March 23, 2023
Goodbye, Lightning Cable: How to prepare for your first USB-C iPhone

Goodbye, Lightning Cable: How to prepare for your first USB-C iPhone

Apple’s Lightning connector may finally be dead. Thanks to European Union regulators, all phones, tablets and cameras will have to use the USB-C charging standard, which means the iPhone will be kicked and screamed into adopting the USB port. -VS.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, reluctantly admitted that “we have no choice” but to move away from a proprietary charger to the more universal USB-C plug. While we’re still a long way from a fully USB-C compatible iPhone, it’s never too early to prepare for change and learn how you’ll charge your phone when it happens.

Why USB-C?

(Credit: Jaromond/Shutterstock)

The European Parliament confirms(Opens in a new window) that USB Type-C will become the new standard for portable devices, both for charging and data transfers, to reduce e-waste, deliver faster charging speeds, and give users the choice to buy a new device with or without a charger.

Regulators also want to eliminate the “lock-in effect” that keeps users tied to one company. For example, iPhone owners currently depend on Apple to provide Lightning Connector charging.

By mandating USB-C, customers have more choices when it comes to the power accessories they purchase for their devices. You can buy a fast charger or power bank from any company and it would be compatible with your device. Already available USB-C chargers would also work without the need for an adapter.

Why hasn’t Apple already switched to USB-C?

Apple website shows what's included with the iPhone 14

When you buy a new iPhone, you only get one charging cable. (Credit: Apple)

Android devices, and even Apple’s iPad, have embraced USB-C. Why doesn’t the iPhone have? First, Apple still has time before the mandate takes effect. Despite the new standard being set in October 2022, the warrant won’t become enforceable until late 2024. But Apple has reason to resist converting before then.

Although Apple has never directly stated that profit is the primary driver in the fight against USB-C standardization, Apple has created its own MFi (Made for iPhone) certification program.(Opens in a new window), which regulates the quality of cables and accessories from third-party manufacturers and pays a commission on sales to Apple. Presumably adopting USB-C would end this program and disable a valuable revenue stream.

Apple also said(Opens in a new window) that sticking to the iPhone’s Lightning port has more to do with the amount of waste that could be created as millions of iPhone users are forced to throw away those cables. The company has already ditched the power adapter and EarPods with new phones, starting with the iPhone 12, in the name of environmentalism.

These days, all that’s included in a new iPhone box is a Lightning to USB-C cable, which means customers either have to use their old Lightning to USB-A adapters or buy new chargers from Apple. . The company says many people already own power adapters and don’t need another one to create clutter, but removing that power adapter, while still charging the same price for the phone, may seem more of a cash grab than a sustainability move.

When will Apple release the first USB-C iPhone?

Agius Saliba Alex, EU rapporteur holds a USB-C charger

EU rapporteur Agius Saliba Alex says a USB-C charger is the future of technology in Europe. (Credit: European Union)

Given that the EU mandate comes into effect at the end of 2024, Apple’s release schedule could mean that the iPhone 16 will be the first USB-C iPhone. The iPhone 17 in September 2025 is also a possibility if Apple can get one more model before the law takes effect.

Then again, just because there’s an expiration date doesn’t mean Apple can’t release a USB-C iPhone sooner. It should be noted that there is already a rumor that the iPhone 15 will be Apple’s first USB-C phone in 2023.

Before you get carried away, it is important to note that this mandate only concerns countries of the European Union. No regulations require Apple to manufacture such a device in the United States. The same applies to international customers outside the EU. However, it may ultimately make more financial and logistical sense for Apple to create a single iPhone model with a single port instead of creating a USB-C model for Europe and a Lightning port model for the rest. of the world.

How to Prepare for a USB-C iPhone

close-up of the USB-C port on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 2021

Apple’s 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a USB-C port. (Credit: Molly Flores)

Now that it’s a solid assumption that a USB-C iPhone is at least one to two years away, you have time to prepare. However, since many Android phones, headphones, speakers and other devices support the standard, you may already have everything you need at home.

If you have certain models of iPad or MacBook, the USB-C charger that came with your device will also work with your iPhone. Here are the models that have USB-C charging:

  • 11-inch iPad Pro (1st generation or later)

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation or later)

  • iPad Air (4th generation or later)

  • iPad mini (6th generation)

  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2016 or later

  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later

  • MacBook introduced in 2015 or later

Since current iPhone models come with a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box, it’s safe to assume that the USB-C iPhone will include a USB-C cable, which should allow you to plug in your phone on a computer in order to charge.

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usb charger

Apple’s USB-C chargers for its iPad line should also charge a phone. (Credit: Apple)

If you don’t have any USB-C devices in your house (or no extra cables lying around), you’ll need to purchase a USB-C power adapter and/or cable to charge your iPhone through a wall outlet. Apple already sells a number of USB-C power adapters and cables:

Since Apple’s current charging cables are Lightning to USB-C, it should be USB-C to USB-C when the change occurs. This could mean you’ll need a dongle to fit into your laptop which may only have USB-A ports.

What about MagSafe and wireless charging?

apple magsafe battery

Apple’s MagSafe battery sticks to the back of the phone. (Credit: Steven Winkelman)

If you don’t want to worry about wired compatibility, many people have opted to charge their smartphones wirelessly. This allows you to lay your phone on a wireless charging pad to start charging the device. Since iPhone 12, MagSafe wireless chargers, such as Apple’s Battery and Charger Duo, can magnetically connect to the back of your iPhone.

Wireless charging makes figuring out which cables connect to which adapters even less of a concern, but there are still reasons to have a working USB-C cable and adapter.

Although there are fast wireless chargers on the market, a wired connection is generally faster across the board. You can also take advantage of Apple’s higher-wattage power adapters, which are specially designed to charge your device faster.

Also, wireless charging accessories can’t transfer data from one device to another, so you’ll still need a cable to create an encrypted backup of your iPhone on your computer. Also, if you have an older home theater receiver or car stereo, you’ll need to physically connect the two with a cable.

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