Apple MFi Certified: The Definitive Guide
If you’ve never understood what the MFi certified label on Apple chargers and accessories means, this article has got you covered.
For starters, many companies manufacture Apple accessories, including Lightning cables, video game controllers, and more. However, some of these accessories aren’t MFi certified.
Indeed, MFi certification is crucial but complicated. We’ll explain everything you need to know about MFi certification. But, first, let’s cover the basics.
What Does Apple MFi Certified Mean?
MFi is an acronym for Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad. It is a program that every producer of accessories for these devices has to undergo before Apple can approve their accessories.
MFi certification is only given for accessories verified by Apple as safe for their products.
MFi Certification Brief History
The MFi program started in 2005 at the Macworld Expo as “Made for iPod.” It was introduced as a certification for headphones cables with control units.
In 2007 it became “Made for iPhone,” following the launch of the Apple iPhone.
In 2010, the program was officially named MFi Certified as the iPad became the newest addition to Apple’s product line.
Types of Accessories That Can be MFi Certified
The MFi certified list includes third-party hardware accessories that rely on MFi’s licensed technology to connect electronically to Apple devices. These include:
- Lightning connectors
- Magnetic charging modules
- Audio modules
- Apple watch chargers
Inversely, accessories that don’t rely on MFi licensed technologies to connect electronically to Apple devices don’t have to be MFi certified. These include:
- Phone cases
- Accessories that use only Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- USB wall chargers
USB wall chargers can work with lightning cables even though they are not MFi certified. Wall charging bricks by themselves are not certified because they are not made specifically for Apple products.
Refer to the MFi certified list to find out what’s covered and not covered by the MFi program.
Why is MFi Certification Important?
Uncertified Apple accessories may seem cheaper in the short term, but can cause a lot of problems. That said, here’s why you should buy an MFi Certified accessory.
MFi gives the assurance that you’re buying a product that has been approved by Apple specifically for their products. Furthermore, certified accessories continue to work with your device without problems even after an iOS update.
What’s more, buying a non-MFi Apple accessory is always a gamble since you aren’t sure if the item will work with your device or not.
An uncertified Apple accessory can damage your device. A non-MFi cable, for instance, can scratch the copper connectors in your phone’s charging port or, worse still, cause serious damage to your battery. Moreover, the cable can overheat or break at the connector.
Also, these components come with an MFi approved power chip for reliable charging. That way, your device remains safe from risks such as overvoltage, overheating, or overcharging.
If you want to learn more about protecting your device’s battery, you can click here.
Sure, MFi certified accessories are relatively more expensive than their uncertified counterparts – and that’s for a couple of good reasons.
First, the manufacturers must pay for a license to produce these accessories. Two, certified items typically use premium materials.
As a result, MFi certified Apple accessories offer a higher level of predictable quality and, by extension, extended durability.
How to Check if Your Accessory is Apple MFi-Certified
Checking your charger or accessory’s certification status is pretty straightforward. Here’s how:
- Check for the “Made for iPhone” or “Made for iPad” label on the product’s packaging.
- Look up the item on Amazon or Google.
- Refer to the company’s counterfeit guide to help you identify non-MFi Lightning connectors and accessories.
- Connect the charger of the accessory to your iOS device. Non-MFi accessories will display a “This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone ” error on your iPhone or iPad’s screen.
The accessory will then stop working or function intermittently before crashing after a short while.
It is important to mention that you might experience the “may not work reliably” error with an accessory that has been working perfectly before. For Apple-branded components, this is an error that can occur if there has been internal damage.
Where to Buy Lightning MFi-Certified Cables
You can avoid buying non-MFi products by finding a genuine dealer on the Apple MFi certified list. As a rule of thumb, keep off places like dollar stores or gas stations because you’re likely to end up with a counterfeit, non-MFi charger or accessory.
The Future of MFi
Apple’s new line of iPads and MacBooks feature USB-C ports, replacing the old Lightning ports. And, in line with keeping up with the USB-C buzz, the new iPhone will most likely use a USB-C port.
At the moment, there are no MFi certified USB cables on the market, apart from the USB-C to Lightning cable, of course. Furthermore, Apple’s official website doesn’t say anything about certified or licensed USB-C cables.
The question then becomes – what happens to the MFi certification program?
Well, there’s a probability that the MFi program will cease to exist as the popularity of USB-C continues to rise. Better yet, the program may shift its focus to wireless charging and MagSafe for Apple’s new lineups. Still, it remains to be seen if Apple will take that direction.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are UGREEN products MFi certified?
Yes, UGREEN products from USB-C to Lightning cables, power banks to Apple Watch chargers, are all MFi certified. Essentially, this means that they’re safe to use on your Apple devices, such as your iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.
Is wireless charger covered under the MFi program?
No, wireless chargers are not part of the accessories covered by the MFi certification program. By extension, this implies that you can buy an Apple wireless charger without necessarily checking its MFi certification status. Still, it would be best to get your wireless charger from a manufacturer in the MFi certified list above. On the other hand, an Apple Watch charger, albeit wireless, needs to be MFi certified.
What’s an MFi controller?
MFi controllers, as the name suggests, are game controllers for use by Apple devices under the MFi certification program. More specifically, these controllers can work with all Apple devices from iPad to iPhone and Apple TV, irrespective of the device’s software version.