Following on from my recent post about the iPhone 4 Bumper case and an excellent follow-up comment on it from Jonathan Issacs I thought I’d outline a few issues I’ve found with charging my iPhone 4.

First, to address Jonathan’s question, which was:

Great post Elaine, I assume that when using a bumper this has to be taken off for the phone to use the dock?

However I’m sure I read somewhere that this wasn’t the case (no pun intended), could you shed some light on the situation?

I made the decision not to buy the new dock, which is especially designed for iPhone 4, long before I sat in the store on launch day facing the temptation head-on! I was still smarting from my recent purchase of the iPad dock and my disappointment with it, full details of why I was disappointed are in MacBites Episode 44 but a few of my issues with it are:

1. It won’t charge the iPad without removing the case
2. It isn’t sturdy enough to hold the iPad and allow typing on the screen without the iPad rocking dangerously
3. It only holds the iPad in portrait mode, not the best for watching video

All of which didn’t stop me admiring the aesthetics of the new dock on launch day, but I refrained. The reason I refrained was that the new dock will not charge the iPhone without removing the Bumper case. This would not be a big issue but for how awkward it is to remove the Bumper case, which is extremely close fitting.

I had high hopes of repurposing the iPad dock for use with the iPhone 4 but it doesn’t fit the iPhone 4 either with or without the Bumper *foiled again*.

But no worries I guess there’s always the charging cable, right?

Well it turns out not all charging cables are made equal and when your iPhone 4 is wearing a Bumper this makes a difference. Over the years the design of these cables has varied greatly and they don’t all work with the new Bumper clad iPhone 4.



From the left these are, iPhone 4, iPod 60gb Video, generic replacement cable

The cable that ships with the iPhone 4 works perfectly even when it’s in the Bumper case. However, the 60gb video iPod cable doesn’t work and neither does the generic replacement on the right.


The dock connector with the Bumper case on

The reason is the width of the plastic casing, as shown in the image of the cables above and the silicon inside the Bumper covering the connector, shown in the previous image.

The head of the cable has become progressively thinner over the years and while this is elegant in design it’s not without issues.

Obviously my immediate concern is that a wider casing means it won’t charge my iPhone without removing the case.

A corollary issue is that the reason I had bought a generic replacement rather than a replacement cable manufactured by Apple was that with each interaction of the Apple cable it has become more fragile and less fit for purpose.

I have had an Apple cable split at the connector end on my iPod Shuffle, Apple acknowledged the issue and replaced it. Sadly this wasn’t a one off and there are at least three Apple cables in the house right now that I don’t deem safe to use, having split in general use.


Here’s just one of them!

So it looks like a catch 22 for me right now, I’m happy with the Bumper case but using it means I can’t use the dock or anything other than a new style Apple cable for charging and synching, the build quality and/or design of which is, in my opinion, flawed for anything other than extremely light use.