Apple’s Macbooks are seen as premium, top of the line products in the laptop market. They come with super fast processing power and are built pretty tough, more than enough to take the daily beating of commute and office work.
When it comes to the charging cables for the Macbooks, Apple has honestly not done a good job at all. The charging cable for the Macbook is very budget looking and of that quality as well.
The charging power adapter is built really well, but with Macbooks the problems arise with the cable and not the adapter. Unlike other laptop manufactures which include much better quality cables that are thicker and can take more pressure.
Why Apple did not do this to begin with and does not seem interested to change it either is a complete mystery.
Apple decided to go with the thinnest cable they could find, the ones that are most prone to fraying. Apple seems to have designed these with intention of them breaking under even normal usage.
The charging cable is very thin for starters and more on the lines of a smartphone charging cable, it is not able to deal with the extra weight and strain if the laptop is turned or moved when the charger cable is plugged in. The cable frays easily under stress and strain.
The end result is that Macbook customers have to either be super careful with their charging cables or be ready to replace them when they break.
Apple does have a guide on their official website, on the support page. Although this does not provide any fixes and just gives advice on how to take care of your charger cable. These tips will be listed below as well.
There are a few home fixes that will be listed below, these will help you reinforce your Macbook charging cables and keep them from getting damaged and breaking easily.
How To Protect The Macbook Charger Cables
Apple being Apple should have got this right the first time around. It is quite difficult to figure out why a company as huge as Apple would make such a mess up of the cables, which is a relatively basic need for all laptops.
These under par cables break very easily especially at the connecting ends because they are so thin and fragile. The total opposite of what a laptop cable should be like. If Apple went for thicker cable like most other laptop companies the problem would never have occurred in the first place.
It can be very frustrating for a Macbook user whose cables keep breaking or getting damaged even under regular usage. Like most other things Apple, the charging cables are not cheap to replace either, especially since the whole unit has to be replaced and not just the cable.
So in order to help you protect your Macbook charger and cable better, we have listed a few methods below on how to keep it safe. Pick the method which suits you best and extend the life of your charging cable for as long as possible.
Apple’s Tips on How To Protect Your Apple Charger
Instead of designing a much more durable charger like most other companies, Apple has chosen to stick with the thin skinny cables and instead have put up tips on the support page of their website on how to keep your charger and cable safe from damage.
Keep in my that this method is not really a hack or a fix but is actually Apple’s official tips on how to keep the charger cable from fraying and the connector from breaking off.
Firstly, Apple tells its users to handle the charger and cable the correct way.
Apple says to unwrap the cable only when necessary or supporting the weight of the adapter so no extra strain has to be dealt with by the cable.
Apple recommends using the three prong grounded connector if your Macbook has a very short charging cable or you just need a longer cable to cover more distance. This reduces stress on the cables and you also would not have to stretch or pull the cable to get it to reach.
Apple also suggests users lay the wires out well in gentle curves and without forming any tight bends and angles which can lead to breakage.
And as for routing of the cable while charging, Apple recommends running the cable behind the Macbook instead of running it underneath. And also to maintain a reasonable amount of slack in the cable around the connecting ends so they do not experience any extra strain. Always maintain gentle curves with the cable.
Apple also suggests keeping the area around the cable free from other objects that might cause damage to the cable.
Apple’s final suggestion is to disconnect the charger carefully from the Macbook and plug point.
And once disconnected and not in use, Apple recommends using the wings provided on the adapter to neatly roll up the charger cable and store it safely.
Apple suggests that while rolling up the cable, keep the wrap even and not very tight. This helps reduce the footprint taken on by the cables, and this is designed to keep the cables safe and increase the lifespan of the cable.
Using Cable Protectors
Quite commonly available as wear and tear of cables is not a new problem, there are a few different types of protectors out there, all sharing the same purpose, to protect your cables.
These kinds of protectors are limited to protecting only the ends of the cable to prevent it from snapping. This although good still leaves the rest of the cable exposed to damage.
Also, these ready made protectors do not come cheap, around 5 USD each, which is pricey considering a new lightning cable from Apple is 20 USD.
