Apple CarPlay brought to an end a lot of cable kit woes for many people. The technology requires a single lightning cable connected to a compatible head unit to work. The same goes for Pioneer's latest AppRadio One technology. But choosing a reliable cable is important.
I had a cheap USB lightning cable connected to my Pioneer AppRadio 4 all this while. And it worked great, without issues. But just two months after using the $2.99 cable I purchased from eBay, it stopped working.
The common, "This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone" message popped up a few days ago which meant my iPhone 6 wouldn't even charge, let alone connect to the head unit. The worst part was I had less than 20% battery charge left on my iPhone, which meant, had it not been for the extra USB charger I keep in my car, I would've run out of charge in a couple of hours or less.
The other good thing was that I have a USB extension cable running from the back of the AppRadio 4 into the console inside my armrest where the now faulty lightning cable is connected. So connecting a new lightning cable would not require pulling out the head unit from the dashboard. Having that USB extension connected also serves well when it's time to install firmware updates on your head unit.
So, I needed a new lightning cable! I could go out and purchase one that Pioneer sells and recommends for use with their head units (CD-IU52). But I was curious to see what other options I had. One thing though, I wasn't going to buy another cheap, uncertified, knockoff anymore. Those cheap cables have failed once too often.
Reliable lightning cables aren't that difficult to find. I've been using a few of these inside my house for a long time now and haven't had issues yet. With technology, failures do happen, but less often with good products. Nevertheless, here's my roundup of reliable lightning cables you can choose from based on personal use and user feedback on popular sites like Amazon (in no particular order)...
1. Original OEM Apple USB Lightning Cable (Buy from Amazon starting at $17.49)
Granted these cables are pricey compared to others but buying authentic cables is always a safe bet. In fact, Apple has been known to replace cables in case of failure, burnout or corrosion. These cables come in 3- or 6-feet lengths. The only downside is they come in white and may stand out too much when used in a dark colored car dashboard.
2. Pioneer CD-IU52 USB to Lightning Interface Cable (Buy from Amazon starting at $28.89)
Another pricey but relatively safe option is the Pioneer CD-IU52 cable. These cables are sturdily made with a thick circumference. The downside of this cable could be the larger lightning end which may not fit certain iPhone cases and the thickness of the cable may not make it ideal for running through certain tight spots in your car's dashboard. Comes only in one color (black) and length (15-inches).
3. Syncwire 3.3ft Lightning Cable - Lifetime Guarantee Series (Buy from Amazon starting at $9.99)
A low priced, reliable, MFi-certified cable. Syncwire offers lifetime warranty on this cable where they'll replace a faulty cable unconditionally. The product comes with warranty instructions on how to avail of a replacement if needed. I like that! The lightning end is similar to the original Apple cable in size, which means it will fit most iPhone cases. Available in one color (white) and length (3.3-feet).
4. Anker Lightning to USB Cable (Buy from Amazon starting at $8.99)
I've been using these Anker cables at home for quite long now, and all of them still work. They are sturdy-looking cables, competitively priced and come in nice packaging. Cables are MFi-certified and available in many colors, builds, and lengths. For example, a 6-feet white cable costs only $12.99. User feedback on Amazon is impressive too. An 18-month replacement warranty is included with your purchase.
5. AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable (Buy from Amazon starting at $8.99)
Another lower priced alternative which is Apple certified. The AmazonBasics cable has been around for a long time with the product receiving good reviews over 15,000 transactions. The cable is thick with a bulky lightning end which means it may not fit many iPhone cases. Available in 3- and 6-feet lengths and in white or black color. Backed by an AmazonBasics 1-year limited warranty.
Whichever cable you choose, remember that these cables are not 100% fail proof. But the advantage here is most products come with a warranty, which means you could get a replacement or repair if needed.
Also, don't forget you can use a reliable lightning extension cable in if you need more length on your existing cable by purchasing the CableJive dockXtender Lightning cable. The cable comes in 2- and 6-feet lengths. Read my review of this product.
What cable do you use in your car, home or in the office? Let us know in the comments below.
Top image source: Syncwire via Amazon
Images' source: Amazon