With advancements in technology, USB-C has taken us even closer to having a truly standard universal connector. And with more windows and Mac devices featuring the interface, you can tell that it is here to stay.
We have seen Apple transition several of its devices from the lighting connector, which has been prominent on iPhones since its debut in 2012, to USB-C including the iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and most recently, the iPad Air.
Now, will Apple still use USB-C on future iPhone models?
Apple’s Environmental Concerns
Apple started giving out fewer accessories with every phone claiming that this would lead to the use of fewer materials. The other reason was that the iPhone box size would decrease making shipping more efficient. Therefore, as from 2020 iPhone boxes come only with the actual phone and a Lightning to USB-C cable with an additional aim of removing duplicate waste.
Environmentally Friendly, Really?
Furthermore, Apple’s pitch does not make much sense especially when we focus on power adapters. The multi-billion company stated that there are already billions of power adapters owned by their customers. But a significant percentage of these adapters use the USB-A standard, which is not compatible with the Lightning to USB-C cable that comes packed in the iPhone’s box. The main reason for the significant portion of the USB-A adapters being out there is since Apple only started putting USB-C power adapters in the box in 2019.
And even so, it was only limited to pro models.
Apple’s MFi Business
Another reason that makes it highly unlikely for Apple to consider fully switching to USB-C is due to their MFi business. Apple MFi is a licensing program for developers of software and hardware peripherals that work with iPhone/iPod/iPad. Therefore, Apple earns royalties through the manufacturers who in turn get an MFi badge on their product packaging.
iPhone Charging Options Comparison
As we already mentioned, the iPhone does not come with chargers of any sort except for the USB-C to lighting cable. Interestingly enough, this cable is not even compatible with USB-A adapters hence you will need the new Apple USB-C brick to take full advantage of faster charging speeds. But if you don’t mind, the previous USB-A adapter is also available.
The Apple charger is rated at 20W. However, you could also opt for the wireless option thanks to Apple’s MagSafe wireless charger that offers up to 15W of charging juice. MagSafe takes the form of a puck that attaches magnetically to the back of your phone. That being said you will still need to buy a 20W brick to use the wireless charger.
iPhone 13 Charging Speeds: 20W vs MagSafe vs 5W
Let’s see how these charging options compare below:
USB-C 20W Charger
UGREEN’s 20W mini charger came as the 5W brick successor which came with previous iPhone models. The 20W option of course offers an obvious improvement in charging performance and additionally comes at a much cheaper price than Apple’s original 5V1A charger.
According to our test, the 20W charger will get your phone’s battery percentage up to roughly 50% in 30 minutes. This speed is fast enough for most users. That being said, you will get even better performance results if you connect the charger to the iPhone 12 mini as it packs a much smaller battery.
USB-A 5V1A Charger
As expected the USB-A 5V1A comes last in terms of charging performance when plugged into an iPhone 12 with the USB-A to Lightning port cable. This is no surprise at all as it only offers 5W. This brick will bring your iPhone 12’s charge up to a measly 21% in 30 minutes. This is not at all great when compared to the other options, but it’s the option available to most iPhone owners.
Therefore, unlike most Android flagships that come with everything required for fast charging right in the box, iPhone users have to spend more time and money to get their phones charged. So that’s why you’ll need PD chargers to meet your fast charging needs.
MagSafe wireless charger comes second to the 20W option in terms of charging speeds. MagSafe will get your battery percentage up to 30% in 30 minutes. Although the charging speed is not impressive, it isn’t too bad for wireless charging. There is a good reason for this as wireless systems are usually characterized by lower wattages and are generally less efficient since they lose more energy as heat.
Pros And Cons For Apple Switching To USB-C Port For iPhone
- Most people already own USB-C devices and cables. iPhone switching to USB-C would mean that the USB-C cable they provide would be more useful. This could mean they wouldn’t have to provide a charging cable in the box hence reducing e-waste.
- USB-C offers faster-charging speeds. While Apple’s can hold its own when it comes to speed, USB-C is still faster.
- Since USB-C is the industry standard, most companies offer USB-C devices.
- The USB-C connector is thicker. While this is not a major downside, devices would have to compromise a bit on thinness.
- USB-C ports are not only delicate but also expensive.
It is still unlikely that Apple will fully switch to USB-C due to the reasons above. They would likely stick to Lightning since it would be easier to control the security and quality of their cables. In fact, there is a higher possibility that Apple might fully switch to the wireless charger.
Related article: USB-C vs Lightning: What’s the Difference?