Third Party Chargers Reportedly Damaging iPhone Power Management Components
An iOS device repair company in the UK by the name of mendmyi (not affiliated with ModMyi) is reporting that third-party charging accessories are causing damage to a critical power management component in Apple’s iPhone 5, rendering the handset inoperable. After seeing a slew of iPhone 5 handsets come in with battery charging issues, the repair firm was able to isolate the problem to unofficial USB adapters and USB-to-Lightning cables.
The theory is third-party charging accessories do not properly regulate electrical current flowing into the handset, which either burns out or renders inoperable a power distribution IC labeled “U2.” Located just beneath Apple’s A6 SoC on the iPhone’s logic board, the IC routes power to the battery and integrating charging controller, the sleep/wake button and controls certain USB functions.
Users that are affected by the issue may see iPhone battery levels remain at 1% while charging, unexpected shutdowns and partial or complete failure to power up when connected to a power source. It’s unclear if the problem is limited to the iPhone 5 but in theory, cheap third-party products like USB adapters could potentially damage the sensitive circuitry of any iPhone model as they may not be built to acceptable tolerances and therefore are unable to properly regulate voltage and current. As evidenced by Apple’s recent recall of European market 5-watt power adapters, even the world’s largest tech company runs into problems with manufacturing power regulating accessories.
Previously, Apple issued a warning to Chinese iPhone users last July asking that they use only official power adapters like those supplied with the device. The notice was issued after two people were electrocuted by iPhones connected to “counterfeit” adapters. According to the repair firm, damaged U2 ICs can be replaced and the company charges 66 pounds or roughly $112 for the service.