Apple devices have different charging capabilities, with some having USB-C or wireless charging while others still use the company’s proprietary Lightning port. However, Apple’s Lightning cables are known to be fragile and expensive compared to third-party options that are certified to work just as well. To help users find better alternatives, we’ve tested several Lightning cables and identified the best options for various needs.
Best USB-C to Lightning cable: Anker PowerLine II (10ft).
Anker PowerLine II USB-C to Lightning Cable (10 feet)
The best Lightning cable for USB-C ports
Anker’s PowerLine II USB-C to Lightning Cable is the best option for USB-C ports. It is MFi-certified, durable, has a comfortable grip, and a lifetime warranty. It can charge most iPhones in an hour with the right wall charger.
Lengths available: 3ft, 6ft. Recommended for those who need a durable, fast charging cable for their iPhone and other Lightning devices.
The Anker PowerLine II USB-C to Lightning Cable (10 feet) is great because it supports fast charging speeds when paired with a USB-C port that puts out at least 18 watts of power. This can charge an iPhone up to three times faster than a USB-A–to–Lightning cable. Powerful wall chargers can charge iPhone 8 or newer from completely dead to 50% in 30 minutes, while Apple’s standard cable and charger takes 3 hours to charge the battery to full. The charge rate is not constant, but a full phone charge can be achieved in approximately an hour.
MFi-certified cables perform optimally with Apple’s Lightning-powered devices for charging and data transfer. Non-certified cables may not be much cheaper and can result in slower charging or device damage.
In our testing, the PowerLine II’s rubber covering is both smooth and easy to grip, while also proving to be highly durable over more than a year of daily use. The cable’s housings, which connect the metal plugs to the cable body, are the strongest and most comfortable to hold of any we’ve tested. These housings, made from a single piece of matte-textured rubber, offer ample space for a firm grip when plugging and unplugging, which helps prevent fraying and breakage. We found that when we connected the cable to various devices, there was minimal movement, ensuring a stable connection for both charging and data transfer.
Cable housings—the part of the cable you hold on to while plugging and unplugging—undergo lots of strain and are usually the first components of a cable to break. Photo: Michael Hession
Nomad USB-C to Lightning Cable with Kevlar (10 feet):
Looking for a durable USB-C to Lightning cable? Check out the Nomad cable with Kevlar, which is 10 feet long. Not only does it allow for fast charging, but its sturdy exterior can withstand even the toughest conditions. With this cable, you won’t have to worry about it breaking anytime soon.
If you are looking for a long and sturdy cable that can charge your Lightning-powered devices at top speed, then the Nomad USB-C to Lightning Cable with Kevlar (10 feet) is a great choice. This MFi-certified cable can charge your iPhone, AirPods, and other Lightning devices as fast as possible when paired with an 18 W USB-C wall charger. The cable is 10 feet long, making it ideal for reaching across most couches.
The Nomad cable has a ruggedly built sheath made of double-braided Kevlar material, which is less prone to wear or snag than the more common nylon. The cable tie that comes with it is also robust, with thick ridges that keep it securely coiled. The plastic housings are sturdy, with little ridges along the collar for added flexibility. The metal connectors fit snugly in most Lightning and USB-C ports.
The cable comes with a five-year warranty, which is longer than most cables we’ve tested. Although it costs more than other Lightning cables we’ve tested, it’s worth the investment if you want a cable with unsurpassed charging speeds, length, and durability. The only downside is that it’s less compact for stowing in a pocket or purse. It also has a tactical-gear look and comes in only one color (black).
Anker USB-C to 90 Degree Lightning Cable (6 feet):
The 6-foot Anker USB-C to Lightning cable comes with a 90-degree plug option for those who prefer it. It has a fast-charging capability, a sleek design, and comfortable-to-hold casings. The added bonus of a lifetime warranty and a hook-and-loop cable tie ensures tidy storage.
This Lightning cable with a 90-degree plug is perfect for those who want to reduce strain on the cable while using their iPhone for activities like watching movies or video chats. It also gives a sleek look to the plug-to-port connection. The cable is MFi-certified and can support up to 18 W of power with the right charger, making it great for charging Lightning-powered devices quickly. It comes in black or white and includes a hook-and-loop cable tie for easy storage. The housing is designed with round edges and textured plastic for easy grip, while the cable itself is covered in a slim, flexible rubber sheath. Unlike other 90-degree cables, this cable comes with a lifetime warranty. Additionally, it is available in a 3-foot length.
