Apple Lightning Connector Broken Inside iPad Mini Port – Eeek!

Apple Lightning Connector Broken Inside iPad mini

Can you spot the Apple Lightning Connector Broken off inside this iPad mini?

Have you wondered how well the new Apple Lightning connector might hold up over time? I’ll admit not giving too much thought to it, because I chose to focus on the fact that I could plug the Apple Lightning Connector in from either side — a welcome new convenience from the old 30-pin.

So far, I haven’t had any issues with my iPad mini or my iPhone 5, but when I came home from Mobile World Congress, I got a shock. Kev’s youngest daughter had plugged the Lightning connector into her iPad mini, and the tip of the charger had broken off in the port. The port space is too small for even my tiniest-tipped tweezers to fit inside; even if they could fit, there is not enough of the broken tip sticking out to grab!

That meant an online chat with Apple support …

Customer [4:40 p.m.]:

Hi, I have an iPad mini, and the Lightning connector has broken off IN the port! =/

Advisor [4:41 p.m.]:

Oh no! That’s crazy, so when did this happen?

Customer [4:42 p.m.]:

This week. I was at MWC, came home to find out that it had happened while I was gone! (this is our house iPad, my main iPad was with me ?? thankfully!)

Advisor [4:43 p.m.]:

Alright, well I knew the thing was flimsy but this is officially the first time I’ve ever heard of it breaking off in the device! So give me one moment to see what we can do for you, Judie

Customer [4:44 p.m.]:

Please. Thank you =(

Could we possibly be the first? Surely not. But if so, then what a dubious honor. We don’t have an Apple Store nearby, so we will be bringing the iPad on vacation with us when we are in Hawaii. Apple support wasn’t sure if this would be a repair or replacement situation, so that will remain to be seen.

If you have one of the new devices that use it, how is your experience with the Lightning connector going? Anything wonky happening? Or is it working well for you? Do tell!

Apple Lightning Connector Broken Inside iPad mini

Something doesn’t look right here …

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

35 Comments on "Apple Lightning Connector Broken Inside iPad Mini Port – Eeek!"

  1. Gary Bunker | March 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm |

    No Apple store near you…that’s an understatement. You don’t have ANYTHING near you, Judie!

  2. There’s an Apple store near me. Which I’m really glad for, because my iPad Mini is starting to lose battery power faster than my iPad 3 does.

    I’ve noticed that my iMini’s power cord wiggles a lot when it’s plugged in, and it’s been getting worse over the past week. Think I’ll be even more careful with it than I usually am. I just looked at the connector and it’s wiggly like a loose tooth.

    I’m probably going to end up going to the Apple store with multiple issues soon. My iPad3’s home button sticks. The iMini cord wiggles, and I need memory for my Mac Mini. They’re going to love me when I walk in.

  3. As you WELL know!! πŸ˜‰

  4. Let us know how your experience goes. =P

  5. Lol. Zing. πŸ™‚

  6. Gary lives in Angelo, so he has no room to talk. πŸ˜‰

  7. haesslich | March 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

    Have you checked the Usage area? Noticed it seems to be ‘on’ fairly frequently?

  8. the Usage area? I just notice that my Mini loses power a lot faster than my iPad3 does. I can take them both off of their chargers at the same time. Play music for the same amount of time and the Mini will end up with 80% charge while the iPad3 will be at something like 92% charge. (I tested it. Used the stopwatches on both iPads to time how long they were off their chargers)

  9. haesslich | March 4, 2013 at 8:20 am |

    The usage section under the General option. Does it show a higher number than you’ve timed? The iPad 3 doesn’t… yet the Mini may show extra ‘on’ time. Like 30 minuts/day.

  10. M Roselius | March 4, 2013 at 8:34 am |

    Not sure if you need this advice or not – but..

    Take a Q-tip and cut the cotton tip off of one end. Put a small drop of superglue on the Q-tip stick – hold against the broken piece for at least 30 seconds, preferably a minute and you should be able to remove the piece.

  11. I thought about doing this and chickened out because with my luck, I’d get glue on the components! πŸ˜‰ Plus it seems like that connector is in there too tightly to pull out so simply. I’m going to take it to an Apple store next week; it would be better to let them fool with it. =P

  12. MacWorld UK picked up my article today ( ) — which was cool (thanks, MacWorld), but rather than shoot me an email for a quote or verification, the author of the post took the lazy way out and said:

    “The Apple Advisor who spoke to the customer via Apple’s online support reportedly said: “Well I knew the thing was flimsy but this is officially the first time I’ve ever heard of it breaking off in the device!””

    Reportedly? Seriously?! I have the transcript of the entire conversion, that was handily presented to me in PDF form by Apple at the end of the live chat.

    Because the word ‘reportedly’ means “used to express the speaker’s belief that the information given is not necessarily true”, I feel compelled to post that particular snippet of the PDF.

    If you look at the screencap and the quotes I posted above, you’ll see that the only thing I am guilty of is adding caps where they belonged in my portion of the conversation (I tend to slip into lowercase because the Mac OS doesn’t automatically correct that), and adding a comma before my name in the CS person’s reply.

    Reportedly?! … Whatever. =P

  13. At best this is sloppy reporting. Personally I think it is just ride.

  14. checked just now, and it says for Usage “0 Minutes”, and for Standyby “0 Minutes”. I did have it plugged into charge just now. I’ve been out all day and decided to let it and it’s big brother the iPad3 sit and suck up electricity all day. I’ll try my little experiment again and time how long it takes for the battery to go down.

