What Is USB-C? Will It Exchange All Different USB Connectors?

If you happen to purchased any digital gadget not too long ago, it most likely has a USB-C port. Not too way back, all smartphones and tablets got here with Micro-USB, however that tiny gap on the backside of your devices has now advanced into one thing far more highly effective and helpful.

So, let’s have a look at what USB-C is, how briskly it’s, why it isn’t totally mainstream but, and its generations. We’ll additionally clear frequent misconceptions about USB-C, inform you the way it differs from USB 3 and different complicated requirements, and evaluate it with Apple’s Lightning connectors.

That is the whole lot you could find out about USB-C.

What Is USB-C?

USB-C or USB Kind-C is the newest common customary for wired connection of good gadgets. It is the successor to older requirements, reminiscent of Micro-USB and USB-A, which can be nonetheless frequent however fading rapidly. A giant promoting level of USB-C is its reversible pill-shaped design that permits you to insert the plug into your machine face up or face down.

If you happen to’ve purchased a brand new cellphone, pill, or laptop computer within the final couple of years, it most likely has a USB-C port—it is what makes quick charging and quick information switch doable. The exception is the iPhone, which nonetheless makes use of a Lightning connector. We’ll evaluate each later within the article.


USB-C was launched in 2014, however since new USB requirements are sluggish to be adopted, there are nonetheless elements of the world the place it isn’t mainstream. A USB-C connector has 24 pins in whole, that means 12 on all sides. Out of those 24 pins, 16 are for information switch, 4 are for charging, and 4 are floor pins.

How Quick Is USB-C?

One frequent false impression is the belief that every one USB-C cables are quick. That is not true. In actuality, the “C” in USB-C solely refers back to the form of the connector and plug.

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In different phrases, USB-C is barely a bodily customary and never an information customary. You can’t inform how briskly a USB-C cable will likely be except you have a look at its information customary.

USB information requirements reminiscent of USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, or 4 assist us know the pace of a cable. Principally, letters signify the form, and numbers signify pace. We’ll clarify information requirements intimately within the subsequent part; please confer with the connected desk.

The Drawback With USB-C

Earlier than we see why USB-C is nice, we should first acknowledge its greatest downside: complicated naming conventions. USB Implementers Discussion board (USB-IF) is the group that invented USB-C and is liable for naming and mainstreaming new USB requirements. However for some purpose, it retains renaming present information requirements.

As an example, the USB 3.0 customary was launched in 2008 and was formally known as “USB 3.1 Gen 1” at launch however is now known as “USB 3.2 Gen 1”. Equally, the USB 3.2 customary is formally known as “USB 3.2 Gen 2×2”. These complicated terminologies are maybe the largest purpose behind the sluggish adoption of USB-C.

Hopefully, the desk beneath will make issues clear.

USB-C Generations and Speeds

Technology Launch Date Max Pace Official Outdated Title Official New Title Compatibility Advertising Phrases
USB 2.0 2000 480Mbps None USB 2.0 USB-A, MicroUSB, USB-C Hello-Pace USB
USB 3.0 2008 5Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 USB-A, MicroUSB, USB-C SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps
USB 3.1 2013 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-A, MicroUSB, USB-C SuperSpeed+ USB 10Gbps
USB 3.2 2017 20Gbps None USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 USB-C SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps
USB 4 2019 40Gbps None USB4 USB-C USB4 40Gbps

If you happen to can ignore the complicated names for a second, you will discover the dramatic bump in pace with each era. You may additionally discover that the newer pace requirements are solely appropriate with USB-C, not USB-A or MicroUSB cables. However as we talked about earlier, new requirements take numerous time to turn out to be mainstream.

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For reference, Samsung’s newest flagship cellphone, the Galaxy S22 Extremely, has a USB 3.2 pace of 20 Gbps, however the mid-range Galaxy A53 nonetheless has a USB 2.0 pace of simply 480 Mbps. Since data about these information requirements is not widespread, corporations really feel no strain to improve their manufacturing course of to undertake new requirements.

The quickest information customary thus far is USB 4, which clocks as much as 40 Gbps. It is vital to notice that USB 4 relies on Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt 3 is a proprietary {hardware} interface made by Intel in late 2015; Apple was the primary main tech firm to begin utilizing it commercially for its 2016 MacBook Professional laptops.

Later in 2019, Intel contributed the Thunderbolt 3 specification to the USB Implementers Discussion board to assist set up the brand new USB 4 information customary that producers may freely use on their gadgets. This helped deliver 40 Gbps switch speeds into the mainstream. Merely put, USB4 is the royalty-free model of Thunderbolt 3.

Yet one more factor to recollect is that the numbers you see listed here are most theoretical speeds. In actual life, USB cables attain anyplace from 60% to 80% of the on-paper pace of their respective requirements, relying on the standard of the cable you are shopping for.

Distinction Between USB-C, USB 3, and Thunderbolt 3

It is a quite common query, so let’s reply it as soon as and for all.

USB-C USB 3 Thunderbolt 3
What’s it Bodily customary for USB connectors with 24 pins and a reversible pill-shaped design; launched in 2014 Umbrella time period containing three generations of information requirements: USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and USB 3.2; launched in 2008 and resulted in 2017; makes use of USB-C, USB-A, and MicroUSB Proprietary {hardware} interface constructed by Intel in 2015; makes use of USB-C; launched to USB-IF in 2019 for mass adoption within the type of USB4
How briskly is it Nil 5/10/20 Gbps relying on the era of information customary used 40 Gbps
The place to seek out it All trendy Android telephones and tablets, Home windows laptops, Chromebooks, gaming consoles, screens, earbuds, and smartwatches, together with choose Apple gadgets USB 3 information requirements are scattered throughout good devices primarily based on value and area; examine product descriptions for more information Apple MacBooks and different high-end laptops from totally different manufacturers and different basic USB gadgets
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Is USB-C Higher Than Lightning?

Sure, USB-C is best than Lightning in virtually each manner. Lightning connectors have a max information switch pace of simply 480 Mbps—that is USB 2.0 pace which was launched in 2000. Meaning trendy iPhones are nonetheless caught with a know-how that is greater than 20 years outdated!

Secondly, Lightning connectors are extremely sluggish in terms of charging in accordance with trendy requirements. Flagship Android telephones immediately can go anyplace from 45W to 100W or increased, whereas the newest iPhones solely go as much as about 25W.

It is a disgrace that Apple refuses to change to USB-C on iPhones regardless of its obvious advantages simply because doing so would imply shedding a bit of management over the ecosystem. To not point out the corporate’s revenue from promoting Lightning cables and adapters. In reality, the EU not too long ago mandated iPhones to change to USB-C by 2024.

All Sensible Devices Ought to Have USB-C

USB-C is the plain subsequent step for contemporary good devices, and it is already mainstream in lots of locations. As newer requirements emerge, our devices should evolve with them.

Going ahead, we hope the USB Implementers Discussion board will stay in line with its naming conventions and never make issues extra complicated than they should be. Eradicating all this confusion about USB-C will assist pace up its adoption and assist everybody.