The cable is not as long as some other picks, but no cables with a 90-degree plug that were longer than 6 feet were tested.
Anker PowerLine III USB-C to Lightning Cable (1 foot)
Looking for a shorter Lightning cable? The Anker PowerLine III USB-C to Lightning Cable is only one foot long and features a grippy housing for easy plugging and unplugging. It also comes with a cable tie for neat storage and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
If you need a short cable to connect two small devices, one with a USB-C port and the other with a Lightning port, that are less than a foot apart, consider the MFi-certified cable from Anker. It is backed by a lifetime warranty and can charge a Lightning-powered device at top speed, supporting up to 18 W of power. The slim and flexible sheath protects its innards, while its housings have rounded edges and shallow ridges that give it an extra-grippy texture. Though longer than ideal for this category, it is sturdily built and comes with a hook-and-loop cable tie for neat storage. It is available in black and white. If you do not require maximum charging speeds, we also have a 4-inch Lightning cable pick for USB-A ports.
Anker PowerLine II USB-A to Lightning Cable (10 feet):
The Anker PowerLine II USB-A to Lightning Cable (10 feet) is the top choice for Lightning cables that connect to USB-A ports. Although it charges at a slower rate than our preferred cable for USB-C ports, it is MFi-certified, durable, easy to hold, comes with a lifetime warranty, and has a sufficient length to reach from a wall outlet to a nightstand, couch, or desk.
If you are looking for a Lightning cable that works well with USB-A ports, the Anker PowerLine II USB-A to Lightning Cable (10 feet) is the best option.
Other lengths are 1 foot, 3 feet, and 6 feet.
Who should buy this? Anyone who can live without receiving the fastest charge possible but still wants a decent cable but doesn’t have access to wall chargers, power banks, or other devices with USB-C connectors.
Why it’s fantastic The finest USB-A-to-Lightning cable we’ve discovered is the Anker PowerLine II USB-A to Lightning Cable (10 feet). It is MFi-certified, which means Apple has verified that it can work with any of the company’s Lightning-powered products to achieve top charging speeds (when paired with a charger that can crank out up to 12 W of power) and full USB 2.0 data-transfer rates (up to 480 Mbps).
This cable is ideal for a number of uses because it comes in a range of lengths. Both the 1-foot and 3-foot versions are transportable and small enough to pack away. The 6-foot model allows you to reach a desk, bedroom table, or kitchen countertop from a wall outlet without creating extra clutter. The 10-foot version, which is our favourite of the lot, adds even more length to make room for outlets that are difficult to access.
The PowerLine II USB-A to Lightning Cable has a smooth yet gripping finish, just like its fast-charging USB-C twin, and it comes with a hook-and-loop cable tie to keep it securely coiled and organised. In addition to having a pleasingly soft, matte texture and a curved shape, its housings are also comfortable to handle while plugging and disconnecting. Once inserted, the metal connectors maintain a strong connection and slip into the appropriate ports with ease.
The 6-foot version of this cable also exists in red and blue, and all four length options are also in black and white. They come with Anker’s lifetime warranty and are a few dollars less expensive than their USB-C to Lightning counterparts.
Deficiencies but not deal breakers: In particular, a USB-C to Lightning cable can charge an iPhone up to three times faster than this cable, preventing you from getting the fastest charge possible. However, this one is your best option if you don’t already have a wall charger or power bank at home with fast-charging USB-C ports or if you simply want to have a USB-A-to-Lightning cable on hand to use in an emergency. One of the three types of defects the Total Phase Advanced Cable Tester is intended to identify was signal-integrity when we ran this cable through it.
The impact on charging or data transfer speeds is probably too small for most people to notice, but such errors occurred with many of the cables we tested with this device, especially those longer than 3 feet. This is because power and data have to travel farther in a longer cable, which can slightly degrade the signal.
Kevlar-covered USB-A to Lightning cable from Nomad, 10 feet:
If you desire a defense-in-depth exterior
Although the Lightning cable charges less quickly than its USB-C port-compatible twin, it has the same length (10 feet), Kevlar sheath, hard-plastic housings, and overall build quality.
Additional lengths include five feet.
Who should buy this: Anyone looking for a cable that is even more durable made than the Anker PowerLine II USB-A to Lightning Cable and is as long as any cable we’ve tested.
