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What does Apple MFi Certified mean?

If you've ever looked for a new Lightning cable, you've probably noticed that many of them are MFi certified. You may also have seen that certified products cost a little more. What does MFi certification mean - and why?

MFi certification is the "Apple tax"

Sure, many accessories for iPhone, iPad, and Mac are pre-adventures. Whatever the reason, you shouldn't buy extremely cheap, uncertified cables and accessories for your Apple devices because they end up costing more than the overpriced alternatives.

Why? Because of course they are not MFi certified!

MFi (Made for iPod) certification began long ago in 2005 to ensure iPods (with their bulky 30-pin connectors) are compatible with all accessories and chargers. Remember, there was a time when everything from alarm clocks to cars had built-in 30-pin connectors. In order to obtain MFi certification and to promote products for the iPod, manufacturers had to pass the Apple conformity tests. These tests checked the safety (overheating), durability, accessory compatibility and control of the headphone jack. Manufacturers had to pay Apple royalties too, in case you're wondering.

The MFi certification process is pretty much the same today. Manufacturers pass their iPad and iPhone accessories (lightning cables, gamepads, Bluetooth controllers, etc.) through conformity and security tests, pay Apple license fees and receive a "Made for iPhone" badge on the product packaging. In the end, people get reliable products, manufacturers can buy MFi licenses, and Apple gets extra money. Each Lightning connector on an MFI-certified cable or other device has a tiny authentication chip so your device knows that it is an MFi-certified accessory.

Why Are Uncertified Apple Accessories So Bad?

Let's get something out of the way: don't all Uncertified Apple accessories are necessarily bad. If you have an uncertified gamepad or headphones that work like a dream, this is great! In general, however, non-certified Apple accessories - especially charging cables - are junk.

A quick look at Apple's fake guide is all you need to understand. Apple accessories, such as B. Lightning cables, are set to ultra-specific standards. They are manufactured in uniform sizes with uniform Made for Ipod components and with smooth, perfectly spaced contacts. Unlike USB cables, all Lightning cables must be identical.

If Lightning cables don't meet these criteria, they can conduct electricity incorrectly or store heat. They can wiggle in the charging port of an iPhone or iPad. If you are lucky, they can get damaged or overheated in front of the Apple device.

As for other accessories, such as wireless gamepads and headphones, the name of the game is simply compatibility. You should expect these accessories to work correctly in any situation. If there is a title skip button, it should work properly. If you're switching from an iPhone 8 to an iPhone 10, your accessories should still work.

Oh no! My new iPhone case is not MFi certified!

Do not worry; Some Apple accessories do not need to be MFI certified. Phone cases, analog gamepads, and pens that aren't connected to your Apple device (or a Lightning cable) don't require MFi certification.

Accessories that use Low Energy Bluetooth are also excluded from the MFi program. However, it can be difficult to determine when an accessory fits into this category. In general, you can expect trackers (like the Tile), hybrid smartwatches (like the Skagen Hagen), and some Bluetooth medical devices to use Low Energy Bluetooth.

How to check if a charger or accessory is MFi certified

Checking a charger or accessory for MFi certification is a relatively straightforward process. If the product packaging has a "Made for iPhone" or "Made for iPad" badge, you can usually be confident that the product is MFi certified. When you've thrown the packaging away, you can look up the product on Google or Amazon.

Hold! Can you "normally" trust a product with an Apple logo to be MFi certified? Isn't that a problem? Yes, my friend, this is a serious problem.

While Apple's intensive and selective certification, this process is great for ensuring quality and reliability, and encourages companies to manufacture counterfeit MFi products. That's why Apple has a handy MFi search engine and guide on counterfeiting on its website. If you are unsure about the authenticity of a product, check it in the search engine or compare it to Apple's fake manual (a brief summary of the manual: products that look like crap are not MFi certified).

Of course, you could just plug the charger or accessories into your Apple device and see what happens. If there are uncertified devices connected to iPhones or iPads, you will see a notification that uncertified devices may not work reliably with your device. This notification is sometimes a bug. So don't take it to heart if your Apple charging cable, which normally works just fine, shows the notification out of nowhere.

What happens to MFi when Apple switches to USB-C?

As you may know, Apple's new line of iPads and MacBooks have USB-C ports instead of Lightning ports. There's also a good chance the next iPhone will have a USB-C port. What will happen to the MFi program?

Well, as of now there are no MFi-certified USB cables (other than USB-C and Lightning cables). Additionally, Apple's website doesn't mention any certified or licensed USB-C cables.

This may not mean much on its own, but USB-C is becoming the first choice for wired headphones and an alternative to HDMI (along with other wired accessories). It is possible that MFi will be phased out as USB-C becomes more ubiquitous, or that the program will shift its focus to wireless and peripheral iPhone and iPad accessories. It's difficult to say. At the moment we only know that MFi certification is a quality mark.

While Apple's actions may take control, you should look at the "non-compliant" USB-C cable situation to understand how useful the MFi program is.

CONNECTED:Warning: Here's how to buy a Type-C USB cable that won't damage your devices