On September 13, 2023, Apple officially released the iPhone 15 series of mobile phones and a new generation of Apple Watch. One good news is that the iPhone 15 also uses a “new” USB Type-C interface. There is confusion about whether the Android data cable is compatible with the iPhone 15. I will answer this question as well as related ones in the course of this post.
Why Is The iPhone Using USB-C Now?
Contrary to what many people imagine, the iPhone’s switch to USB-C was not driven by the EU’s pressure and huge fines.
Undeniably, Apple would have launched the iPhone 15 and AirPods that use the USB-C interface in 2023, regardless of EU interference. This will be in addition to the USB-C interface versions of MagSafe batteries, keyboards, trackpads, and other accessories.
However, according to relevant sources, Apple considered bringing the USB-C interface to the iPhone at least five years ago when the iPad Pro switched to the USB-C interface.
Apple began testing USB-C iPhones in 2018. The “agreement to switch to USB-C in 2023” was as a result of negotiations between Apple and relevant agencies.
Why Did Apple Wait Until 2023 Before Switching The iPhone To USB-C?
As for why Apple is still holding on to the Lightning interface until 2023 when the USB-C version of the iPhone was available five years ago? The reason is straightforward:
Switching to USB-C will not fundamentally increase iPhone sales. After all, Apple has not seen iPhone sales drop for so many years.
However, switching to USB-C is equivalent to directly giving up on the MFi established by relying on the Lightning interface.
Indeed, even if the iPhone switches to USB-C, brands close to Apple, such as Belkin and Mophie, will still renew the “USB-C version of MFi.” However, as Belkin is Apple’s “direct accessory brand, it secretly launches “USB-C MFi.
Judging from the “MagSafe compatible” wireless power bank, Apple seems to have seen the uncertainty of the future of the MFi market, so it negotiated a time point of “switching to USB-C in 2023”.
What Impact Will The iPhone Switch To USB-C Have on Ordinary Users?
- Switching your iPhone to USB-C will not substantially impact you if you only have one mobile phone, apart from replacing the Lightning accessories. It may be more convenient to borrow data cables from non-iPhone users.
- Switching to USB-C for your iPhone is great news if you use both an iPhone and an Android phone. You can use the same set of charging equipment to charge the iPhone and mobile phones of other brands.
- Switching to USB-C means that the iPhone can be charged directly with the charging cable of an Android phone, and there is no need to carry an extra cable when going out.
Will charging become faster?
As for the charging speed, unfortunately, this year’s iPhone still uses 18W (20W) PD fast charging, and the charging speed has not changed.
However, in terms of wireless charging, