Be very careful when you buy USB-C cables - they're not all the same

Be very careful when you buy USB-C cables - they're not all the same

USB-C has been a hot topic this fall, with Apple leading the way. In compliance with the European Commission's regulations, iPhones are transitioning to USB-C from their proprietary Lightning connector. This change makes it convenient for users with multiple USB-C accessories. However, it's not as straightforward as it seems.

USB-C is universally celebrated for its remarkable versatility. It serves various purposes, including device charging, data transfer, and audio/video functionalities. However, beneath its universal design, USB-C has a number of complex functions and specifications. This emphasizes the importance of selecting the right cable for specific applications. 

USB-C for data transfers

For data transfers, USB-C doesn't inherently guarantee faster speeds. The velocity hinges on the USB standard employed, ranging from USB 2.0 at 480 Mbit/s to USB 4 at a rapid 40 Gbit/s. For users seeking swift data transfers between the latest iPhone 15 Pro/15 Pro Max and a USB 3.2 Gen 2-compatible computer, choosing a USB-C cable aligned with this standard is imperative. However, for iPhone 15/15 Plus, the USB 2.0 standard proves sufficient.

USB-C for audio/video support 

When it comes to audio and video support, USB-C can also accommodate Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 standards, and does so with speeds of 40 Gbit/s. These standards facilitate the transmission of audio and video signals through HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2, enabling compatibility with 4K or 8K UHD displays. It's crucial to verify that both your device and cable feature a lightning bolt symbol to ensure Thunderbolt compatibility.

USB-C for charging and power delivery

For charging purposes, USB-C incorporates power delivery capabilities.  USB-C supports bi-directional power delivery, meaning that it can not only deliver power to a device, but also receive power. However, not all cables offer the same power levels (ranging from 5 W to 240 W). Choosing the appropriate cable depends on your device's power requirements. Whenever possible, use the cable provided by the manufacturer, or opt for certified cables from reputable brands like Belkin, Anker, or uGree to mitigate the risk of overheating and damage.

USB-C for peripheral connectivity

USB-C is widely used for connecting various peripherals. It can support adapters, hubs, external hard drives, printers, and other USB-enabled devices.

In essence, while USB-C stands out as a versatile standard, its complexity demands careful consideration. Selecting the right cable tailored to your specific needs, whether for data transfer, audio/video support, charging, or for peripherals, is crucial for ensuring safe, efficient, and optimal usage of this technology.