What Does Apple MFi-Certified Mean?

An iPhone charging on a Lightning cable certified MFi.Charnstir / Shutterstock

If you've already purchased a new Lightning cable or game console, you've probably noticed that many are MFi certified. You may have also found that certified products cost a little more. Here is what MFi certification means and why you want it.

MFi certification is the "Apple tax"

Of course, many iPhone, iPad and Mac accessories are expensive. Whatever the reason, you should not buy ultra-cheap and uncertified cables or accessories for your Apple devices, because in the end they could cost you more than expensive alternatives.

Why? Well, because they are not MFi certified, of course!

MFi (Made for iPod) certification began in 2005 to ensure that iPods (with their bulky, 30-pin connectors) would work with all accessories and chargers. Remember, there was a time when everything from alarm clocks to cars had built-in 30-pin connectors. To obtain MFi certification and promote products intended for the iPod, manufacturers had to run them with the help of Apple compliance testing. These tests verified the safety (overheating), durability, compatibility of the accessories and the controls of the headphone jack. Manufacturers also had to pay royalties to Apple, in case you were wondering.

The MFi certification process is virtually the same today. Manufacturers use their iPad and iPhone accessories (Lightning cables, joysticks, Bluetooth controllers, etc.) for compliance and security testing, pay royalties to Apple, and get the "Made for iPhone" badge on the iPhone. packaging of their products. In the end, people get reliable products, manufacturers can bypass the MFi licenses and Apple gets a little more money. Each Lightning connector on a MFI-certified cable or other device has an authentication chip, so you know it's an MFi-certified accessory.

Why are uncertified Apple accessories so bad?

Let's leave something behind: not all uncertified Apple accessories are necessarily bad. If you have a non-certified gamepad or headset that works like a dream, it's great! But, as a rule, uncertified Apple accessories, such as charging cables, are waste.

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

Two Lightning cables. One is clearly made with better materials than the other. The coarse appearance is not MFi certified.The Lightning cable on the left is MFi certified. The right cable is not. Apple

When Lightning cables do not meet these criteria, they may conduct electricity incorrectly or accumulate heat. They can move in the port of loading of an iPhone or an iPad. If you are lucky, they will break or overheat before your Apple device.

As with other accessories, like joysticks and wireless headphones, the name of the game is simply compatibility. You must expect these accessories to work properly in all situations. If there is a track jump button, it should work properly. If you switch from an iPhone 8 to an iPhone 10, your accessory should still work.

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

Do not worry some Apple Accessories you do not need to be MFi certified. Case, analog controllersand pens that do not connect to your Apple device (or any Lightning cable) do not require MFi certification.

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

How to check if a charger or accessory is MFi certified

Checking a charger or accessory for MFi certification is a relatively easy process. If the product packaging is labeled "Made for iPhone" or "Made for iPad", you can usually trust the MFi certification. If you discard the packaging, you can search the product on Google or Amazon.

Robbery! You can "generally" be certain that a product bearing an Apple badge is MFi certified? Is not this a problem? Yes, my friend, it's a serious problem.

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Apple's intensive and selective certification process is excellent for ensuring quality and reliability, but it also encourages companies to produce counterfeit MFi products. That's why Apple provides a handy tool MFi search engine and counterfeit guide on its website. If you're not sure about the authenticity of a product, check it out on the search engine or compare it to Apple's Counterfeit Guide (summary of the guide: products that look like shit and are not not MFi certified).

Of course, you can simply plug this charger or accessory into your Apple device and see what happens. When uncertified devices are plugged into an iPhone or iPad, a message appears stating that uncertified devices "may not work properly" with your device. This notification is sometimes an errorSo do not worry if your Apple brand charging cable, which is working normally, displays the notification from nowhere.

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

As you may know, Apple's new iPad and MacBook family has USB-C ports instead of Lightning ports. It is also likely that the next iPhone has a USB-C port. What will happen to the MFi program?

Well, for the moment, there are no MFi-certified USB cables (apart from USB-C cables at Lightning). Aditionellement, Apple's website makes no mention of certified or licensed USB-C cables.

This may not mean much in itself, but USB-C is becoming the ideal tool for wired headsets and an alternative to HDMI (along with other wired accessories). MFi may gradually disappear as USB-C becomes more ubiquitous or the program focuses on wireless accessories and peripherals for iPhone and iPad. It's hard to say. All we know now is that MFi certification is a guarantee of quality.

Although Apple's actions are controlling, take a look at the situation with "non-compliant" USB-C cables understand the usefulness of the MFi program.

RELATED: Caution: How to buy a Type C USB cable that will not damage your devices

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