Last week, the tech world was freaking out over what seemed like an ingenious way to tightly bundle a MacBook power brick and cables. But it turns out that method could do more harm than good.
The method called for wrapping the thicker cable–the one that connects to your outlet–around the power brick first, passing the cable in between the two plastic fins on the brick. You then wrap the thinner cable with the MagSafe connector around the outside of the plastic fins, holding the thicker cable in place while creating a tight little bundle.
Gizmodo, which declared that “You’ve Been Wrapping Your MacBook Charger Wrong This Whole Time,” provides a nice summary in animated GIFs.
The problem with this method, as Wired reported over the weekend, is that it could damage your cables. Bending the slimmer cable toward the base puts a strain on the connection point, increasing the chances of damage or even a fire hazard over time. Meanwhile, tightly wrapping the power cable in a loop can cause it to twist inside the insulation.
If you really want to preserve the life of the cable, check out this video from Tested, which advises pulling the slimmer cable straight out from the base by an inch or two, then looping it back to wrap it around the power brick. In other words, create some slack for the base of the cable before wrapping it. This little trick should prevent the strain that causes so many cables to fail.
And as inconvenient as it may seem, the best way to wrap the thicker cable is to detach it from the power brick, then use the over-under method (video embedded below) to create a coil. This preserves the life of the cable while also preventing tangles. If done properly, the cable should fall down straight with no knots when holding it from one end.
As a general rule, if you’re bending a cable sharply around the connection point, you’re risking damage. This is true for all power bricks, not just the pretty ones that Apple makes. Give your cables some room to breathe, and you’ll be fine.