How to Ensure Your iPhone Accessories are Indeed Certified by Apple MFi
By Carrie Tsai, Last Updated: August 18, 2020HOW TO
As we all know, Apple has so many specialties and its uniqueness makes its product so different and outstanding, for example, the exclusive Lightning Connector and MFI certification program. Unlike the Android camp, the iPhone uses Apple’s exclusive Lightning Connector and has patent protection.
In order that they can keep the quality of authorized accessories consistent with the original, Apple has launched an MFI certification program, which includes fast charging cables, self-contained power banks, wired headsets, etc. All accessories related to the Lightning Connector require MFI certification.
What makes the accessories so special with MFI certification and Why Apple put so much effort on its accessories requiring MFI certification? How did MFI certification verify the authenticity? Come Uncover the veil of mystery with us from today’s article.
The Lightning Connector
For those who do not know what Lightning Connector is, the Lightning connector that iPhones, iPods, and iPads have been using since 2012 is a proprietary connector created by Apple. Inside each lightning connector is a tiny authentication chip telling your device it is Apple MFI Certified, and you may have noticed a warning message on your phone when a non-MFI cable was detected.
MFI certification is of importance because non-certified lightning cables can be very dangerous to your device. These cables can get extremely hot, cause damage to your phone, and even render it completely fried and useless.
There is no denying that many iPhone, iPad, and Mac accessories are costly. But you can still find many more relatively extra-cheap cables and accessories on the market. However, whatever the reason, you shouldn’t buy these ultra-cheap uncertified cables and accessories for your Apple devices as they aren’t MFi-Certified, which may end up cost you much more.
Although it is true that not all uncertified Apple accessories are necessarily bad. Lucky you If you have an uncertified gamepad or a pair of headphones that work perfectly. But uncertified Apple accessories—especially charging cables—are dangerous and harmful to your phone.
Apple accessories, like Lightning cables, are set to ultra-specific standards. They’re made at consistent sizes with consistent Made for Ipod components, with smooth, perfectly spaced contacts. Unlike USB cables, all Lightning cables need to be identical.
When Lightning cables don’t fit these criteria, they may conduct electricity incorrectly or accumulate heat. They may wiggle inside an iPhone or iPad’s charging port. As for other accessories, like wireless gamepads and headphones, the name of the game is simply compatibility.
What is MFI Certification Program?
Let’s startup with the wordings - Certification. From Cambridge Dictionary, it explains that the word “Certification” means proof or a document proving that someone is qualified for a particular job, or that something is of good quality. Then have a look at the history of MFi below.
MFi (Made for iPod) certification began way back in 2005 by Apple to ensure that iPods would work with all accessories and chargers. To gain MFi certification and advertise products for the iPod, manufacturers had to run products through Apple compliance tests. These tests checked for safety (overheating), durability, accessory compatibility, and headphone jack controls. Manufacturers also had to pay royalties to Apple, in case you’re wondering.
From Apple's official website, it promotes the MFi Program in this way “Join the MFi licensing program and get the hardware components, tools, documentation, technical support, and certification logos needed to create AirPlay audio accessories and electronic accessories that connect to iPod, iPhone, and iPad.”
The MFi certification process is virtually the same today. Manufacturers run their iPad and iPhone accessories (Lightning cables, gamepads, Bluetooth controllers, and so on) through compliance and safety tests, pay Apple some royalties, and gain a “Made for iPhone” badge on their product packaging.
In the end, people get reliable products, manufacturers get to wave around MFi licenses, and Apple gets some extra cash. Each Lightning connector on an MFI-certified cable or other device has a tiny authentication chip, so your device knows it’s an MFi-certified accessory. Now you know why you shouldn’t buy extra-cheap uncertified cables and accessories for your Apple devices.
How to Check if your Accessories Are MFi-Certified
Checking a charger or accessory for MFi certification is a relatively easy process. If the product’s packaging has a “Made for iPhone” or “Made for iPad” badge, then you can usually trust that it’s MFi certified. If you’ve thrown away the packaging, you can look up the product on Google or Amazon.
While Apple’s intense and selective certification process is great for ensuring quality and reliability, it also encourages companies to produce counterfeit MFi products. That’s why Apple provides a handy MFi search engine and counterfeit guide on its website. If you aren’t sure about a product’s authenticity, check it on the search engine or compare it to Apple’s counterfeit guide (a quick summary of the guide: products that look like crap aren’t MFi-Certified).
As introduced by Apple that the accessory will be searchable as long as it has completed MFi certification requirements and is reported to Apple as sold/distributed by the manufacturer in our public database of authorized Lightning, headset, charging, and iAP-based MFi accessories.