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Understanding USB-C

The introduction of the USB-C port as the standard charging and data port for the iPhone 15 family has brought attention to the often confusing world of USB-C cables and adapters.


While the USB-C connector is familiar to many iPad users, its implementation in iPhones has caused some confusion.



Understanding the various types of USB-C cables and adapters available is crucial to ensuring your device functions correctly, whether you're charging it or connecting it to other devices.


Key Points to Remember


USB-C is a Connector, Not a Cable Type


First and foremost, it’s important to understand that USB-C refers to the shape and size of the connector, not the capabilities of the cable itself. This distinction is crucial when selecting the appropriate cable or adapter for your needs.


Charging vs. Data Transfer


If your iPhone 15 fails to connect to wired CarPlay, or is not recognized by your vehicle's entertainment system, computer, or other device when using a USB-C cable or adapter, the issue may lie in the type of cable you're using.


While the cable included with your iPhone supports both charging and data transfer, not all USB-C cables do.


Understanding USB-C Cable Types


Charge-Only Accessories


Charge-only USB-C cables and adapters are designed solely for charging and do not support data transfer. These accessories may not be labeled clearly, and their retail packaging often omits this crucial information.


The only reliable way to determine their capabilities is to check the vendor's specifications on the manufacturer’s or seller’s website.


Data Transfer Capabilities


USB-C cables that support data transfer can vary in their data transfer speeds. However, all Apple USB-C cables and adapters, including the one that comes with your iPhone, support both charging and data transfer.


Thunderbolt 3 and 4 Cables


Thunderbolt 3 and 4 cables, which use the USB-C connector, are an exception to the ambiguity. These cables are marked with the Thunderbolt logo on the sleeve of each connector and support all USB-C functions, including charging and high-speed data transfer.


They are fully compatible with all USB-C devices and provide a reliable solution for both charging and data transfer needs.


Practical Advice for iPhone 15 Users


Ensuring Compatibility with CarPlay and Other Devices


If your vehicle supports wired CarPlay or you need to connect your iPhone to your vehicle's entertainment system via a USB jack, ensure you use a USB-C cable or adapter that supports both charging and data transfer.


Using a charge-only cable will result in your phone charging without connecting to CarPlay or being recognized as a USB device.


The same principle applies when connecting your iPhone to a USB jack on a computer or other devices. For full functionality, a cable that supports both charging and data transfer is essential.


Identifying Charge-Only Accessories


According to the USB Implementers Forum, charge-only USB-C accessories cannot use the official USB logo. However, the lack of this logo on many USB-C accessories makes this an unreliable method for consumers.


Therefore, it's essential to investigate the specifications of the USB-C cable or adapter you intend to purchase, ensuring it supports both charging and data transfer.


Further Resources


This third-party video explains the differences between USB-C cables and why Apple's high-quality Thunderbolt 4 cable is more expensive than competitors’ cables:




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