Apple: MFi program for the certification of iPhone, iPad and iPod accessories

The abbreviation MFi from Apple stands for "Made for iPhone / iPad / iPod" and refers to accessories that can be used with the mobile devices from Cupertino; like Lightning cables. If a cable or gadget is made for an iPhone, iPad or iPod and is not MFi-certified, the device can be damaged, according to Apple. That is why MFi certification is very important for developers of devices as well as HomeKit gadgets and systems.

The Apple MFi certification for Lightning cables and accessories for iPhone, iPad and iPod Image source:
Image source:

Made for: Apple says that not every accessory fits every device

There are a lot of accessories and gadgets that can be connected to the iPhone, iPad and iPod, including several cables that are simply intended to replace the ones included in the scope of delivery. According to Apple but not all accessories on the market are really compatible with every model of iPhone, iPad or iPod, which is why the MFi program was introduced. In addition, only products with MFi certification should offer security for Apple devices.

Brief history of MFi certification

Here I would like to briefly show you the milestones of the MFi program so that you can see how it has developed. I am abstaining from one opinion here - quality and market restrictions should be contrasted with each other when forming your own opinion.

  • Macworld Expo 2005: "Made for iPod" was introduced as a certification / seal, e.g. for headphone cables with control units (volume up and down buttons, etc.)
  • Apple Accessory Protocol (AAP): With new control options through appropriate accessories, the MFi or Made for iPod seal became even more important for Apple
  • Apple iPhone in 2007: With the Apple iPhone, a new product line and thus a new definition for MFi came onto the market, namely "Made for iPhone"
  • Apple iPad in 2010: The Apple iPad has also been around since 2010 - since then MFi has stood for Made for iPod / iPhone / iPad; in addition, instead of the long names, almost only “MFi” is used
  • Lightning connection 2012: With Lightning, which is used in all three named gadgets of the corresponding generations, the abbreviation MFi was officially established as certification in 2012; In addition, the program itself was expanded, since Lightning brought new protocols with it
  • WWDC 2013: With the introduction of iOS 7 for mobile Apple products, the manufacturer again introduced new extensions to the Apple MFi program, which now also have the seal for controllers, i.e. control units for Games, made possible
  • Until 2016 and 2017: With more and more new Apple technologies and programs such as the HomeKit or the HealthKit, there will always be New Products for this included in the certification program
  • Outlook: The Mac and other Apple computers are becoming less and less important and are giving way to the iPhone, the iPhone Plus models, the iPad and so on; this means that the certification of accessories for these products is also up-to-date

Apple reports: Dangers of counterfeit Lightning accessories

As Apple shows in its official support area, some problems and dangers can arise if you do not use the original Apple-certified accessory systems, cables and the like for your iPhone. According to Apple, the problems include (the list is quoted):

  • Your iOS device could be damaged
  • The cable can be prone to damage
  • The connector end may fall off, get very hot, or no longer connect properly to your device
  • You cannot sync or charge your device

This is how you recognize original or fake MFi Lightning cables

According to the support page, Lightning to USB cables for the iPhone and other devices are not only about 18 cm long, but also have the words "Designed by Apple in California" followed by a reference to the country of manufacture and a 12- digit serial number. In addition, the MFi logo can be seen on the packaging, which distinguishes the cable (or gadget) as Made for iPhone.

Detect original and fake Lightning cables for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod, that's how it works!
Detect original and fake Lightning cables for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod, that's how it works!
Image source:

You should also pay attention to the appearance / workmanship of the Lightning connector. If you want to learn more about it, I recommend the Support page HT204566 from Apple. There you will not only find important information in writing, but also a number of images. If I were to take screenshots of each of them, I would have copied the whole page at some point;) So just click on it.

More articles on Mac, iPhone and the like

At you will find a lot of information about the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod as well as other Apple devices and important topics related to the group Cupertino. At the moment and until February 15, 2017, this is still coming in Competition, where you can win accessories for the iPhone. Take a look and look for iPhone accessories or a power bank with 10.000 mAh :) You will also find news about Apple, reports and in this blog Tests on accessories like headphones and cases / covers as well as posts too Nerd stuff and everything else that has to do with technology.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.