So this is not the best investment, but if you do go for them, they will protect the ends of your charger cable for quite a while.
Match Stick Method
This home style hack can be used to strengthen and add support to any weak cables you have and works well to protect the cable end coming from the Macbook charger.
Before getting started you will need to organize a few materials needed and keep them ready.
For this hack, you will need a knife or blade, electrical insulation tape, and either match sticks or toothpicks.
Using these everyday things we are going to reinforce the part of the wire that exits from the power adapter. This will reduce the stress on the end and lessen the overall wear and tear.
- To begin, cut the wooden toothpicks or matchsticks down to a size of about 1 inch in length. You will need two pieces of this size. One for either side of the charger cable.
- Next, arrange the two sticks on either side of the cable at the point where it exits the charging adapter. The sticks should sit flush with the cable and the adapter.
- Cut small pieces of tape and use them to stick the two matchsticks in place. The sticks will have to be taped tightly and preferably neatly around the sticks so that there is no place for them to move around. Wrap the sticks completely with the tape and even go a bit past them.
- In order to reduce the stress even more on the joint where you just attached the sticks, make a small smooth curve without a tight angle and a bit of slack and then tape the thin cable onto the thicker one. You could use a cable tie for this part but tape works better and does not cause any friction like a cable tie.
- Finally, get a velcro strap to use for the remainder of the cable, roll it in loops but not too tightly, this is to keep them neat and more secure, especially if you are traveling.
This match stick hack can be used for other old and weak cables such as mobile phone chargers and some earphones. For thinner cables it can come off as a bit bulky, but better safe than sorry.
The Spring Method
In terms of reinforcement this trick is similar to the match stick hack, but in my opinion, is a better way to go about it as the spring is a bit more durable than the match sticks.
For this, you will need a small spring and pliers for better and easier work. The spring will be placed and attached to the point of the charging cable where it is the weakest, at the point where the cable leaves the adapter.
If you have trouble sourcing a spring of the right size, any click ballpoint pen will have the right sized one inside.
The following steps will detail how to go about attaching the spring to your cable to reinforce it.
- Once you have got your spring and are ready to go, start by stretching out the spring to fit the size of the cable. Use your pliers for this, it will much easier and safer to do than trying with your hands.
- Fit one end of the spring around the cable, using the more extended side will be easier.
- Start to wind the spring onto the cable by twisting it in a circular motion around the cable, this won’t be very easy but should not take too long either.
- Finally, use the pliers to tighten back the open extended end so that the spring sits flush with the cable and stays in place correctly.
Once that’s done the end of your cable should be a lot stronger and more durable. It also won’t be able to form sharp angles at these stress points.
If one wants to further reinforce the spring at the joint and make it look a bit neater too, you can get a piece of heat shrink tubing and seal the spring under it, like in the picture below.
Like the match stick method this too can be used for pretty much any cable, such as your smartphone, and earphones, being a very good solution for cable fraying.
Embroidery Thread Method
The final and one of the simplest methods is the embroidery method.
For this method you will need approximately four times the length of your cable in embroidery thread, alternatively, you can also use a para cord if you don’t mind the extra bulk in return for the extra strength.
To begin, tie one end of the thread to the start of the cable at the joint where the cable leaves the adapter.
Start braiding the thread or para cord around the entire length of the wire for the best protection possible.
Do not leave any gaps in between so that it looks great and there are no exposed areas that can take on damage.
If you would like to make it more colorful and vibrant, you can use different colored threads to create your own custom patterns.
This method will reinforce the entire length of the cable as opposed to just the joints.
Which ever of the above methods you decide to use, it will definitely help you increase the lifespan of your cables and charger.
But in my personal opinion a combination of two methods,
The springs with heat shrink tubing on both end joints of the charger, where the cable leaves the adapter and where the cable enters the Macbook Power point.
This along with embroidery braiding the remaining part of the cable that is still exposed between the two springs.
Although this will be a little hard and time consuming to do, once you are done, you will have a pretty much indestructible charging cable that won’t fray or suddenly break at the joints causing you unnecessary worries.
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