iPhone, iPad, or Mac Charger Turning Yellow: Why?

Here’s why your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook charger turns yellow:

Your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook charger is made of plastic.

Plastic turns yellow when it is exposed to light, oils, open air, and other chemicals.

The good news is your Apple charger turning yellow is not dangerous at all, which also explains why Apple hasn’t addressed this “problem” at all.

So if you want to learn all about why exactly Apple chargers turn yellow over time and how to fix it, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right in!

iPhone, iPad, or iMac Charger Turning Yellow: Why? (Do This)

Why Do Apple Chargers Turn Yellow?

Old and broken smartphone charger.

Your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook charger turns yellow because they are made of plastic.

Many people have experienced seeing the charger for their Apple laptop, or mobile phone turning yellow over time.

As an analogy, it’s similar to the way your teeth can turn yellow, beginning slowly and subtly at first and then going darker to a more distressing dirty yellow after a while. 

Unfortunately, the Apple computer company has made no attempt to address this problem, and neither have any relevant experts.

Yellow Chargers Are Not Dangerous

The good news is that Apple hasn’t addressed the problem because they don’t have to because it’s not dangerous. 

Knowing Apple, they would rather have you assume it’s dangerous and buy a replacement even though there’s no real need to.

But they can’t get away with saying that it’s a problem, beyond being ugly, because it isn’t.

What Exactly Causes Apple Chargers to Turn Yellow?

All, or most, white plastic will turn yellow over time due to a chemical reaction that takes place when it is exposed to light, oils, open air, and other chemicals. 

There’s a good argument for the claim that the electromagnetic field a phone charger is often immersed in speeds up the yellowing process.

The cheaper the plastic, the faster the yellowing process will take place. 

The best way for the Apple company to remedy the problem would be to use black chargers instead of white ones.

But white chargers are part of the Apple aesthetic, and they’re sticking to it.

Fortunately, this does not degrade the structural integrity of the plastic to any significant degree.

In fact, all plastics, no matter what color they are, go through the same superficial chemical alteration from exposure to light, air, and other chemicals.

But with the commonly used black chargers sold by all other companies except Apple, you can’t see the discoloration because the item is black.

It might be in Apple’s best interest to switch their charger color to black just to prevent this minor branding issue.

But at the end of the day, it really is just a superficial issue. If Apple respected its customer base, they might tell you that.

How to Remove Yellow Discoloration From White Plastics? (4 Ways)

There are a number of ways to remove yellow from plastic.

Unfortunately, all of them are probably not worth trying with a computer charger or phone charger. 

There may be a way to do it, which we will discuss below, but it’s probably not worth the time or the risk of damage to the charger.

#1 Bleach

You will need:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Water
  • A bucket (or container large enough to submerge the pieces)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper Towels
  • A spray bottle or garden hose

Do this outside or in an area with very good ventilation. Use a fan over the container to disperse the fumes away from your face. Fill the bucket with one part bleach and one part water. 

Submerge the yellowed plastic pieces. If the pieces float, use a plate or other object to hold them down. Leave the items submerged until the plastic appears white.

Note: This method requires you to extract the internal electronics from the plastic casing. If this is not possible, you cannot use this method without destroying the charger.

#2 Sanding

You will need:

  • A high-grit file or sandpaper

With the sanding method, you simply file the yellowed surface of the plastic away. This may be one of the best methods for whitening chargers since it won’t harm the internal components.

Unfortunately, the exposed plastic will also turn yellow in time, and the sanding process will destroy the silky smooth look and feel of Apple chargers.

#3 Comet

You will need:

  • Comet
  • A bucket (or container large enough to submerge the pieces)
  • Water
  • Scrubber
  • Detergent soap

Dampen the plastic pieces and scrub them with a soapy mixture of Comet and water. 

You will need to apply enough elbow grease to scrub the yellow surface away. Be sure to use good ventilation and a fan to blow the fumes produced by the Comet away from your face.

Again, you will need to remove the electronics from the charger, and you can expect the smooth surface of your Apple charger to be completely scuffed up.

#4 Peroxide

You will need:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • UV light or direct sunlight
  • Oxy laundry booster
  • Water
  • A bucket (or container large enough to submerge the pieces)
  • Goggles
  • Rubber gloves

Fill the bucket with peroxide and add one-quarter teaspoon of Oxy laundry booster to the mix. Soak the plastics for two to six hours. Then dry them off and leave them in the sunlight or under UV light.

Of course, you must remove the electronic internals before this method can be used, or the charger will be destroyed.

Is There Another Way To Remove Discoloration From Yellow Chargers?

Cleaning a mobile charger with a cloth.

We have dispensed with the concern that yellow chargers are dangerous.

That means you can or should forgo any attempt to change them back to their off-the-shelf whiteness. 

However, if you are determined to obtain that Apple white charger looks, there is yet another method.

Using gloss model paint, you can lay down a smooth layer of white on your charger.

Frankly, this is probably the best way to achieve the desired results without buying a new charger.

Then, using a precision modeling paintbrush and some practice, you should restore the white surface appearance. 

For best results, clean the surface to be painted and use Testors Gloss Coat Lacquer before laying down the white paint.

While your charger is drying, hang it by the cord.

Speaking of the cord, this too will likely have taken on a yellow hue.

Unfortunately, this cannot be painted.

So you will either have to leave it smoker’s-tooth yellow or use one of the above methods, thereby risking water damage to the charger.

With some luck, your charger will look even better than before.

You may need to practice on other objects before you can confidently do a good job on your Apple charger.

Also, after using this method, you may need to keep your charger in a silken sleeve when traveling with it.

Otherwise, the paint may chip and get into your electronics.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.