Like it or hate it, one thing we can all agree on is that Apple's in-package lightning cables are horrible. They are weak and usually become frayed and unusable within months.
First stay away from the cheap Chinese knockoff cables. Every MFI (Made For Iphone) certified cable comes with a special (in cable) authentication chip. Chipworks has a good write up about this secret chip. This is why many of the cheaper lightning accessories and cables you buy on Amazon, eBay and AliExpress, turn out to be useless junk.
Over the years, I have found that certain higher quality cables (micro USB style) are able to transfer data more reliably or support faster charging. Not so with lightning. It turns out that all MFI certified cables I have tested have been about the same as it relates to data transfer speed and charging speed.
So the real deciding factor is the durability of the cable. So over the last several months, I have been real world testing dozens of lightning cables from name brand companies. I wanted to see how they would hold up to the rigours of rough use:
- threw them in my work bag
- used them to charge via battery while in the pocket of my winter jacket
- user them to charge while in the car
- swung them with the phone attached
- crunched them and tightly packed them in jeans pockets
You get the idea.
The one cable that came out on top was the Anker PowerLine lightning cable. It is competitively prices, MFI certified, it can charge all IOS devices at full speed (except the ipad pro) and it super durable.
The tips are encased in a solid plastic housing and a nice rubbering joint between the cable and the connectors.
Anker claims the cable is reinforces with kevlar fibers which is impossible to prove but the cables do feel solid and very sturdy (compared particularly to the Apple, Monoprice and Amazon basics ones). Now before anyone emails me, there are other more durable cables but these typically cost so much, they are not even being considered by the average consumer. Remember that this is a review for a consumer and not one for a product used in an industrial setting where $50-75 is considered acceptable.
The Anker Powerline lightning cables fit comfortable through the opening of various cases including the original Apple ones, LifeProof, Rhinoshield and any other one I threw at it. This is an important consideration and a major win for Anker.
As a sanity check, I read reviews on major online retail sites and comments were overwhelmingly positive.
You can find these lightning cables almost everywhere so grab a couple. You'll be glad you did.