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What does 'iPhone cable not supported' mean?

Buying a cheap third-party cable can have its pitfalls.
By
November 8, 2022
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max Charging Lightning Cable
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

If you start to charge your iPhone and end up with an ‘iPhone cable not supported’ error message, then it is easy enough to fix. Apple produces very good quality charging cables that will protect your iPhone from any electrical mishaps, and this is partly the reason why those cables cost so much money. Anyone who decides to cheap out and buy a less expensive cable is perhaps going to encounter issues. Today, we’ll show you what this error message means and how to resolve it.

Read more: How to charge your Apple iPhone 13

QUICK ANSWER

If you get an ‘iPhone cable not supported' message on your iPhone screen, then it means your cable is not being recognized by your device. This could be down to one of several possible reasons, including a dirty, defective, or damaged charger. The cable may also not be MFi-certified (Made for iPhone). The iPhone's charging port could also be too dirty and blocked, ensuring that the electrical charge is not going through properly.

What does ‘iPhone cable not supported’ mean?

iphone cable not supported error message

If you stick to using the Lightning to USB-C charging cable provided in the iPhone box and generally keep your iPhone in good condition, then you will likely not encounter an error message like the one above. But if you do, here are some steps you can take to hopefully eliminate the issue.

Make sure the charger is compatible and MFi-certified

MFi badge

As we said, if you stick to the default Lightning to USB-C cable, then you’ll be fine. But if you must use a third-party cable, make sure that it is MFi-certified (Made for iPhone).

On the Apple website store, they endorse some third-party options, such as Mophie, Native Union, and Belkin. Obviously, if Apple is selling them, you can trust those brands. However, if you are looking on Amazon, for example, look out for the official MFi brand logo.

MFi iPhone cables amazon

If it doesn’t have that certification, don’t buy it. You would be risking the battery of your very expensive phone. It isn’t worth it just to save a few bucks.

Check the connections (and clean them if necessary)

iPhone 11 Pro Max Headphone Port Charging Port

If your cable is brand new, compatible, and certified to work with your phone, then it’s time to check the connection between the cable and the device. Putting your phone into your pocket will eventually clog up your charging port with all kinds of crap from the pocket – lint, skin, pieces of tissue, and God knows what else. If the port is really blocked, then the charging cable is going to have a hell of a time charging the iPhone.

So give the charging port a good clean and see if that makes the iPhone cable error message go away. Once the charging port is clean, insert the charging cable again, and test to make sure it isn’t slipping out and that it is in firmly.

Update your device to the latest iOS version

ios new update

The next step is to see if there are any outstanding iOS system updates waiting to be installed. There may be a bug in the system which is preventing your phone from going through the charging process or recognizing the cable.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update and see if there’s anything. If so, install it immediately.

Restart your device

restart iphone

If you have just installed an update, then restarting your device will have been done immediately afterward. However, if there wasn’t an update, then restarting is the next step to try. There may just be a gremlin in the works which is stopping the phone from recognizing the charging cable. The only thing that would prevent you from restarting, though, would be if the battery was at 5% or less. If so, there’s a chance the battery could completely drain while the phone is in the process of booting up.

Assuming you have more than 5%, restart your iPhone and see if the cable now works.

Try a different charging cable

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max Charging Lightning Cable
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

To definitively determine whether it is the cable’s fault or the charging port’s fault, get a hold of another charging cable. A relative or friend may have one you can borrow or just buy another one – you can never have enough chargers.

If the new cable works, then it’s an issue with the first cable. If the new cable doesn’t work either, then it’s likely a phone hardware issue.

Contact Apple Support

Apple support

If you’ve got this far, then it’s, unfortunately, time to take your iPhone to the Apple Store to get looked at. Depending on if you have a warranty or AppleCare insurance, it may cost you to have the phone looked at.

But if you are unable to get the phone to recognize the charging cable, then what use is the device to you right now? Better to just bite the bullet and take it in for an examination by an expert.


Read more: How to safely clean your iPhone’s charging port

FAQs

You can theoretically make it go away by following the tips in this article. However, if the cable is not MFi-certified, it will likely result in the error message returning.

The reasons for it not charging could be one of many. Check out our tutorial to get a full list of troubleshooting tips.

It means Made for iPhone and signifies that the cable is approved to safely charge an iPhone. You should look out for this if you are considering a non-Apple cable and avoid any that don’t have the MFi qualification.

We’ve put together a buyer’s guide of the best iPhone chargers available. Check it out.

They’re safe to use, provided they are rated MFi (Made for iPhone). Many of the cheap knockoff cables will not have this rating, so they should be avoided.

Apple stopped supplying them with the introduction of the iPhone 12. They claimed it was to help the environment by not having lots of chargers end up in landfills.

Magsafe is a magnetized charging socket that ‘snaps’ into place in the charging socket. It was originally introduced with the MacBook, but Apple then brought out an iPhone version.

iPhone charging cables have more components built in to ensure efficiency and safety. This naturally raises the price. But a more cynical person may say that they are expensive because people are more than willing to pay the price asked.

The phone should never drop below 20% or rise above 80%. You are helped in this regard by the iPhone’s Optimized Battery Charging feature. However, once a month, you should charge it straight to 100%. If the battery is draining too fast, try one of these troubleshooting tips. If you want to make it charge faster, we have tips for that too.