There’s no Lightning on the iPhone 15, prepare for USB-C

Are you an iPhone user and want to upgrade to… iPhone? Well, you’ll have more to consider this time around since the new iPhone 15 comes with a USB-C port, ending 11 years of using the company’s proprietary Lightning charging jack.

USB Type-C (or simply USB-C) is the universal connector for charging and data transfer, and it’s now found on almost every modern gadget, including Apple’s iPad and MacBook. This may be the last cable we need.

Do I need to buy new chargers?

Apple has made us buy new cables before, but this time you probably already have everything you need to charge your new iPhone. Apple stopped including charging bricks with the iPhone 12 in 2020, but the 15 and 15 Pro at least come with a short C-to-C cable in the box.

To get the fastest charging speeds on an iPhone 15, you’ll need at least a 20W USB-C charger. If you’ve purchased a MacBook since 2015 or an iPad Pro since 2018, their USB-C chargers included work great, even if they are larger than you actually need. You can get a small 20W GaN charger for less than $15. A lot of Edge staff members like the Anker one.

Just about any USB charger will work in a pinch. If the charger has a USB-A port, you’ll need a USB-A to C cable to connect to your phone and probably a magnifying glass to try to read its power output settings. USB-A chargers can top out at around 18W, which is pretty close, but these are relatively rare. Chargers for less powerful devices like headphones or older phone chargers – like the little white cubes that Apple used to ship with the iPhone 11 and earlier – are more likely to be 5 W or 10W at best, and they will take a long time to charge. your phone. Spend $15 for a good USB-C charger.

As an iPhone user, you may already have multiple charging setups with Lightning cables in every room. In this case, simply replace the cables. If you don’t already have a bunch of USB-C cables lying around – or if you do, but you don’t know what kind There are USB-C cables – it’s time to get them. But before you head to Amazon and throw the first discounted cable that wins the site’s search results into your cart, know that USB-C cables aren’t necessarily something you want to buy on the cheap.

I found this Apple 5W USB charger in drawer A and a Samsung Galaxy USB-A-to-USB-C cable in drawer B.
Photo by Umar Shakir/The Verge

As an iPhone user, you may already have Lightning cables installed in every room and will only need to replace the cable while keeping the power adapter where it is. But if you only have wall warts and don’t have any USB-C cables to use with them (except the one that will come in the iPhone 15 box), then it’s time to go shopping.

But before you head to Amazon and throw the first discounted cable that wins the site’s search results into your cart, know that USB-C cables aren’t necessarily something you want to buy. Also cheap.

Okay, what type of USB-C cables should I buy?

USB-C is a mess. Some cables can charge a MacBook Pro quickly but transfer data at a glacial pace. Others can perform fast data transfer, but are too short and inflexible to really be used for daily charging. Despite some labeling efforts, it’s almost impossible to tell at a glance which cables do what.

Anyone can put a USB-C plug on a cable and sell it online. From time to time this causes problems. It’s rare these days to find a cable that will fry your device, but there’s no reason not to look for USB-IF compliance. The USB Implementers Forum (or USB-IF) invites USB-C cable manufacturers to submit their electrical noodles to compliance testing. Those who do the testing get a cool logo for their packaging that also lets customers know what kind of charging power and data transfer speeds they can expect. When purchasing a cable, try to see if the manufacturer uses a logo or at least indicates that the cable is USB-IF certified (and if that’s true, its cable should appear on the USB product search site).

As for specific types of cables to look for, here’s the incredibly short version: For charging, you should get a USB-C-to-C, USB 2.0 cable, six or 10 feet long, ideally USB certified -IF. There’s no real reason to get anything with a charging capacity greater than 60W, but there isn’t much difference in price between cables rated at 60W, 100W, or 240W, and a premium cable will work great for a phone. Don’t worry about the data transfer speed for this cable; you don’t transfer data with it.

Yes, the cable provided in the box is perfectly suitable for charging. It’s just short. A six or ten foot cable is much nicer to charge. A 6.6-foot 100W USB-IF charging cable costs less than $15.

If you’re planning to copy data from your new iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max, specifically to transfer your video footage to a computer faster than AirDrop, you’ll need a cable that can transfer data at high speeds. iPhone 15 Pro models support USB 3 at up to 10Gbps, so you’ll need a cable rated for at least 10Gbps. In the new simplified USB-IF brand, this is USB 10 Gbps. Older cables may say USB 3.1 Gen 2 or USB 3.2 Gen 1×2 or USB 3.2 Gen 2. A 3-foot USB-IF certified 10Gbps cable And The 100W cable also costs less than $15.

