Skip to main content

Don’t Blame Apple if Your Third Party Charger Explodes

7999746744_07677bc9f7[1]Tell me, have you been following ChargerGate?

There have been a spate of tech horror stories over the past few weeks about Apple products supposedly harming/maiming/killing iThing owners. Another such story crossed my desk again today, and it is as infuriating as the last.

It’s from the UK, and I found it on the iDownload blog:

A story out of the U.K. this morning could have been more tragic, and as it turned out, the events still left a father’s fingers burned. Eight-year old Chloe Gillooley owns an Apple iPad. Nothing unusual about that. After all, many children these days own a tablet and a smartphone. Last Saturday, Chloe was at her grandmother’s home in Widnes, Cheshire along with her 34 year old dad, Tim.

At some point in the afternoon, Chloe asked her dad to unplug her iPad for her. Tim, who was coming out of the bathroom, received what was described as a "massive electric shock" that sent him flying across the room and left him with blackened fingers. The scariest part of the whole ordeal for the dad came when he realized that the severity of the shock probably would have meant death for his daughter, had she been the one who was hit by the electricity.

Apple is investigating the claim and has requested that Gillooley send them the remains of the charger. The incident has left this U.K. family wary of touching their Apple products. "We were big fans of Apple but I won’t let my daughter near her iPhone if it’s a ticking time bomb," Gillooley said.

The thing is, it was the charger that exploded, not the iPad. And it wasn’t even Apple’s charger.

Yes, all this hoopla is focused on Apple when the fault was caused by a non-Apple product. And I can prove it.

Update: A couple readers have pointed out that the UK version of the iPad Mini does indeed ship with a charger that looks like the one that exploded. You can even see it in an unboxing video, so it looks like in this case I may have been wrong.  In my defense, let me point out that in the US the iPad Mini ships with the square charger shown at center. I’ve never seen an alternate charger.

Here’s the charger that exploded (left), and next to it are the official Apple chargers for the US and UK:

bad apple headlinesThe difference should be obvious, even to tech bloggers.

Do you know what bothers me the most about these stories? It’s the factually incorrect attention grabbing headlines.

None of the headlines at right are even close to being accurate.

In all of the stories mentioned at right the problem did not involve an Apple charger.  In fact, every Chargergate story I have found involved a 3rd party charger, not an Apple product. And yet Apple is always mentioned in the headline – just for the clickbait value.

I suppose most of my readers already knew the truth, but the latest story today got under my skin. It clearly involved a 3rd part charger and yet Apple gets the blame.

image by Freidwall

Similar Articles


fjtorres August 28, 2013 um 11:47 am

Wait a bit.
Apple will explain it all by blaming Amazon, somehow. 😉

Nate Hoffelder August 28, 2013 um 12:01 pm

And if Apple doesn’t blame Amazon I am sure the MobyLives blog will do it for them.

Common Sense August 28, 2013 um 1:21 pm

I’m not an iToy user but have never had a problem using 3rd party chargers for any of my Android or Kindle devices, in fact, we mix and match all the time, and we have a LOT of them in my home. So even though it’s a 3rd party charger exploding, that’s still an issue for Apple.

Nate Hoffelder August 28, 2013 um 1:26 pm

But is this really a sign that Apple has more issues or is this a case of selection bias? For all we know these stories could be getting attention simply because the Apple name is clickbait.

And besides, there have only been a handful of reports out of millions of devices in use. That’s not enough to show a statistical difference, IMO.

Andres August 28, 2013 um 10:20 pm

Or it could be a genuine issue. That’s why Apple is investigating.

If and only if it’s a genuine issue, my guess is that the company behind the third party charger tried to be more clever than they should which, under ideal circumstances, doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, it’s something normal for third party companies to make mistakes and the more visible company to get the blame (i.e. ).

KarlB August 28, 2013 um 6:34 pm

I recently stubbed my toe on a table leg while I was using my iPhone. Now I’m afraid to go near my phone — the thing’s a ticking time bomb!

Martin August 29, 2013 um 3:52 am

The iPad was an iPad mini and so the charger does look like the one in the Daily Mail story.

This can be seen in this UK unboxing video:

1min 38seconds in.

This doesn’t prove it was an Apple charger or a third-party one in the incident, but that the charger is the right shape for it to be the Apple one.

James August 29, 2013 um 5:36 am

just something to think about though… they have this charger

Nate Hoffelder August 29, 2013 um 6:34 am

Damn. I hate being wrong.

But thank you both for the correction.

Guz Bristow September 29, 2013 um 10:34 am


Just to add a comment.

We had an apple charger short-out and burn this week. It looks exactly like the damaged adaptor above and is definitely a genuine apple product, that either came with our ipad 3 or my iphone. We have two of those (one of which is the burnt mess) and two of the larger ones for our four “i” products.

To suggest that it is not a genuine apple product is disingenuous to say the least.

Nate Hoffelder September 29, 2013 um 4:24 pm

Yep.I got this one wrong, and that’s why I updated the post with a correction.

David Roper May 16, 2014 um 4:51 am

My ORIGINAL APPLE charger plug exploaded yeaterday and could well have caused a fire if I wasn’t nearby at the time. A friend of mine had exactly the same 2 days ago with an ORIGINAL APPLE PRODUCT

Kai June 22, 2014 um 8:12 am

I too have had an Apple charger of the same shape explode, stupid Apple trying to cram everything into the little charger, 240V to 5V in that little thing? Are you stupid or just useless Apple?

Write a Comment