A Frayed Knot for Apple's Power Cord Fix

A class action lawsuit has forced Apple to start a cord replacement program for frayed Macbook power adapters — something frustrated Mac owners would have appreciated years ago. As of this week, Apple will replace adapters that have shown, "signs of strain relief," which Apple defines as "a condition where the DC cable (the thin cord that attaches the MagSafe connector to the power adapter) separates from the end of the MagSafe connector or from the other end of the thin cord." Apple has a lenient example pictured above, but many owners of a worn cords know the problem can get much worse than that. No matter how ragged, whether under warranty or not, Apple will replace the defective cords, as long as it doesn't look accident related. But considering how susceptible Apple's cords are to fray, this "courtesy" would have been much appreciated before many people already bought $80.00 replacements. 

Frayed Apple power cords have plagued Mac users for years. And not just the worn "T-style" Macbook cord Apple uses as its example. Macbook, Powerbook, iPhone, iPad, and iPod chargers all have been susceptible to fraying after regular usage habits. And before now, Apple didn't replace the cords after the one-year warranty expired, which was extraordinarily frustrating for people whose cords just stopped working. "This is clearly a design flaw," wrote Tavie, a frustrated Mac user on an Apple forum for disgruntled cord owners. "I went through 5 power cords on my iBook over the 4 years I had it, and no, I didn't mistreat them and was always very careful. At $80 a pop, that's a lot to shell out for a power cord." other broken cord members joined him on the Apple forums to wallow in their sorrows. But the only solution at the time was an $80 power cord. 

But now Apple wants to make amends years later (yes, this writer has already purchased a $80 replacement) after many of the frayed cords were tossed. the class action lawsuit claims that Apple might reimburse owners some amount of money. But there's no mention of said payouts on the Apple website. there is a bit of good news though, apparently Apple's newest cords shouldn't fray, explains TechCrunch's Jordan Crook. "if you’re a more recent Mac convertee and own the L-shaped MagSafe charger, no worries," he assures. "You shouldn’t have the same fraying issues."  

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments or send an email to the author at rgreenfield at theatlantic dot com. You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.