Published On: Thu, Dec 7th, 2017

Use an iPhone? Check your charger NOW as these ‘fakes’ pose fire and electric shock risk

iPhone and iPad users should check their chargers and make sure they only use official power adapters from

That’s the news from a new report published by Electrical Safety First which shows the shocking statistic that the majority of counterfeit or lookalike chargers available in the UK have the potential to deliver lethal electric shocks and catch fire.

This is especially worrying as many people use these cheap chargers to power their phones overnight making the risk even more real.

In the largest study of its kind in the UK; Electrical Safety First, with the support of Apple, conducted a series of safety tests on counterfeit and lookalike iPhone chargers, including 50 purchased in the UK. 

The terrifying findings reveal that almost all (98 per cent) of the chargers tested had the potential to deliver lethal electric shock or cause a fire.

Electrical Safety First says the chargers were sourced from a variety of online marketplaces and independent discount stores and stalls across the UK. 

Of those tested, all but one failed on one or more of the tests and more than one in three chargers failed every part of the safety screening. 

After subjecting the chargers to a number of mechanical and safety tests:

• Almost half (23) failed an electric strength test; meaning that there is a severe risk of electric shock when using these chargers.

• Internal examination showed almost half failed basic safety requirements; these chargers contained sub-standard internal components or inadequate spacing, also presenting a serious risk of electrocution or fire for consumers. 

• Overall, two in three (68 per cent) of the chargers tested carried a severe risk of electric shock due to lack of insulation and poor quality internal components.

• 15 chargers that passed the electrical tests failed the plug pin strength test. If a pin is not sufficiently strong, there is danger that it could break off inside a mains socket, resulting in a risk of electric shock from an exposed live pin. 

These results show that in the overwhelming majority of cases, counterfeit or lookalike chargers could overheat, catch fire and deliver a potentially lethal electric shock to any one at any point during their use. The findings match those of similar studies. 

HOW TO CHECK YOUR iPHONE CHARGER IS REAL

A common thread between the 50 chargers was that they all had incorrect or fraudulent safety markings.

In a few cases, attempts to copy markings from genuine iPhone chargers resulted in errors, such as simple spelling mistakes.

Although this does not pose a direct risk of injury to the user, in Electrical Safety First’s experience this is indicative of other failings that may compromise safety. 

Apple always urges users to only buy offical chargers as these are put through rigourous test to make sure they comply with the highest standards.

You can find advice on Apple’s offical chargers here.

Speaking about the research Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First said: “It is extremely concerning that 49 out of 50 UK chargers we tested failed basic safety checks. 

“This report shows that anyone purchasing an iPhone charger from an online marketplace or at an independent discount store is taking a serious risk with their safety. 

“The majority of chargers we tested had the potential to deliver a lethal electrical shock or cause a fire. 

“We’re urging people to take care when buying a charger and recommend buying directly from trusted retailers only. 

“When you buy a fake, at best you could damage your phone but at worst you could be putting your life, your family and your home at risk.”

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