'Safety issues' prompt Apple charger trade-in programme

Chinese man using iPhone Apple said "safety issues" prompted its trade-in initiative

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Apple has begun a worldwide programme to replace third-party and counterfeit USB chargers.

The initiative comes after reports that a Chinese woman was electrocuted by a non-Apple charger.

Apple said it would swap third-party chargers for an official replacement on payment of $10 or the equivalent in local currency.

The programme begins on 16 August and will run to 18 October.

In mid-July, Apple said it was investigating reports that a Chinese woman, Ma Ailun, was killed when she answered her iPhone 5 while it was plugged into a wall charger. The third-party charger was later blamed as the cause.

No mention was made of Ms Ma's death in the blogpost announcing the trade-in programme but Apple said that the initiative was prompted by "safety issues".

Give serial number

In a related move, Apple has recently updated its Chinese website with information to help people identify fake USB chargers.

Those who want to get an official charger must hand over the third-party device and give the serial number of the iPhone, iPod or iPad it is being used to charge. The $10 or equivalent fee is a discount on the usual price of a charger. In the UK an Apple charger costs about £15.

Owners will only be able to trade in one adapter for each relevant Apple gadget they own. Trade-ins can be made at Apple stores or via authorised service providers.

Apple said that the third-party and fake chargers would be "disposed of in an environmentally friendly way".

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