The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program is meant to ensure that owners of Apple devices are safe. "Customer safety is a top priority at Apple," the company said. "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." Chargers made by companies other than Apple, however, might not meet the same safety standards.
Last month, Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, was electrocuted when she answered a phone call as her iPhone was plugged into the wall and charging. The woman had burn marks on her neck where the cord touched her. Apple promised to investigate the matter, and it turns out she was using a non-Apple charger. Apple hopes its Takeback program will prevent any similar scenarios in the future.
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Apple said that most third-party chargers are safe. However, consumers who believe their charger might not be safe can get Apple's charger by simply bringing the third-party power adapter to their local Apple retail store. Replacements are not free, but consumers who turn in at least one charger will be able to buy an Apple charger at the reduced price of $10 (or the equivalent outside the United States). In order to qualify, customers must bring their iPhone to the store so Apple can verify the serial number. Customers are allowed to buy one $10 Apple charger for each of their i-devices, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod.
The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program runs from Aug. 16 to Oct. 18 in the U.S. The program dates outside the U.S. vary by country.
There are too many companies that make iPhone accessories, including chargers, to list here. Much of the wall space at Apple's largest retail locations is dedicated to third-party accessories and companion products. Any product sold at an Apple Store is designed to function properly with Apple's products and should not be a cause for concern. Apple said it is more worried about off-brand products purchased at local electronics stores, which might not comply with Apple's safety standards.