Most new Apple products ship with a Lightning cable. This works with the Lightning port on all current iPhones and iPads bar the iPad Pro, which instead uses USB-C.
But one iPhone or iPad cable is never enough, whether it gets damaged through wear and tear, is misplaced, borrowed or stolen, or you would simply find it more convenient to have multiple cables in your home, office and car than carry around a single cable at all times.
Very often older cables begin to show signs of damage, often exposing the internal wire. The countdown is now on to replace your iPhone cable before you find yourself unable to charge your device (a wireless charger might alternatively save the day).
You can go direct to Apple, but you may be put off by the price of its standard USB to Lightning cable. Many alternatives are available, and as we'll outline below, some of them are prettier, tougher or potentially even longer - just don't buy a cheap Lightning cable.
Some claim to be unbreakable, other can switch connector heads using magnets, and others ditch USB-A altogether for USB-C. But all feature Lightning, which is what you are after, right?
Apple Lightning to USB cable
Not as iconic as the white ear buds, but white and useful nonetheless, you might want to buy direct from Apple. Which is fine! The standard cable that ships with most Apple products is the 1m cable and adding a tenner to the price (ouch) will get you an extra metre.
Not a lot else to say here – it’s made by Apple and it’s a Lightning cable. Does what it says on the tin. Also goes murky grey very fast, depending on your usage.
This Nylon- and DuPont Kevlar-braided Lightning cable from Zendure is woven using bulletproof fibres to enhance durability. It's so sure about the quality of its cable it offers a lifetime warranty with the SuperCord.
Zendure claims its cable is 10 times stronger than alternatives, with reinforced junctions between the connector at either end. It promises up to 50,000 uses before the cable starts to show any sign of damage - that's a fair few charges of your iPhone or iPad.
What's more it looks good, available in black, grey or - as we've tested here - red. Zendure's Lightning cables are MFI-certified, so unlike some cheaper cables they won't stop working following the next iOS update. This Lightning version is good for up to 12W charging and 480Mbps data transfer.
You'll also find USB-C and Micro-USB versions of the SuperCord.
Nomad Kevlar Lightning Cable
Like the Zendure SuperCord, the entire Nomad collection of Lightning cables feature DuPont Kevlar K-29, but unlike the above, it features kevlar both in the braiding and the inner core of the cable. The end result is a Lightning cable that boasts not only impressive durability but heat resistance and high tensile strength too.
Alongside the K-29 kevlar, the Nomad range boasts a redesigned mould that connects the tip and the cable itself - one of the biggest issues with Apple's own Lighting cables - that should help the cables last longer.
The company also offers a suite of options, including Lightning to USB-C or USB-A, 1.5m and 3m lengths and even a Universal option that combines microUSB, Lightning and USB-C in a single cable.
UNBREAKcable Lightning cables
Maybe don't take a knife to it, but otherwise the UNBREAKcable lives up to its name. The company claims that this cable is able to last 20 times longer than other cables and withstand over 20,000 bends.
Its tensile strength is provided by a high-performance and ultra-strong aramid fibre core, allowing it to support loads over 275lb (125kg).
Available in white or black and at either 1m or 2m lengths.
StarTech Short Lightning cable
You know what? Sometimes you just need a short cable, rather than a skinny python snaking over your desk.
One of the best short Lightning cables we've seen is from the ever-dependable StarTech.com.
It's 15cm (6in) long, and available in either white or black.
The company also sells a 3m version, but if you're looking for a short Lightning cable, 6 inches is enough.
Xcentz xSuperFly Plus Lightning Cable
We're drawn to the xSuperFly Plus Lightning Cable for its pretty baby blue colouring, its long 10ft length, and its cheaper price than Apple's standard cable. But mostly the pretty baby blue colouring (it also comes in grey).
This isn't as tough as some properly rugged Lightning cables, such as the Kevlar models, but its braided nylon protective coat should help prevent fraying, and aluminium connectors add to the feeling of quality.
Xcentz claims it will withstand 30,000 bends, and is strong enough to hold 80kg. It says it can last 10 times longer than similar cables.
This is MFi-certified, which means the Xcentz cable will work with your iPhone or iPad now and after any future updates.
Mous FlexLine Lightning cable
We’re not sure what iPhone users do with their cables but there are quite a few accessories designed to survive a warzone.
The FlexLine Lightning cable from Mous has been designed to withstand over 10,000 bends and is apparently durable enough carry 140kg and even pull a car (we didn’t test this).
The heads of the cable are reinforced by being double clamped on to the cable for extra durability.
It’s a black nylon-braid 1.5m USB-A to Apple Lightning Port cable (MFi certified by Apple), and costs £29.99, US$39.99 or €34.99.
Moshi USB Cable with Lightning Connector
Moshi's Lightning cable comes in a few lengths but our favourite is the longest, this 10ft/3m version. If the plug outlet in your room of choice is further away from your sprawling place of choice then this is the answer.
It's also handy for passing round in a car. The thicker than Apple cable is more durable and should last you a while - Moshi products are very well made.
While we're on tough cables, how about Nomad's 'Ultra Rugged' Lightning offering?
It's made out of 'balistic nylon', which sounds pretty exciting, along with a kevlar core, and a PVC jacket. Y'know, in case your cables are prone to spontaneous combustion.
It's available in 1.5m/5ft or 3m/10ft (£25.16/34.95), and features a built-in silicone cable tie for easy cable management.
Fuse Chicken Titan Loop
With claims to being the toughest key chain cable on Earth, the Titan Loop from the amazingly named company Fuse Chicken is a clever little charge loop. The Lightning connector end loops round and slots into a cap next to the USB connector, forming a neat metal loop.
This can be easily hooked round a bag loop, belt or used as a key chain. Or, it can just be a neat, durable cable. Another great choice as long as the plug or your computer isn’t far away from whatever it is you’re looking to sync or charge.
On Amazon US, Fuse Chicken offers the Titan Loop as a third-party seller.
AmazonBasics Lightning cables
Products in the AmazonBasics range just work and they’re very cheap to boot. Cheap does not mean bad though – Basics’ 0.9m (3ft) cable is under a fiver, with free delivery. So you can buy three cables for around the price of one Apple version if you don’t mind not having Apple brand stuff.
Amazon does note that it works with ‘nearly all cases’, so you may want to double check, but we doubt this would be a problem for most accessories.
Belkin Lightning cables
Longer cable than standard? Check. Selection of colours? Check. Trusted tech brand? Check. Belkin’s standard 1.2m/4ft Lightning cable is longer, affordable and reliable.
Anker Lightning cables
If you’re after something a bit longer, this cable from Anker is a great bet.
Anker claims it’s particularly rugged, having bent the poor thing 4000 times in testing, with no changes to performance. Cables are boring, true, but if one breaks it can render your devices useless. Anker is here to change that, for a great price.