It's no secret that the Apple lightning cable is one of the worst chargers ever made, but before you scream at an innocent Genius Bar staffer, The Wire has some suggestions to avoid spending $20 on a new cord every month.
First of all, the lightning-to-USB cable that Apple makes is laughably bad. Out of 1,285 reviews on the Apple website, it has a rating of just over one star and that is only because zero stars isn't an option. The help forum on the Apple website has almost 200,000 discussions dedicated to how awful the cord is. The main complaint is that the cord just stops working unexpectedly; its lifespan is about four-to-twelve weeks. If you're extremely lucky, you'll reach the epic six-month mark, but at that point, you've probably lost the cord anyways.
Instead of playing the delicate game of arranging your iPhone just so between a book and wall so that the charger stays connected for more than a minute, The Wire can offer some help:
Buy all of the cords.
The easiest solution is to buy the cords in bulk from Apple. In moments of weakness, I have purchased up to five at once to avoid going back into the store for at least five months.
Cost: $19 each and a piece of your soul for your Apple overlords.
Buy a knockoff cord.
Amazon and eBay offer chargers for as little as a dollar, with decently reviewed cords closer to $5 a piece. While the cord is cheap, it's not going to last you any longer than a regular lightning cable.
Your iPhone is also going to be disappointed in you. The iOS7 software update enabled a notification that reads "This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone." Your iPhone thinks you're cheap, and its judging you.
If a sassy iPhone isn't enough to discourage you from knockoff cords, they could also be trying to kill you. One iPhone owner ended up in the hospital for a week when his $10 knockoff charger exploded in the wall outlet, leaving the owner with an electrical burn that later got infected.
Cost: Less than $5, a really sassy notifications, and potential hospitalization.
Buy a cord at Radio Shack.
Remember Radio Shack? They still exist and they have the best product protection plan ever. When purchasing the cord, just ask for the additional product protection. This particular plan is only sold in stores, not online. Not all stores or employees suggest it, so we found its easier to ask for it yourself. For an extra $1.99, Radio Shack will replace your existing cord when it breaks. When you come in for a replacement, you can purchase the insurance again for $1.99. They don't have a limit on how many times you can repurchase the protection plan.
Cost: $20.99 for two cords, $22.98 for three cords, $24.97 for four cords, $26.93 for five cords.
Head to the Genius Bar
Before you do this, check to make sure your iPhone is still under warranty. If it is, your chargers are considered under warranty as well. You might also want to do some yoga and schedule a therapy appointment for after, because this could get stressful.
Be sure to make an appointment ahead of time, specifying that you are having an issue with the cord. Arrive fifteen minutes early and check in. If you don't check in, the Genius Bar staff will skip right over you, and some stores don't bother calling your name to find out if you are there, but haven't checked in. Hope for a kind Genius Bar member, and drop all your cords in front of them.
Apple employees are fully aware of how terrible the lightning cord is; they have to use them after all, so most of them are happy to help switch out for a new cord for you. Don't be too greedy, though. Bring in only one or two dead cords at a time, otherwise they might think you've been chewing through them yourself.
Cost: Free, but could potentially cause a nervous breakdown.
If you want to boycott the lightning cord completely, you can always invest in one of the ugly, but reliable Lightning-to-30 Pin adapters. It's only $29, and 30-pin cords, though bulkier, last much longer than their tiny replacements.
This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/05/your-guide-to-replacing-the-infuriating-apple-lightning-cord/361503/