Apple is investigating the death of a Chinese women who was allegedly electrocuted by her iPhone 5. The accident occurred while the woman was using her iPhone 5 as it charged on a Lightning connector. Though the Lightning connector was claimed as genuine, there seems to be something amiss; Apple’s iOS device chargers are only available in 5 watt and 12 watts. The iPhone 5 charger the electrocuted customer was using would be the 5 watt charger, as that is the one that ships with the device. Many are claiming the 5 watt iPhone charger doesn’t have enough power to electrocute someone.
Though it may cause a shock sometimes—which Apple will gladly replace under warranty—the chargers don’t draw nearly as much power as a computer or larger device, and as a result, cannot kill a person. Many sites and forums began discussing the possibility that the woman may have been using a third-party Lightning connector to use with her iPhone, which may have caused the electrocution.
A number of bloggers chimed in with their own stories. One commenter noted that he had purchased a cheap iPhone 4S charger from a Chinese supplier, and that it gave off sparks and popped out of the socket, causing his iPod to fly forward.
A few years back, a piece of my iPhone wall plug stayed in the socket when I went to remove it from the wall, and began to spark a bit. I immediately shut off the electricity to the outlet and had the piece removed. Apple would later recall the chargers and refit them with a more solid version.
This latest electrocution goes to show just how dangerous illegal third party accessories can be and how they can damage your home, your device, and can even cost a life. I know I’ve learned my lesson, and that is why I refrain from purchasing cheap versions of chargers from illegal sources.