The other day I had a problem where one of my test iPhones didn’t seem to charging up properly.
Uh-oh. Did it know that Apple was getting ready to release new iPhones and decide to go into retirement? Well, over at the PC Doc HQ devices don’t get to retire that easily. After some troubleshooting I came across a weird issue that I’ve not encountered previously.
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My first clue to the problem was that wriggling the cable in the Lightning port seemed to make the iPhone recognize that it was on charge. I started thinking that maybe the port itself was defective. After all, I was using a genuine Apple Lightning cable (genuine as in it came with an iPhone, not “genuine” in the eBay cable seller sense), and I am more bull than ballerina when it comes to how I take care of things, and that port has seen a lot of action in its time.
A busted Lightning port wouldn’t be the end of the world. It’s repairable, needing only a part worth about $40, an hour of time, and requires disassembling the iPhone down to its component atoms (and then reassembling them, in the right order).
As a final part of the diagnosis I tried charging the iPhone with a different cable — and it worked.
Hmmmm. Time to take a closer look at that cable. My initial suspicion was that either the cable itself was damage, but there was no sign of damage. Then I noticed something off about the connector itself.
Take a look:
The contact pads on both sides of the connector had signs of corrosion on them. It wouldn’t rub off. A splash of DeoxIT D5 — my secret weapon when it comes to removing corrosion on circuit boards and components, especially things that have been exposed to the elements — and a quick rub with a Q-Tip didn’t work.
It’s dead, Jim.
I’ve never seen this happen before, not with scabby third-party non-MFi Lightning cables, and definitely not with genuine Apple cables (and yes, the cable in question here is guaranteed a genuine Apple cable). I checked some of the other cables I have in use, and none seemed to have any signs of corrosion.
So, check your cables, people. Especially the Lightning connector.