Apple on Friday activated a quality program for USB-C charging cables included with 12-inch MacBook with Retina display models, as well as those sold as standalone accessories, saying a design issue with affected units could cause them to fail.
As noted by Apple, a "limited number" of MacBook USB-C charging cables shipped through June 2015 have a design flaw that causes a attached laptop to not charge or charge intermittently when connected to a power source.
While the company did not offer detail on the apparent design flaw, it did specify a method by which old cable versions susceptible to failure can be identified. Apple says redesigned cables include a serial number next to printed text reading, "Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China." while original versions do not.
Apple did not offer an estimate as to how many affected units reached customer hands, but a review of the accessory posted to the Apple Online Store last September appears to describe the problem:
This cable has gone from kinda working (getting my macbook to charge after 20 secs of trying) to having to fiddle with it for more than 5 minutes before it works. As of now, I have to manually hold the charge cable into the port as far as it will go before it registers and begins to charge. The moment I let go it stops charging again. Then, randomly, it will suddenly resume charging as usual. This is incredibly frustrating and time wasting.
Apple will proactively send out new cables free of charge to customers who provided a mailing address when they purchased or registered their new MacBook. The company expects replacement cables to arrive by the end of February.
Those customers who did not purchase a MacBook through Apple's online store, or register the device online, can obtain a new cable by visiting an Apple retail store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. Alternatively, users can contact Apple Support via telephone, chat or email.
The USB-C charge cable program is effective until June 8, 2018.