Replacing the USB to Dock Charging Cable For iPhone/iPad

Nothing is more maddening than wanting to charge your iPhone or iPad and misplacing the dock charing cable, or even worse, having it not work well because the cable is starting to fray. While it seems easy to replace, as USB to dock cords are readily available both in stores and online, not every cord will work well on an iPhone and iPad. And while you may have that cord laying around from your iPod, it may or may not work with your iPhone or iPad.

1.0 vs. 2.0

While all of the USB to dock charging cords that come with iPods look the same as what you have for your iPhone or iPad, and look like they would work to charge an iPhone or iPad, looks can be deceiving. The iPhone and iPad work off of USB 2.0, but some of the earlier iPods worked off USB 1.0.  Whether or not the cord works depends on if it’s 1.0 or 2.0. You won’t harm your device by using the wrong cord, but it won’t necessarily work. It needs that higher transfer rate of the 2.0.

Shopping for a New Cord

If you replace your USB cord through Apple, you don’t need to worry whether it’s compatible or not, as they only offer the USB 2.0 to dock connector cord. At a price of $19, however, it does seem a little steep just for a cord. That’s what makes it tempting to shop elsewhere.

You can find the Apple USB 2.0 to dock connector cord at other stores and online, but you don’t have to stick with Apple. Other brands work just as well; you only need to make sure it’s USB 2.0. If it doesn’t specify which it is, it most likely isn’t 2.0 and should be avoided.

If you search for “USB to dock connector iPad” on, it will turn up over two hundred results. “USB to dock connector iPhone” turns up over two hundred results as well. Not all of them are the actual cable you’re looking for, however. Apple cords can be found as cheaply as $.01, yet it also has a $4.95 shipping charge. Still, it’s cheaper than the $19 plus shipping over at Apple.


Additionally, you can find cords with different options on them that might fit your needs. One of the annoyances with the standard cord is that it’s very short. Whether you charge it through your computer or through a power adapter in the wall, you’re anchored within a few feet. They have six foot long cords available which would allow you more freedom to move around while charging. There are also retractable cords so that you don’t have to have that extra cord length when it’s not needed.


Since the cords can be found for the insanely cheap price of $.01, despite the high shipping cost, it would be a smart choice to buy a few of them. This way when a cord frays or becomes lost, you’ll have a backup waiting and will still be paying less than you would to purchase a replacement from Apple.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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