In the wake of the recent accidents due to fake/unauthorized third-party iPhone/iPad chargers, Apple has released a notice to educate people about identifying and using only authorized Apple chargers.
Although this happened only in China, it stands as a testimony to the hazards posed by unauthorized and uncertified electronic devices across the world. There's some panic cooking up amongst people using Apple products – even those with genuine products that are certified.
Here are some very important precautions besides the plain old “use genuine accessories” that I think is necessary to bear in mind.
1. For Apple products, always go with Apple accessories first.
There's a reason why Apple is almost always the first to release an accessory for its iOS devices including iPhones, iPads and iPods. One of the key things that a company as large as Apple focuses on is security – both digital and physical.
Cheap third-party manufacturers are prone to overlook these things and end up creating accessories that aren't technically safe.
Branded and authorized accessory-makers like Belkin are better second-options if you find Apple's own to be costly.
2. Never Use an iOS device when it is plugged in to the mains.
This is a common-sense thing. And no matter how many times it is repeated, people still stick to their guts instead of common sense.
It doesn't matter if you've got a solid, fool-proof secure electric system and gadgets but when your smartphone is plugged to the mains, you better not use it. Period.
If it's urgent, use another device till your iPhone/iPad gets charged sufficiently enough to be plugged out and used.
3. Use Rubber cases / snap-ons when your iOS device is plugged in to the PC/laptop.
I had the habit of using my smartphone when it was plugged to my laptop. The incident where a Chinese woman was electrocuted has changed this habit too. When my laptop is plugged to the mains, I refrain from using my iPhone when it's connected to the laptop. It's an over-reaching security measure but hey, you can't be too cautious with electricity and gadgets.
But if you do want to use, have a rubber casing around the iPhone/iPad and keep away from touching the metal parts.
4. Buy a new charger the moment it begins to act up. Don't wait.
The moment your charger begins to act weirdly, it's time to change it. Chargers can be fixed but over the years, the circuitry has become just a bit more complicated that it's better to get a new one instead of trying to fix one.
And don't delay. It's a costly gadget that you're using with so you better use a new, good charger.
5. Ensure proper earthing in your electric connections.
This goes without saying. Ensure proper earthing and stuff in the connections within your house.