Should You Only Buy Apple Accessories that are Apple MFi Certified?

MFi certified and uncertified products

Picture this, you finally receive your long-awaited iPhone 11. Everything is running smoothly until you stare at your phone, waiting for the battery to get up to 50% and it seems like an eternity. You can’t stand it anymore and decide to buy a fast charging charger and a USB-C to Lightning cable. The original Apple accessories are so expensive, you decide to get a third-party charger. But the big question is: how can you make sure that this charger is reliable? As an Apple die-hard fan, you know that you should only choose accessories which are Apple MFi certified but unfortunately, the cable you want isn’t MFi certified. So, should you buy it?

Is MFi certification a must-have? Will those uncertified accessories damage your precious Apple device? Read on to find out.

1. What does Apple MFi certification mean for accessories?

There’s no denying that, genuine iPhone, iPad or other Apple accessories are expensive. Apple always provide the best possible products. However, it is not uncommon for third-party MFi certified accessories to be pricey as well and this is for a reason.

What is Apple MFi certified?

Apple MFi certification

MFi stands for “Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod” and it is the certification that Apple assigns to authorized manufacturers to produce peripheral accessories for Apple devices. The program started in 2005 for iPod docks and cables, and now it includes more devices and accessories. Only 2% of all those who pay to apply for MFi certification can pass the required tests, primarily because Apple implements a very strict procedure to maintain the life span of those accessories, protect the brand image, and see to it that third-party manufacturers pursue the same quality and standards as Apple. Now MFi certification has become the byword of quality and a symbol of technological strength.

How to check if the accessory is Apple MFi-certified?

MFi logo MFi badge

You’ll find the MFi certified logo on the package of the certified accessory, such as the “Made for iPod” or “Made for iPhone” badge. The certification logo is only allowed to be used under Apple’s authorization and it’s not allowed to change the pattern. Another way to check whether an item is MFi certified or not is through its MFi search engine on the Apple’s website.

2. Is MFi certification important for Apple fans?

Did Apple create the MFi program to look after its users’ interests, or was it simply an ingenious way to make even more profit? People are divided on the meaning of the MFi program. However, there is no question that it helps Apple users decide what they should purchase if they don’t use the original Apple accessories.

Performance

MFi is a guarantee of workability. Certified items work with Apple devices flawlessly, even after the iOS update. For uncertified accessory, you have little idea whether it will work or not, until you unpack it and plug into the Apple device. Apple devices will identify whether a component is MFi certified or not when the component is plugged in. If not, there will be popup like “This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone.” Then the component will stop working, or it works but in an intermittent way and may crash after a short period of time.

Safety

Non MFi cable may damage your iPhone

Connectors and components related to charging take up a large part of the hardware accessories included in the MFi program. To ensure the safety of the accessory and the charged device, Apple demands that MFi-certified components should use metal parts to strengthen the internal structure, adopt an MFi chip and power management chip for iOS devices, in order to establish a reliable charging system. This system will control the voltage and current of the power source based on the Apple official standards. In this sense, damage caused by overheating, overvoltage, poor charging, etc., can be avoided, because charging will be cut off if something were to go wrong.

Quality

Uncertified cable has poor quality broken Lightning cable

MFi certified items are more expensive than uncertified ones. One reason is because manufacturers need to pay for the license; other factors relate to the usage of premium materials and higher quality manufacturing standards. These ensure a predictable level of quality of the accessory. To urge people to use MFi-certified accessories, Apple lists a few cases that may occur with uncertified counterparts, and they also emphasize that damage to an Apple device caused by using of uncertified components will void warranty.

It goes without saying that the MFi program serves as an indispensable part of Apple users’ lives.

3. Should you just use Apple MFi certified accessories?

Apple do not make a lot of accessories, choices are limited, so you may need to revert to third-party accessories. And you will find that none of a certain kind of accessory are MFi certified.

Does an uncertified accessory mean it’s bad for your Apple device?

iPhone in aramid fiber case

Yes, for some types of accessories, as discussed above, you may in fact damage your device if you use an uncertified charging cable. That said, not every type of accessory is part of the MFi program, in other words, not ‘all’ uncertified products will cause damage. For example, phone cases do not connect to the inside of any Apple device, so they do not need to be MFi certified. Also, accessories that do not use MFi licensed technology, like Bluetooth devices, do not need to join the MFi program.

What kind of accessory need to be Apple MFi certificated?

Components that are related to charging, audio or that use the MFi licensed technology, should join MFi program, components such as Lightning connectors, Audio modules, magnetic charging modules, and so on. Because of this, it is highly recommended to only purchase MFi certified Lightning cables or similar to charge your iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apple Watch charger magnetic charging dock

Now what about charging an iPhone without a cable? What kind of accessory does a wireless charger belong to? Should you choose a certified wireless charger since it’s for charging? Or is an uncertified charger OK because it doesn’t actually plug into the iPhone directly?

How about wireless chargers?

As technology is advancing each day, wired charging is no longer the only way to charge up your iPhone. The iPhone 8 and later all support wireless charging using the Qi standard. You can put the iPhone on the wireless charging station and charging begins immediately, without any sign of a Lightning cable anywhere.

multi-device wireless charger

So, which kind of wireless charger should you use? Well, the truth is, Apple doesn’t include wireless chargers in the MFi program. However, there are various wireless chargers out there, and therefore the requirements may vary. If the wireless charger is just used to charge up iPhones, then it doesn’t have to be MFi certified. However, some multi-device wireless chargers also can be used to charge the Apple Watch, in which case, the magnetic charging module for the watch needs to be MFi certified.

4. The 6-in-1 charging station you need to see

 

The Air Omni from PITAKA stands out amongst all other multi-device wireless chargers because it can charge up to 6 devices simultaneously. 

Safety is always of paramount importance. The featured Apple Watch charger and certified Lightning connector ensure that you are charging your Apple devices in a safe manner as using the original charger.

You can lay the watch flat on the charging dock to charge or push the button to flip up the dock and charge your watch vertically. No need to be concerned about reliability. Feel assured that the Air Omni can charge your phone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods accurately and safely.

High-power wireless coils

Although the wireless charging component to charge phones is not MFi certified (and it doesn’t need to be), the Air Omni has justified its reliability by providing position-free wireless charging. One common drawback about wireless chargers is that they are not as reliable as wired charging. You have to find the sweet spot to charge your phone. Sometimes you think you’ve found it, and two hours later, you end up with a “new” phone, with a flat battery.

This does not happen with the Air Omni. With three high-power charging coils inside the 6-in-1 wireless charger, you will easily find an area to wirelessly charge your phone and even if you accidentally move the phone, charging continues.

In Conclusion

MFi certification is important for all Apple users. In some cases, it’s the most important indicator to tell whether you should purchase the accessory for your iPhone or not. With the MFi badge on the package, you can be assured that the accessory is manufactured to a high-quality standard, ensuring safety and reliability. However, it is important to understand that not every type of accessory is required to be MFi certified, wireless chargers for example. But you should still choose a reliable wireless charger, otherwise, charging may not work very well or worse it could even damage your device. Air Omni is your ideal choice, particularly if you own multiple devices.

 

Claire

About the Author

Claire was an amateur writer for different platforms, covering from technology to literature; now, she's the blogger of PITAKA. As a fervent minimalist, a reader, and a lifelong learner, Claire uses her experience and curiosity to unfold the world of science and technology gradually, and bit by bit, she explores how PITAKA is making your life easier and more convenient.

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