Get docked

Before you read further, remember that if you're at all worried about ruining your $1200 phone or tablet, then don't try this at home. You've been warned!

Many of my friends have chosen to upgrade to the iPhone 5S given desirable features such as fingerprint unlocking. Unfortunately they're facing, as those of us who already migrated to iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPad 4G have done, that a raft of accessories they have from the 32 pin days are obsolete. At $45NZD for the basic adapter, that's quite an expensive workaround and some have chosen to simply purchase another dock or speaker.

The general rule of thumb I have is Apple to generic aok, generic to Apple ok sometimes, generic to generic charging only or stay clear altogether. I've tested using an iPhone 5S and 4 adapters - three of which are generic, unbranded items bought from your typical 123 Dollar shop or I used charging cables, a Sanyo radio alarm clock and Philips speaker dock as part of the testing.

What I discovered is:
  • Using an Apple adapter will work with any 32 pin cable, dock or speaker, including the use of the dock to play sound.
  • Using a generic adapter with an Apple cable will generally work for charging purposes (although one of them was specific in terms of which way the lightning attachment was inserted into the phone).
  • Using a generic adapter with a generic cable or dock will usually allow charging (albeit, one of the adapters failed to charge altogether) but you won't get playback through the speaker and likely not synchronisation with your iTunes or ability access photos through Windows explorer.
In all cases where you use a generic adapter, expect to get a pop-up alert on your phone or tablet warning you that "This cable or accessory is not certified and may not work reliably with this iPhone".

I'm personally comfortable using generic adapters at around $10NZD for the charging only stands but given I have a few speakers around the house with the 32 pin attachment, we've paid for a certified Apple adapter in order to use them as they were intended. Of course, a few of those speakers are actually Bluetooth so unless I need to charge, it's actually no problem to listen to music.
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