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The best Lightning cables for your iPhone or iPad

Your Lightning cable is your iOS device lifeline, used to charge and transfer data to your Apple mobile device. To keep your tech running reliably, you need a high-quality, eight-pin cable that won’t crack or splinter. Light and flexible as they are, it’s always helpful to tote around a spare cable or two. You never know when you’ll need to charge your devices while you’re on the go. We found a number of good prospects for Lightning cables, each of which can withstand pulls, tugs, scratches, and pet bites, and stand up to wear and tear.

Further reading

Best Lightning cable for the iPhone/iPad: Anker Powerline+ III Lightning-to-USB-A Cable

Anker Powerline + 3
  • MFi-certified: Yes
  • Length: 3 feet
  • Warranty: Lifetime

The ultra-slim PowerLine+ III touts a 35,000-bend lifespan for its super-strong reinforced cable, which can support 175 pounds without breaking. It may be durable, but it’s also handsome with curved, stainless-steel edges that precisely match mobile device designs. The surface protects against scratches and scrapes, preserving the cable’s high-end look. MFi certified for compatibility with Lightning devices, and compatible with USB-A, you can be confident that this cable is safe to operate with your precious iPhone or iPad to transfer movies, music, or photos. An optimized internal structure means this latest PowerLine cable generation is slimmer and stronger than previous models, like the Powerline II below. A 6-foot version of this cable is also available for $26.

Best long Lightning cable: Nomad Ultra Rugged Cable

Nomad Lightning Cable
  • MFi-certified: Yes
  • Length: 9.8 feet (3 meters)
  • Warranty: 2 years

This cable combines a Kevlar core with an RF (radio frequency) shield and PVC jacket, all encased in heavyweight 1,000-denier nylon for durability. Nomad guarantees it will last for at least five years, even with heavy daily use. There’s a special silicone rubber tie that allows you to keep your cable tidy and organize any extra length. It’s a USB 2.0 cable and it will work with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch that has a Lightning port. You can also get it in a 4.9-foot (1.5-meter) length.

Nomad

Best durable Lightning cable: Fuse Chicken Titan Plus Cable

  • MFi-certified: Yes
  • Length: 4.9 feet/1.5 meters
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime

Initially, the first Fuse Chicken Titan product held the title as the sturdiest lightning cable worldwide, so that gives you an idea of how the Titan Plus Cable is. Similar to the original, the Fuse Chicken Titan Plus is bound in two adaptable steel layers, making it, so damage is nearly impossible. To prove its strength, the manufacturers tried to destroy it with a chainsaw.

Since this cable is denser and less flexible than a typical cable, coiling it up is challenging. The connector can pose a disadvantage because of its wide neck, so it doesn’t fit everything. However, if you have pets that love to chew, this cable is for you.

Amazon

Best universal Lightning cable: Native Union Cable Collection

  • MFi-certified: Yes
  • Length: Belt Cable 1.2 meters, Night Cable 3.0 meters, Key Cable 16.5 centimeters
  • Warranty: Lifetime

Native Union has perfected the art of turning cables into lifestyle products, and for its new Cosmos Collection, the company has also added in extra toughness using DuPont Kevlar fiber, ensuring the cables remain looking good. It has also reinforced the join between cable and Lightning connector, a common point where other cables may fail. The new print combines gray and white for a cool, modern look, with a great texture. Native Union’s Cosmos Collection color scheme will be available on its Belt Cable models, Key Cable, and Night Cable from May 15, but other colors and styles are available right now.

Belt Cable

Key Cable

Night Cable

Best 90-degree Lightning cable: Zus Kevlar Cable

Zus Kevlar Cable
  • MFi-certified: Yes
  • Length: 4 feet
  • Warranty: Limited

We wound up blowing up the Sun cable during our testing session, but it withstood tug-of-war play without any damage beforehand. That goes to show how insanely tough and well designed this lightning cable is. Kevlar and nylon braids adequately support this cable, attributed to making this cable survive 15,000 twists and bends during testing.

This cable also rarely tangles up, but if that’s a concern for you, you can always use its Velcro fastener to manage it. We appreciated that this cable’s USB connecting device is at a 90-degree angle, giving it the ability to fit in the tightest of spaces. It’s durable, the right cost, and an adequate length.

Nonda

Best cheap lightning cable: AmazonBasics Nylon Braided Lightning-to-USB-A Cable

AmazonBasics
  • MFi-certified: Yes
  • Length: 6 feet
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

AmazonBasics has a pretty good reputation for reasonably priced must-have utilitarian products. This Apple MFi certified Lightning cable for Apple devices gets plenty of rave reviews from customers who use it to charge and sync iPhones from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 12 — not to mention multiple generations of iPads. The cable is constructed with durable nylon fiber cloth for protection, strength, and flexibility, and has been tested to bend 95 degrees at least 4,000 times. High-quality copper wires ensure maximum signal quality and strength while additional protection of the Lightning and USB parts enhances durability to reduce fraying.

Research and buying FAQ

What is a Lightning cable?

The Lightning cable is a proprietary Apple cable released in 2012 to manage power, charging, and connections for Apple devices. Since it is a unique cable design and standard, it is not interchangeable with other cables like USB. If you have an Apple device or accessory with a Lightning cable port, you need a Lightning cable.

Is a Lightning Cable the same as a USB Cable?

Not at all. The eight-pin design is different, and the ends are too small to go into an average USB port. When it comes to speed, Lightning cables trail behind the latest USB cables, especially the super-fast USB-C standard. However, many Lightning cables are made as adapters between Lightning ports and USB ports. There are also some signs that Apple is moving away from the Lightning cable standard entirely for something like USB-C, but this has yet to happen.

Why are Apple’s Lightning cables so fragile?

Apple prioritized lightweight, short cables over durability. That makes them easier to damage, especially toward the plug where fraying can easily happen over time. Note how many of our Lightning cable picks use nylon wrap instead — this is a much better way to guarantee durability over time.

Do generic Lightning cables work?

They can, but never get any knockoff cables. These fail more easily and can create fire hazards. Always look for cables that MFi certified, which means Apple itself has certified the cable to work with Apple products. In many ways, good MFi-certified cables are better than the Lightning cables that ship with Apple products.

Can you charge an iPhone without a Lightning cable?

Absolutely, as long as you have a compatible wireless charger. Qi-standard wireless chargers work with most Apple accessories and usually work through most cases, although particularly thick ones sometimes pose a problem. Otherwise, you’ll need a Lightning cable for charging, or in the case of the newest iPhones, one of Apple’s fancy MagSafe chargers.

Where can I buy a Lightning cable?

You should be able to find Lightning cables in any online or brick-and-mortar electronics store without a problem. If you prefer to stick with cables made by Apple, you can go straight to the source and get them from the Apple website. It’s a good idea to check out our list first if you’re looking for the most durable, high-quality cables available.

Are there Lightning cable adapters available?

There are several. In fact, most Apple devices come with a USB-to-Lightning cable to make charging easier, and a few picks on our list double as adapter cables designed to work with various ports. Just check that the adapter cable you’re looking at works with the ports on your devices. A USB-A adapter cable, for example, won’t work with a USB-C port.

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