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Apple recalls more than a decade of power adapters due to risk of electric shock

Tech giant Apple has instigated a massive international recall of power point adapters across its range of portable devices after a small number were found to have broken, causing risk of electric shock.

It comes only a week after Microsoft recalled 285,000 power cord sets which shipped with its Surface Pro tablet range.

Australian wall adaptors for iPads and Macs have been recalled.
Australian wall adaptors for iPads and Macs have been recalled. Photo: Tim Biggs

The affected Apple adapters were shipped with MacBooks and iPads, and older models of iPhone and iPod, between 2003 and 2015, including in Australia and New Zealand. Also included in the recall are adapters purchased in the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit, which includes wall adaptors for multiple regions.

Apple did not say how many consumers the recall affected however based on the company's sales figures it could be in the tens — or even hundreds — of millions. Apple has sold nearly 300 million iPads worldwide since the product was launched in 2010. It has sold 147.7 million computers since 2003; at least 60 million of these were laptops (Apple stopped publishing standalone sales figures for MacBooks in 2013).

An affected wall adaptor from an iPad Mini 2.
An affected wall adaptor from an iPad Mini 2.  Photo: Tim Biggs

The company said it was aware of 12 "incidents" worldwide, however it's not clear whether this involved customers actually suffering electric shocks as a result of the adapters breaking.

The affected adapters attach directly to a power brick to connect devices to the wall. New MacBooks also come with an adapter on a long cord, which is not affected by this recall. The recall does not affect smaller USB power adapters which ship with the latest models if iPhone and iPod.

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Not every Apple wall adapter that attaches onto a power brick is affected, however, as Apple began shipping remodelled versions of the adapters at an unknown date.

Some of the redesigned adapters are square in shape; these are understood to not be affected by the recall. If your adapter is round, as the majority of them are, you can determine whether it's affected by removing it from the power brick and checking the underside.

Check the underside of your adaptor to see if it is affected by the recall.
Check the underside of your adaptor to see if it is affected by the recall. Photo: Apple

If there are four or five numbers printed on the inside slot where it connects to the power brick (as in the picture above) — or, conversely, nothing written there at all — you need to take it into an Apple store to be replaced.

If there is a country code written on the underside instead, e.g. AUS or EUR, then this is a newer model and is not affected.

"Because customer safety is the company's top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using affected plug adapters," the company said in a statement.

The recall also affects adapters sold in Argentina, Brazil, Continental Europe and South Korea. It does not affect products sold in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK or the US.

Apple previously recalled an iPhone power adapter sold in some countries after it was found the prongs could snap off and expose users to risk of electric shock.

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