If you use a generic smartphone charger, read this before it's too late

If you use a generic smartphone charger, read this before it's too late
Admit it. At one time or another, you purchased a generic charger for your phone. We bet that you didn't even think twice about the danger that you put yourself in. You see, earlier this month the Annals of Emergency Medicine published (via Gizmodo) a report stating that the majority of generic chargers present a higher risk of "electrical risk" (aka a shock or electrocution). The report includes a few examples including one of a 19-year old girl who was lying in bed while wearing a chain around her neck. With a generic iPhone charger under her pillow and plugged in, she felt a burning sensation around her neck and severe pain. She ended up in the ER with a circumferential partial-thickness burn. The wound was treated, and she was released. The report says that the burn was caused by the generic charger coming into contact with the chain around her neck.

The Annals of Emergency Medicine report noted that most investigations of generic iPhone chargers find that they "fail basic safety testing, making them a higher risk for electrical injury." Carissa Bunke, MD, a pediatric resident physician with the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital who was the report's lead author, said that teens and adolescents are most at risk; that's because they are always using their phones. Dr. Bunke warns that people should not sleep with their phones while they are charging. In addition, she states that phone chargers should not be left plugged into an outlet without the other end of the cable plugged into the phone. "Even with a low-voltage device, if the current is high, then the electric shock can be severe," the physician said. Besides getting treated for a burn that could require painful skin grafts and constant follow up appointments at a burn center, an electric shock can also affect heart rhythms.

A generic Apple iPhone charger killed a woman in China six years ago


A study conducted in the U.K. by a group called Electrical Safety First was given 64 generic chargers by Apple for a test. 58% of the chargers had a "breakdown of the insulation barrier" leading them to fail the electrical strength test. Another test of 400 generic iPhone chargers found that 22 of them were damaged immediately during the testing process. Of the 400 chargers tested, only three of them passed an electric strength test.



You might recall that back in 2013 and 2014, a number of generic iPhone chargers started shocking users starting with the death of a 23-year old stewardess in China. Other similar incidents started to get attention from the media. After educating consumers on the differences between a generic and an official charger, Apple initiated an exchange program. Those turning in a generic charger to Apple were allowed to buy an official Apple charger for only $10.

If you don't want to spend the money for an official Apple charger (a 5W replacement is $19 at the Apple Store), you need to at the very least purchase one that has been certified by Apple. The company's MFi (Manufactured For iPhone) program certifies accessories made by third-party companies to make sure that they live up to Apple's standards for quality and safety.

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12 Comments

1. torr310

Posts: 1690; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

How about brand names like Anker?

10. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

The poor quality lightning cable could never be the culprit of course.

2. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

This is the sole reason why I always bought apple products and accessories. Safety is more important than saving a penny from buying non-apple accessories.

3. epdm2be

Posts: 824; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

"...charger under her pillow and plugged in..." There's no treatment for stupidity!

4. blingblingthing

Posts: 979; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

You might as well run an extension cord through a pool.

9. askarak

Posts: 23; Member since: Aug 25, 2015

This reminds me of these idiots. Search "удлинитель в бассейне" in Google

5. WieXXX

Posts: 24; Member since: Feb 03, 2019

You don't have to buy OEM accessories, because there are many counterfeit one. Buy well known brand like ANKER or BASEUS because they offer better charging speed and well built cable unlike Apple OEM cable or its charger adapter

6. TS020

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 16, 2019

This whole article reeks of scaremongering and paid promotion to get people to overpay for something that functions the same as something costing 1/4 the price. Millions upon millions of people use unofficial cables and chargers and have no incidents. Try harder, Apple.

7. Demo-jay

Posts: 86; Member since: Feb 13, 2018

The way it’s called an “iPhone charger “,like it doesn’t support other devices

12. oldskool50 unregistered

What? It's just a plug dude. You can plug any phoen into an Apple charger and charge a phone. It's just a charger supplying power. The fact is, the story is stupid. The problem isn't she was using a cheap charger. The problem is, she had a phone plugged into the wall, with the phone under her pillow charging. When phones are chargign they get hot. So placing a phone under a pillow, you are laying on, that isn't getting any air, that is sitting on material thnat is easily flammible; is where the problem is. When are we gonna start blaming idiot for doing stupid things vs blaming a cheap product manufcaturer? I have used cheap unbrand chinese made chargers. In fact the ones that comes with iPhone are the no different. I've never had one ever explode, or catch fire or break. THEY ARE ALL CHEAPLY MADE IN CHINA, regardless of what brand name is on them. Yes some are maybe built with a bit better quality. But the fact is, a defective product happens regardless of what it cost and facts show that actually many cheaper product last longer and are more resilient than many expensive ones.

13. japkoslav

Posts: 1539; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

I feel like I should stop reading generic web sites.

16. MrMalignance

Posts: 317; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

@japkoslav: you should. I heard a story about a girl reading a generic web site, when it suddenly burst into flames!

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