15 Mar Why Your School’s Apple Accessories Should be MFi Certified
What is MFi Certification?
MFi stands for “made for iPhone/iPad/iPod.” Apple devices come with a proprietary Lightning cable created for Apple, by Apple. Inside each cable is a tiny chip. This chip works as a signal to communicate with the device that they are “made for each other.” If you’ve ever plugged in your phone and encountered a warning message that the “accessory is not supported,” the charger and device aren’t exactly hitting it off.
Guess there won’t (and shouldn’t) be a second date.
Apple’s MFi certification program allows third-party accessory makers to develop connectors that are compatible and safe to use with Apple products.
How do Third-Party Companies Become MFi Certified?
Developing Apple-compatible accessories is a lengthy (and expensive) process. Companies wishing to do so must apply through Apple’s website and then submit samples to undergo rigorous mechanical and electrical testing. Once approved, they can include the iconic “made for iPhone” logo on their product packaging.
The program was introduced in 2005, so it isn’t exactly new. And since the development of iOS 7 and the Lightning cable, iPads and iPhones can refuse to work with non-certified connectors, making MFi certified accessories even more necessary.
What’s the Big Deal?
MFi certification may seem like a money grab or “Apple tax”. After all, there are plenty of non-MFi certified chargers that have never melted an iPad. But the price difference between MFi certified accessories and non-MFi certified accessories (unlike in the past) has become negligible.
Because the cost difference is minimal, the extra effort to ensure your school’s Apple accessories are MFi-certified is certainly worth it, because you run real risks if you don’t.
Damage to the U2 IC chip is one of them. This chip is responsible for USB functions, charging, and the sleep/wake button. If damaged, a phone may no longer turn on, may not charge as quickly or at all, and as discussed previously, the device may reject the cable entirely. A non-MFi connector may also fall out of the device, overheat, or not fit properly. The costs of repair have the potential to be enormous.
How to Identify Counterfeits and Non-MFi Certified Cables
If third-party products do not have the below labels, you know it is either a counterfeit or not compatible:
Additionally, a third-party certified Lightning to USB cable will usually have the company branding on the Lightning-connector end.
You can also identify non-compatible cables by looking at the Lightning-connector end itself.
Apple branded or MFi certified cables will be:
- A single piece
- Rounded, with smooth contacts
- A consistent width and length (7.7mm X 12mm)
- A Gray/metallic faceplate insert
The USB-connector end will have:
- Trapezoidal interlocks on USB shell
- A flat USB shell surface
- Equally spaced interlocks
- Gold-plated USB contacts
- A smooth and consistent USB surface
A list of MFi certified brands can be found on Apple’s website here.
AppleCrossing carries a wide variety of MFi certified accessories. You can check them out here or call us for any questions you might have!