Teardown of Apple Lightning Cable reveals four chips, security implementation

“We have confirmed that the Lightning cable does have four chips embedded in it, plus some passive devices,” Chipworks reports. “Two of these chips are very simple (only a couple of transistors), and the third is an NXP NX20P3. However, the fourth and arguably most interesting of these is the TI chip.”

“Once we stripped away the cable housing (easier said than done), and took the die out of the package, we found die markings of ‘BQ2025.’ This part number is not published by TI,” Chipworks reports. “However, TI does have published datasheets on the BQ2022, BQ2023, BQ2024, and BQ2026. These four chips are cataloged on TI’s website as battery fuel gauges, but they are not identical, with three of them being serial EPROMs and one of them being a battery monitor IC.”

Chipworks reports, “However, all four do have some common characteristics. All use a single wire SDQ interface (TI’s proprietary serial communications protocol), and all have some basic security features such as CRC generation. So, it is certainly likely that the BQ2025 does have some security implemented on it. It would also seem likely that it includes an SDQ interface… this is the first secure cable we have seen. The security does not come close to the herculean approaches that are used in (for example) today’s printer cartridges, but resembles the level of effort that cartridge manufacturers used to implement in the olden days. This is likely a calculated decision by Apple to keep costs to a minimum knowing that their core customer base prefers to shop in Apple stores or for brand name peripherals. In these places, piracy is not a concern. In other words, at this time the security is ‘just enough.’ With future generations of Apple and non-Apple products, we may begin to see even stronger security and control if the market forces merit it.”

Read more and check out the images of the Lightning cable and its chips in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


    1. Just the typical MDN sloppiness. I think that at least ten percent of their links OR headlines are messed up. Oh well, they are writing about Apple products and the care and precision Apple shows didn’t rub off on them.

  1. Just noticed today that when I plug it in one way the iPod touch battery charge icon doesn’t show on the screen; reverse the plug and the battery charge icon does show on the screen. Anyone else noticed this? Thought it wasn’t supposed make any difference which way the thing was plugged in.

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