want to do is determine whether your existing charger is the authentic, Apple-branded accessory supplied with your device. If it is, you’re golden.

However, if you’ve recently purchased a charger or cable from a discount retailer under the impression that perhaps you scored a really good deal, these findings should at the least encourage you to think twice.

Of course, should you ever find the need to replace your original Apple charger, your best best would be to purchase an MFi certified charging cable, as Apple has guaranteed they’re designed and optimized to work best with iOS devices.

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