Why it’s fantastic The Nomad USB-A to Lightning Cable with Kevlar (10 feet) is MFi-certified, just like our preferred Lightning cable for USB-A ports, and at 10 feet long it can extend over a couch, a king-size bed, or even a small room. It features a rubber cable tie to keep your cable firmly wound, and its exterior is composed of the same sturdy, double-braided Kevlar as the other Nomad cable we suggest.
Its metal connectors fit snuggly in the majority of Lightning and USB-A ports, and its plastic housings are strong and flexible. Additionally, although though its five-year warranty is shorter than Anker’s lifetime warranty, it still offers significantly more coverage than the majority of the cables we’ve tested.
Deficiencies but not deal breakers: This Lightning cable for USB-A ports has the same limitations as all others in terms of charging speed. Like the other Nomad cables we suggest, this one only comes in black, has a love-it-or-hate-it appearance, and costs more than the majority of cables we’ve tested. It also has a thick sheath that makes it more difficult to stow in a pocket or handbag.
Six feet of Anker USB-A to 90-degree Lightning cable:
When looking for a right-angle plug. This Lightning cable charges more slowly than its identical USB-C port-compatible twin, but it also includes a lifetime warranty and a convenient cable tie.
Additional lengths include 3 feet.
Who should buy this: Anyone looking for a Lightning cable with a 90-degree plug to give their device a more streamlined appearance or to place as little stress as possible on the cable housing while their iPhone is propped up (for video chats or viewing movies, for example).
Why it’s fantastic This Lightning cable for USB-A ports is MFi-certified and comes with a lifetime warranty, much like our favourite Lightning cable. Its housings’ sturdy construction helps to prevent breakage, and their rounded edges make them easy to hold while plugging in and out.
Similar to Anker’s PowerLine III cables, this one includes slight ridges on the outside of the housings that make them more gripping. It is available in black or white and has a thin, flexible rubber sheath. Additionally, a hook-and-loop cable tie is included, which is useful for keeping your cable loosely wound in a bag or drawer.
Flaws but not deal breakers: All Lightning cables for USB-A ports can’t provide you with the absolute fastest charging. It’s also not as long as some of our top choices, but we didn’t test any cables that were longer than 6 feet and featured a 90-degree plug.
Who should buy this:
Anyone looking for a super-short connection to connect two small devices that are stacked or positioned next to one another and each have a USB-A port and a Lightning port.
Why it’s great: This cable is MFi-certified, so it will function just as well as any cable with the Apple logo. You may fold its thin, flexible sheath back on itself to charge two compact, stacked gadgets. Its housings are well constructed, generously sized, and have rounded corners in addition to a delightfully soft, gripping touch.
The ends of its metal connections stayed firmly in place with little wobbling when we connected them into equivalent ports on a range of devices. Additionally, Anker offers an 18-month guarantee on this cable, making it one of the more affordable models we examined (a two-pack costs less than $20 as of this writing).
Flaws but not deal breakers: This Lightning cable for USB-A ports can’t charge your device as quickly as others can, but we haven’t tested any alternatives for USB-C ports that are as small as it is. It only comes in one colour, black, and there is no cable tie. However, given how brief it is, we don’t believe either flaw is particularly significant.
However, a three-in-one cable can be useful when travelling, when you don’t want to carry three separate cords, or as a backup to store in your desk drawer. We don’t recommend any three-in-one cable for everyday usage because the adapters add bulk and can be difficult to use.
Why it’s fantastic The Anker PowerLine II 3-in-1 Cable is unquestionably the best three-in-one cable we’ve tested. Because it is MFi-certified, you can be sure that it will function properly with iPhones, AirPods, and other Lightning-powered devices. It is also dependable and well-made, holding up flawlessly in our tests even after more than two years of sporadic use.
The 3-in-1 cable from Anker has the same sheath and housing designs (pleasant, stylish, easy-to-grip rubber) as the other PowerLine II cables, which we adore. The 3-in-1 Cable features a compact profile that is simple to coil up and store in a suitcase, even with the additional mass of the adapters—a USB-C socket and a Lightning plug linked to the main body of the cable by 2-inch-long rubber tethers. Of all the adapters we tested, its were the simplest to connect and unplug, and once connected, they remained securely in place.
The 3-in-1 Cable comes with Anker’s lifetime warranty and is offered in either black or white. Additionally, ours is still in good condition despite accompanying us on various journeys (short, long, near, and distant) during the past three years.
