This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2013-08-06 at 5:12 p.m.
The permanent URL for this article is: http://tidbits.com/article/13996
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Apple Taking Back Third-Party USB Power Adapters

by Josh Centers

From 16 August 2013 through 18 October 2013, Apple will be accepting and recycling [1] third-party USB power adapters for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod at Apple retail stores and authorized service providers. Apple will also replace the third-party adapters, which usually cost at least $19, for $10 (or the equivalent in other countries). However, you must bring in the associated device, and Apple will replace only one adapter per device. Apple’s Web site shows examples [2] of what official Apple adapters look like.

The trade-in program comes after a couple of distressing news reports from China. A 23-year-old Chinese woman was killed [3] via an electric shock after answering her plugged-in iPhone 5, and separately, a 30-year-old Chinese man was put into a coma [4] after being shocked by a charging iPhone 4. In both cases, the victims were using unauthorized power adapters.

While these stories are alarming, U.S. readers who use Apple-certified adapters that are in good condition shouldn’t panic. The power outlets into which you’d plug a USB power adapter in the United States are only 120 volts, while Chinese outlets are 220 volts. In the United States, 220-volt outlets are usually reserved for major appliances and industrial equipment. Speaking from personal experience, a 120-volt shock is distressing, but usually not lethal — although any electric shock under the right circumstances can be fatal.

Editor’s note: On the recommendation of knowledgeable readers — read the full comment thread below — we’ve struck the text above to avoid any unintended implications surrounding the dangers of electric shock.

If you own an unauthorized and potentially dangerous USB power adapter, it’s worth $10 and a trip to an Apple Store to trade it in for an Apple power adapter.

[1]: http://www.apple.com/support/usbadapter-takeback/
[2]: http://www.apple.com/power-adapters/
[3]: http://www.ibtimes.com/family-claims-iphone-5-killed-daughter-electrocution-apple-investigate-1346177
[4]: http://www.ibtimes.com/iphone-electrocution-puts-man-coma-unauthorized-apple-charger-blame-1353435