Apple has kicked off a power adapter exchange program, aiming to settle safety concerns about counterfeit or poorly-made third-party adapters by offering to switch them out for a $10 fee. The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program will run between August 16 and October 18, and allow anybody with "concerns" about the safety of an adapter they're using to exchange it for an official one in an Apple Store. The program follows recent claims that an iPhone user was killed after trying to use her handset while it was recharging.
"Customer safety is a top priority at Apple" the company said today of the new scheme. "That's why all of our products - including USB power adapters for iPhone, iPad, and iPod - undergo rigorous testing for safety and reliability and are designed to meet government safety standards around the world."
The program will involve taking the suspect power adapter into the nearest Apple Store, and handing over $10 (or the local equivalent) for a subsidized official replacement. Usually, the 5W Apple power adapter for the iPhone would cost $19, as would the larger, 12W version for the iPad.
Apple will record each iOS device's serial number - those taking advantage of the takeback scheme will have to bring their iPhone, iPod, or iPad in with them - so that only one exchange per device can take place. It also warns that it won't be able to give safety advice on the reliability of individual third-party adapters, blaming the "complexity" of adequate testing.
Cheap and defective power supplies have been blamed for several incidents with charging devices, not just affecting Apple products. Back in March, official testing agency UL warned shoppers that certain counterfeit Apple chargers had been marked - though not tested - with its logo, cautioning users to check the label to ensure they were actually using a real accessory from the Cupertino firm.
Apple also offers its own guidance on telling the difference between an authentic supply and a fake.
Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. While not all third party adapters have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adapters.
Customer safety is a top priority at Apple. That’s why all of our products — including USB power adapters for iPhone, iPad, and iPod — undergo rigorous testing for safety and reliability and are designed to meet government safety standards around the world.
Starting August 16, 2013, if you have concerns about any of your USB power adapters, you can drop them off at an Apple Retail Store or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. We will ensure that these adapters are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
If you need a replacement adapter to charge your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, we recommend getting an Apple USB power adapter. For a limited time, you can purchase one Apple USB power adapter at a special price — $10 USD or approximate equivalent in local currency. To qualify, you must turn in at least one USB power adapter and bring your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to an Apple Retail Store or participating Apple Authorized Service Provider for serial number validation. The special pricing on Apple USB power adapters is limited to one adapter for each iPhone, iPad, and iPod you own and is valid until October 18, 2013.
Note: Due to the complexity of testing required to detect an unsafe or counterfeit adapter, Apple Retail and Apple Authorized Service Providers cannot advise you on the authenticity or safety of your adapter. We are offering this special takeback program for any USB power adapter made for use with iPhone, iPad, and iPod for which you have concerns.