The “simplified” brand of USB-IF, released in 2022. For data transfer with the iPhone 15 Pro, look for at least USB 10 Gbps.
Image: USB-IF

Unless you’re ultra-minimalist or buying a cable for your travel kit, get separate cables for your daily charging and data transfer, preferably in different colors.

Speaking of travel: You might be tempted to look for a powered-only charging cable, but that doesn’t meet USB-C specifications; any power only cable is poorly wired by definition and not worth the risk. It’s best to bring your own charger and never plug your phone into someone else’s USB port.

And those MagSafe chargers?

You can bypass USB-C entirely and just charge your iPhone 15 wirelessly instead.

Apple launched a whole new ecosystem of accessories with MagSafe when it launched the iPhone 12. It uses magnets to align a Qi-based charging coil on the back, which opens up fun new charging options like floating iPhone docks. Apple even added a cool StandBy software feature in iOS 17 that turns the iPhone screen into a fancy clock with widgets when placed on a MagSafe dock.

There are plenty of MagSafe charging options.
Photo by Antonio G. Di Benedetto/The Verge

If you buy Apple’s MagSafe charging puck, you’ll still need a USB-C power adapter capable of at least 20W charging to make it work. MagSafe-certified options will, at best, charge iPhones at 15W. And non-Apple “MagSafe-compatible” options will only provide 7.5W of power to iPhones. However, Apple announced that the iPhone 15 will support the magnet-based Qi2 charging standard, meaning it will likely open the phone faster and faster. cheaper options that probably won’t destroy your iPhone like a bad USB-C cable will.

It looks nice. Do I need all MagSafe?

Wireless charging has its benefits, but USB-C is even better most of the time.

MagSafe chargers carefully placed in thoughtful locations around your home, like on your work desk or end table, are a great complement to charging and using your iPhone, especially when you’re hands-free . However, wired charging with USB-C is faster and is less likely to heat up your iPhone compared to the inefficiencies of wireless charging in general.

What else should I know?

It’s time for a mass of Lightning to USB-C dongles to flood the market, but don’t buy them. These adapters are less convenient to plug in and those not MFi certified could damage your iPhone 15 or the Lightning cable you are using. Just buy a USB-C cable – unless you have a special Lightning accessory, like a microphone or other adapter, that you can’t live without, in which case you can buy the Lightning to USB-C dongle quite expensively from Apple at $29.

That said, if your special Lightning accessories aren’t mission-critical, USB-C has been around for a decade, which means a whole world of dongles, adapters, hubs, and docks has just come open up before you, including items you may already own if you’ve been living the dongle life for a while.

Apple also sells its own USB-C cables, but you’ll pay the steep price of $69 for the data-capable one. That’s because it’s designed to run USB4/Thunderbolt 4 equipment, docking stations, multiple 4K displays, high-speed data transfers and more simultaneously, while also offering 100W charging. is excessive for the iPhone 15 and is not very flexible, so you should ignore it. But if you want the extra capabilities offered by the Apple option, there are cheaper options like this one from Cable Matters.

For Apple CarPlay users: Unless your vehicle already supports wireless CarPlay, you will need a USB-C cable, either USB-C-to-C or A-to-C, depending the age of your car. Otherwise, MagSafe mounts could make using your iPhone in your car cleaner and safer.

Switching to the universal standard is good, right?

USB-C can feel a little more fragile than Lightning because the plug is more complex (and has a space to trap lint in the port). And the catch). However, the new connector is otherwise a huge upgrade. Lightning cannot transfer data at high speeds and, most importantly, does not work with other devices.

With Lightning gone, there could be a sudden influx of e-waste as Apple users trade in their devices for the new iPhone 15. This was one of Apple’s main arguments in dithering on the mandate for the European Union that all smartphones must switch to USB-C.

If you no longer need your lighting cable, see if you can sell it or give it to someone who can. Otherwise, Apple, Best Buy and others will recycle them for free.

Switching to USB-C won’t be a walk in the park and you’ll be faced with choice fatigue when it comes to selecting new cables, power adapters and accessories. But the most important thing to remember is that USB-C is here to stay. And as long as Apple adheres to universal standards, you may never have to do it again.


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