What Does Apple MFi-Certified Mean for iPhone Accessories?
Apple’s MFi certification gives you a peace of mind when purchasing iPhone accessories from third-party vendors.
Finding compatible products and accessories for your iPhone—or any device, for that matter—isn’t always difficult. But knowing that the product you’ve purchased is compatible with every feature your iPhone has to offer and won’t harm it due to quality issues is more than reassuring.
To ensure you pick the right one comes the Apple MFi-certified branding, and here are some important details about this certification.
What Is Apple’s MFi Program?
The Apple MFi Program is a system that allows manufacturers to access licensed technology and hardware-related specifications directly from Apple, allowing manufacturers to create products like the best MagSafe accessories for iPhone and many other types of accessories.
Access to the MFi program is subject to a verification process and a $99 fee that’s charged yearly.
We’ve listed the technology and hardware components that Apple gives manufacturers access to upon joining the MFi program below:
- AirPlay audio
- Car Keys
- Find My network
- iPod Accessory Protocol (iAP)
- MFi Game Controller
- MFi Hearing Aid
- Wi-Fi Accessory Configuration (WAC)
- Apple Watch Charger Module
- Audio Accessory Module
- Authentication coprocessors
- Headset Remote and Mic
- Lightning Audio Module
- Lightning Analog Headset Module
- Lightning to Headset Jack Adapter Module
- Lightning connectors and receptacles
- MagSafe Case Module
- MagSafe Charger Module
How Does Apple’s MFi Certification Work?
Once a manufacturer joins the MFi program and gets access to the specifications and technology, they can begin working towards getting an MFi certification for an accessory by following the simple process detailed below:
- Submit a product plan: The manufacturer will have to share with Apple how it plans to integrate MFi-licensed technology into the accessory.
- Develop an accessory: This step will cover the accessory’s design, development, and testing after procuring and integrating the needed MFi components.
- Get MFi-certified: Once the development process is complete, manufacturers must use certification tools provided by Apple to ensure an optimal user experience. They will also need to submit a production-ready sample and packaging materials for review.
Once Apple grants certification, the manufacturer can begin mass production and sales. These MFi-certified accessories would not cause annoying pop-ups like “This Accessory May Not Be Supported” on your iPhone.
Which Accessories Have MFi Certification?
Earlier in this article, we listed the components and technology for which Apple provides specifications, but which accessories do these technologies find their place in, thus requiring an MFi certification? The list below answers this question:
- Smart Home
- Vehicle Infotainment
- Headsets and Headphones
- Game Controllers
- Fitness Equipment
- Hearing Aids
- Power and Cables
- Mobile Point of Sale
- Music Creation
Accessories that use standardized technologies don’t require MFi certification. For example, headphones or products using Bluetooth profiles built into iOS don’t need any verification.
Also, if you’re an individual/manufacturer planning to make accessories for iPhone and other Apple devices and your product is a non-electronic accessory—for example, a case—you will not need an MFi certification. However, Apple does suggest using its guidelines for designing accessories.
MFi Certification Makes Picking the Right Accessory Easier
Getting technical details directly from Apple helps greatly when designing and developing accessories for the iPhone or iPad. And the existence of the MFi program makes this a lot more convenient.
The certification, indicated by a marking on the packaging material of a product, also helps increase the confidence a customer has in an accessory and how it will work with their iPhone, be it the latest version or an older model.