  15. Out of curiosity, how exactly did it break? While she was inserting it into the device? I’ve been using Lightning cables with my iPhone 5 and iPad mini, charging every night, and it hasn’t seemed fragile to me. Obviously that doesn’t mean it can’t break, I’m just wondering how it happened.

  16. Bear in mind that I wasn’t there, so I obviously didn’t see what happened … I was told that Kels plugged it in like she always does, but when she unplugged the cable the mini wasn’t charged and the plug came out broken. I can’t say if any extra pressure was put anywhere or not (which was my first thought). Her older sister was standing there when it happened, and she said there was no horseplay or shenanigans. So … I don’t know.

    I’ve got an iPhone 5 and an iPad mini myself, and I’ve had no issues charging multiple times a day and every night. I guess this was one of those freak things? =P

  17. Interesting. Based on my experience with the cables, it certainly *seems* like you’d have to exert a fair amount of sideways force to break it off like that, but it could have been a manufacturing defect or maybe it was weakened by accidentally applied force previously.

  18. Doug Miller | March 5, 2013 at 10:06 am |

    Well, it could be a journalistic standards – perhaps the reporter is required to contact more than one source to confirm a quote. Though “reportedly” on my online dictionary defines the word as “according to what many people say,” which is counter to your definition and even more confusing, as only one person was saying this. I think that the wrong word was used. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I think that they should have said, “Apple online support was reported to have said,” and the reporter sloppily used “reportedly” as shorthand.

    I’d not worry too much about it, though. πŸ˜‰

  19. I agree. And honestly the word “flimsy” is not one I would have used to describe the Lightning connector, even now.

    My first thought was that Kels had tried to remove the lightning connector at an angle, and it had snapped off … and perhaps that is what happened. Who knows?

    But in the meantime, trying to figure out how to get it out from such a tight space is a job best left to an expert. I’ll probably mess more up than I’d fix if I started taking things apart. πŸ˜‰

  20. Doug, you are so reasonable. I really like that about you. =)

  21. I don’t blame you! They’re meant to be held in by those divots, and with nothing to grab onto, I wouldn’t mess with it either. Good luck at the Apple store! πŸ™‚

  22. It is pretty amazing how that little “Ly” can impact the perceived tone and and intend of something written.

  23. Reportedly.

    hehe πŸ˜‰

  24. So to update: We went to the Apple store in Oahu last week, and we wound up paying a little more than $200 for a “new” 16GB WiFi iPad mini. My advice to everyone: buy Apple Care for everything you purchase; it is better to be safe than sorry. =P

  25. Mitchell Oke | April 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm |

    Very surprised this happened Judie! I myself have been quite impressed by how sturdy the new connector feels.

    I never had any issues with the 30-pin dock connector over the ~7 years I owned 30-pin devices, but I always expected to snap a plug off one day. Haven’t had that feeling with Lightning.

  26. Karen Smerber | April 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm |

    Well you aren’t alone Judie. Your pics look just like my situation. And your results, “$200 for a new iPad” my worst fear.
    Question: all the apps Etc. that you had on your old one, were they restored/transferred to your new one?

  27. Sorry to hear that, Karen. =( Do you mind sharing how yours was broken?

    If you have been backing your iPad mini up to iTunes on your computer (or to iCloud), then most if not all of your info should transfer. If your iPad mini hasn’t been backed up, then you’ll have to start from scratch. =/

    Of course, if you were smart enough to buy Apple Care for your mini, you won’t be slapped with that $200 fee. We hadn’t bought it, of course. Live and learn! =P

  28. Karen Smerber | April 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm |

    Actually it is just the “new iPad” bought in December 2012. I was just attempting to unplug it and when I looked at the connector, it didn’t look right (as your pictures illustrate).

  29. Oh! If it is the full size iPad, then you *may* have better luck than I did — or a less expensive repair, anyway.

    I was told that the iPad mini is considered to be a single part; in other words, Apple will not open it up to service it for customers — they just replace the “part”. It makes no sense to me, but whatever.

    I don’t think that they treat a full-size iPad the same way. Hopefully you will get good news when you take it in. Please keep us posted. =)

  30. Karen Smerber | April 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm |

    I will keep you posted. Thank you Judie! To be continued…

  31. disqus_CoibzAEB0E | June 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

    The same thing has happened to me. I also was offered the “deal” to pay $$ to get it replaced. Since there was no “physical damage” I refuse to pay to replace it. They assume that there was mishandling of the iPad, but there was not – the lightening connector is cheap and faulty. This has really changed my opinion toward Apple products, especially if they are gong to treat customers this way.

  32. I’m very sorry to hear that this happened to you, too. =(

  33. This happened to my friend yesterday. We took it to the Apple store in San Francisco and they said they’d never seen anything like it. I find that hard to believe….anyway he had AppleCare and got a new one only 50 bucks. He said he just went to unplug it like he normally does and the cord came out with half still stuck in the ipad.

  34. This happened to me too. My 9 month old twisted the cable and the tip of the charger remained stuck inside the iPad.

    The solution which worked for me was to use a pair of pointy tweezers, and pull the stuck part out.

    It worked wonders.

  35. Kristi Hinkle | November 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm |

    This just happened to me. It’s Thanksgiving Day and I went to plug in my iPad before I left to go to a family dinner. It snapped right off! I am very gentle with all my electronics and have never seen anything like this. I’d say Apple has a real problem and their chargers are defective. I’ll be taking this to the store first thing in the morning and I do not plan on paying for a replacement! We’ll see how it goes. If I don’t get a satisfactory result, who all is interested in filing a complaint with me?

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