Most people who’ve owned an iPhone have experienced durability issues with its charging cable. Like splitting or fraying. Which can lead to the cable not working reliably. Why iPhone Cables Break So Easily. But this problem isn’t limited to the iPhone. It’s actually plagued several Apple products, from iPods to MacBooks.
So why do Apple cables break so easily?
So the power cables included with Apple products haven’t always been so fragile. In fact, it wasn’t until 2006 that we saw widespread reports of cables breaking down after just months of use. And there were two reasons for this: First, was Apple’s penchant for form over function. The design team at Apple has the final say over product decisions. And they just so happened to think the ribbed strain reliefs on previous cables were ugly. So they want to replace them with a thinner seamless plastic sleeve that gave the cable a sleeker look. Apple’s engineering team knew the cable would suffer from higher failure rates, but the change was implemented regardless. The iPod, MacBook, and eventually iPhone all featured power cables without the usual ribbed strain relief. And customer complaints about breaking and fraying immediately increased in 2007 and continued to this day.
But there was likely a second contributing factor in 2007 that weakened Apple’s power cables even further. Which resulted from an environmental effort started by Steve Jobs called “A Greener Apple.” Where they began removing harmful or toxic materials from their products. Among those, was PVC.
A plastic vinyl material commonly used in power cables to make them more rigid and durable. When PVC was removed from Apple’s products, it was also removed from their cables. Which were transitioned to thin rubberized sleeves that were much easier to bend and therefore much easier to break. When you combine the sleeker but weaker strain relief design with the thinner and softer rubber sleeve, it resulted in the most fragile cable design the tech industry had ever seen. And this was a big problem for users, since Apple’s accessories often carried a premium price over competitors.
So replacing cables became an expensive and inconvenient part of owning Apple products. Now, this issue continues to exist today. But there are signs that Apple may be trying to solve it. They’ve already released more durable woven fabric cables for products like the HomePod and iMac. And for the first time, they created a lightning cable made from the same fabric material. Although it’s only available when you purchase an iMac, Apple could begin selling it separately. Like they did with the space gray iMac Pro accessories.
Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple included fabric cables with this year’s new iPhone since they’re not only more durable, but also more environmentally friendly.