Extend the life of your MacBook power adapter with Python

As I've made my way through MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs over the years, I've gone through a lot of power adapters. They typically wear out and fray in one of two places: Either near the MagSafe adapter, up near the MacBook, or down near the transformer. Recently I became aware of a new product, the Python cord protector, that purports to resolve that latter issue.

There's no question that over time, power adapter cables can wear and fray. Replacing them isn't cheap — $80 for a new Apple-branded adapter. For $11, you can have a bit more peace of mind with the Python cord protector.

Apple's MagSafe power adapters may save you from breaking the cable where it connects to the MacBook, but it doesn't solve another issue: When you wrap the power cable around those two tabs that pop out of the transformer, or when you're just moving it around, the cable at the base of the transformer can fray as well. Apple reinforces it a bit, but probably not as much as they should. As such, that cable can bend and the casing around it can snap open. That's an electrical hazard.

I've seen (and tried) some MacGyver-level solutions, like wrapping duct tape or electrical tape around the base to keep it from flexing: Cheap, ugly, and not always effective — electrical tape flexes and bends too, after all.

The developers of the Python cord protector have another solution. They've developed a silicone rubber band that wraps around the transformer and firmly reinforces the cable. A long, slender silicone sleeve extends from the band to wrap the base of the cord and the couple of inches above it. It's open, wider at the bottom, and tapers in a spiral all the way up to the top.

You feed the MagSafe end of the adapter through by flexing the Python, then wrap the Python snugly around base of the cable before stretching the band in place over the transformer. It only takes a minute to put on, and it works as advertised.

The Python is an elegant solution that looks a lot better than duct tape, and works better too. And for $11, it's certainly cheaper than a replacement AC adapter.

It's not just available for the Mac — the makers of the Python cord protector say it'll work with PC laptop adapters as well. It's available in black or white.

  • $11 - Buy now
Peter Cohen
  • If you create a loop above the transformer before you start wrapping the cable around the tabs, you won't be stressing the cable at the connection.. If you do that consistently, you won't need any add-ons. I picked up on this when I watched an Apple Genius casually rewrap my cable after a troubleshooting session.
  • I use this very technique as well Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I actually learned this several years ago from MacLife's website.
  • Apple prides itself on quality yet shows no effort in cables at all! They make proprietary phone charging cables at $29 and they're crap for quality! It's not hard to make good cables, others do it all the time. It's a decision by Apple to keep high margins on low quality accessories. Quality is about getting it ALL right, not most of it and coming up short in important areas!
  • Designed to fail on purpose.
  • Exactly. It's the REAL way they earn money. Posted via iMore App
  • Plus, on iPhones they makes the battery die fast so you CAN'T live without the charger and HAVE to buy a new one. Posted via iMore App
  • Mac cords, whether they be Mac power cords or Lighting cables for iPhones and iPad are designed to fail. They are just another revenue stream for Apple.
  • The lightning cable for charging my iPod touch died in less than a year after I got it. It bent really badly at the top. I got a replacement on Amazon and am taking better care of it.
  • Agreed, I stop buying apple charger replacements and just use generic ones with the exception of mac book pro. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Make sure it has a rubber tip on the end like a Nokia phone. This prevents the cord from falling off the surface it's resting on because the rubber grips the surface. It's great for my dresser because the cable wants to fall off but it won't. My Samsung charger always slips off. Posted via iMore App
  • I've had my MagSafe Power Adapter since 2010 and never replaced it before or had it failed on me. It's pretty dirty and scratched up but still runs well. Sent from the iMore App
  • At first I was wondering how a programming language was going to help extend the life of a power adapter.
  • You know, I thought this myself while editing Peter's piece! New accessory names, people.
  • Thanks for this article. I remember how my best friend freaked out a few years ago when the adapter for her PowerBook died on her. I'm definitely going to get one of these.
  • I use my My MacBook Pro and AC Adapter for demos 5 days a week. So it travels from my desk to my carry bag every morning and back to my desk each night for the past 6 years. And I never had a cable problem. It still looks like new. First, never wrap the cable around the Adapter. Just coil up the cable like you would do with an extension cord. Second, clean the cord every 90 days because dirt will dry out plastic. Sent from the iMore App
  • I am a long time sailor and use small diameter, white, waxed whipping twine to make attractive and effective strain reliefs for Apple cables. You can find this stuff in any marine store or catalog and instructions are widely published. Also, I put thick felt pads on one side of the power adapters for my Macbook Pros. These keep the power supply from getting scratched, slide easily on hardwood floors and help to dissipate heat. I do not understand why Apple continues to supply their fragile cables. I am sure they result in replacement sales but they are or should be an embarrassment.
  • I have a Quirky PowerCurl on my Power Adapter, it not only protects it, but lets me wrap the cables tidily when not in use