Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS7, brings great new features and a beautiful design but unfortunately it has also rendered many 3rd party Lightning accessories useless. Apple’s Made For iPhone program certifies that accessories are safe to charge and sync your Apple devices. Each Lightning accessory even has a tiny chip that certifies the accessory as MFi. There has been a constant cat and mouse game with Apple and 3rd party companies who attempt to circumvent this certification. These same companies promise future compatibility with iOS7 but it is hardly worth it anymore to buy these cables to save a few bucks. There are dozens of solid MFi options which offer Apple reliability and terrific value.
Head below for the best MFi (Made For iPhone) certified Lightning cables on the market.
In general we love the Amazon Basics Lightning cables which are fully MFi compliant, come in 3 different lengths and get absolutely stellar reviews from past purchasers. We do periodically see prices as low as $9 on bulk packaged Apple official cables, so be sure to follow 9to5Toys to keep up to date with the latest deals: Twitter, RSS Feed, Facebook, Google+. If you can’t wait and have to have Apple official cables your best bet is at Amazon. Keep in mind that 3rd party companies are now making MFi extended battery cases. In fact, you can grab a 2-port USB car charger and Lightning cable for nearly the same price Apple charges for just the cable.
Update (7/30 8:15am): Belkin MIXIT↑ metallic Lightning cables are available in gold, silver, and gray (just like your iPhone) and feature a more durable braided cable.
Best overall value: Amazon Basics $14 w/ free shipping for Prime members/orders exceeding $25 or 3′ Monprice cable (black or white): $12 + $1.83 shipping
Best colored options: iFrogz by ZAGG, available in 7 colors
$19 w/ free shipping (no longer available)
Best coiled cable: 4′ Griffin $25 + $3.50 shipping
Best looking: Moshi premium aluminum $20 w/ free shipping
Best extra-long cable: 6′ Amazon Basics cable for $15 w/ free shipping for Prime members/orders exceeding or 6′ Monoprice (black or white) $12.78 + $2 shipping
Update (7/16 2:30pm): Save 25% on Nomad’s new carabiner, key & credit card sized MFi Lightning cables
Update (8/22 2:00pm): Monoprice now offers a MFi Lightning keychain w/ stowaway 6-inch cable for $14.99.
Car Chargers: There are a couple ways to get Lightning charging while on-the-go. The most low-cost and easiest way is to simply plug a loose MFi Lightning cable (from above) into a built-in USB port in your car. If your car doesn’t come equipped with a USB port the next best option is your cigarette lighter. I recommend buying a loose USB car charger, 10 watt preferred for quick charge, for maximum flexibility. You can plug any USB cable in there and charge a multitude of devices. The total cost is also lower because you can use the cable that came with your device. The other option is a car charger with bulit-in Lightning cable. This option is less flexible but makes it easier because the cable is not detachable.
Our picks for the best MFi Lightning car charging solutions:
Loose USB car charger: Belkin Car Charger 2.1 AMP/10 Watts $14 (Amazon direct)
Charger w/ built-in cable: Griffin PowerJolt SE $25 + $3.50 shipping
Loose charger and cable combo: AmazonBasics Lightning cable + 2-port USB car charger $19 w/ free shipping – Same price as a standalone Lightning cable from Apple!