What Is Apple’s MFi Program? Why Is MFi-Certification Important?

Apple Lightning Cord Iphone 1000x600 Credit: CNET / Sarah Tew
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As Apple products gain more popularity in the mobile market, the need for Apple accessories is also growing. This means that more and more types of cases, headphones, adapters, and Lightning cables are entering the market. But how do you know if these are from authorized manufacturers or unreliable knockoffs?

In this article, we’ll offer some tips on how to determine what products and accessories are Apple-certified, what it means, and why it’s important for your personal mobile safety.

What Apple MFi-Certification Means

Apple’s “Made For iPhone” (or MFi) licensing Program is for all technologies, connectors, and components that are compatible with Apple devices. These includes iPods, iPhones, iPads, and AirPlay accessories.

Choosing an MFi-Certified accessory gives you (the user) a guarantee that the manufacturer is distributing a product or accessory that meets the basic performance requirements set forth by Apple. These requirements spell out the necessary protocols for accessories to connect correctly with Apple devices and provide them with the best data transfer capabilities or charging capabilities.

Shop MFi-Certified Accessories Here

Why It’s Important to Buy MFi-Certified

The MFi-Certified rating is important because it protects your device from potential damage or harm that could come from using an unauthorized accessory such as overheating, improper charging, port damage, or even iOS inefficiencies.

Oftentimes, if you use a counterfeit or knockoff accessory, your Apple device will likely display the message “This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone.” The unsupported accessory will likely impact charging time and performance on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod if you try to use it.

By using an MFi-Certified accessory, you can help to keep you and your device safe. Otherwise, you risk impairing (or even destroying) your device by using an unofficial third-party accessory.

How to Tell If Something Is MFi-Certified

When you’re searching for a new Lightning cord, you should take notice of the labels on the product and packaging. If you see labels like the one below, you can be assured that the product is Apple MFi-Certified.

Mfi Certified1
Apple

To ensure a cable was actually manufactured by Apple, look for these labels. On the cable, it should be written “Designed by Apple in California” and either “Assembled in China,” “Assembled in Vietnam,” or “Indústria Brasileira”, followed by a 12-digit serial number.

Apple Designed Cables
Apple

The Lightning connector itself should feature a smooth, rounded end with a gray/metallic faceplate insert. The notches (or points of contact) will be rounded, smooth, and gold- or silver-colored.

Apple Counterfeit Prevention
Apple

On the USB connector side, Apple-certified accessories will have a smooth, flat surface with trapezoidal locking design. They will also feature gold-plated notches.

For an Apple-certified adapter, the accessory will be constructed of quality materials, have a laser-etched icon (either for USB or 30-pin dock), and a flushed connection between the body and connector.

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