Deficiencies but not deal breakers: Three-in-one cables are, in general, a clumsy way to handle the variety of connections and cable standards required to charge typical electronic gadgets. However, this is a good choice if you frequently use all three ports (Micro-USB, USB-C, and Lightning) and detest lugging around three different cords. Only one length is offered, but that isn’t a big concern as this cable is best utilised for travel and a longer cable would probably be too thick to tuck away in a pocket. This cable produced a DC-resistance error when we put it through the Total Phase Advanced Cable Tester; while not ideal, it shouldn’t significantly affect the cable’s performance. The 3-in-1 Cable is less quick to charge your Lightning-powered devices than our top recommendations and does not have a hook-and-loop cable tie. But given the increased mobility it provides, those are fair trade-offs.
To locate the most readily accessible Lightning cables, we combed through Google Shopping, Amazon, and other big retailers. Hundreds of manufacturers continue to sell Lightning cords despite overwhelming indications that their days are numbered. As a result, in order to focus our search, we excluded any cables produced by businesses with a scant internet presence. In our experience, smaller firms have a harder difficulty maintaining their product inventories and offering good customer care. Additionally, cables from reputable suppliers frequently just cost a few cents more.
We then focused our search using the following standards:
When a product is MFi-certified, it means Apple has determined that it complies with their standards and will work best with Lightning-powered devices in terms of charging and data-transfer capabilities.
Various lengths are available: For on-the-go charging, some people like a short, slender cable, while others want a longer wire that can extend from a wall charger to a distant couch or desk. Each cable had to be available in at least two different length variants.
One-year (or longer) warranty: A long warranty is essential for a product that you’ll probably use every day. We believe that you should have at least a year to decide whether a cable is a dud and whether it fulfils your needs. While it wasn’t a requirement, we encouraged that each candidate offer numerous colour configurations. Although we didn’t have a set budget, since most cables cost less than $10, alternatives that cost more than that had to have some distinguishing qualities—a lifetime warranty, a particularly robust sheath—to persuade us to consider testing them.
Q: What is the primary function of an iPhone cable?
A: The primary function of an iPhone cable, also known as a Lightning cable, is to connect Apple mobile devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and iPods, to computers, chargers, and other accessories for data transfer and charging purposes.
Q: When was the Lightning cable introduced, and what did it replace?
A: The Lightning cable was introduced by Apple in 2012. It replaced the older 30-pin connector that was used in previous generations of Apple devices.
Q: What are the advantages of the Lightning cable over the older 30-pin connector?
A: The Lightning cable offers several advantages over the older 30-pin connector. These include a smaller and more compact design, a reversible connector that can be inserted in any orientation, and improved durability.
Q: What does the Lightning cable connector look like?
A: The Lightning connector is a small, slim, and rectangular-shaped plug with eight pins. It is about 80% smaller than the 30-pin connector, which allows for more compact and thinner devices.
Q: Can Lightning cables be used to charge devices other than iPhones and iPads?
A: While Lightning cables are primarily designed for Apple devices, they can also be used to charge other compatible devices, such as some Bluetooth headphones, speakers, and other accessories.
Q: Are third-party Lightning cables safe to use with Apple devices?
A: Yes, many third-party manufacturers produce certified Lightning cables that are safe and compatible with Apple devices. However, it’s essential to choose reputable brands that offer MFi (Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) certified cables to ensure quality and avoid potential compatibility issues or damage to your devices.
Q: Can I use any USB charger with a Lightning cable to charge my iPhone?
A: Yes, you can use any USB charger with a Lightning cable to charge your iPhone. However, to ensure the best charging performance and safety, it’s recommended to use Apple’s official USB power adapter or a reputable third-party charger that provides sufficient power for your specific iPhone model.
Q: Can I use a Lightning cable to transfer data between my iPhone and computer?
A: Yes, you can use a Lightning cable to transfer data between your iPhone and computer. When you connect your iPhone to a computer with a Lightning cable, it will appear as a device in iTunes (on macOS Mojave and earlier) or Finder (on macOS Catalina and later). You can then sync data, such as music, videos, photos, and apps, between your iPhone and computer.
Q: How long are standard Lightning cables typically?
A: Standard Lightning cables provided by Apple are usually around 1 meter (3.3 feet) in length. However, third-party manufacturers may offer Lightning cables in various lengths, including shorter or longer options.
Q: Are Lightning cables compatible with all iPhone models?
A: Lightning cables are compatible with most modern iPhone models, including iPhone 5 and later, as well as various iPad and iPod models. However, the newest iPhone models may use USB-C instead of Lightning for charging and data transfer. Always check your specific iPhone model’s connector type to ensure compatibility.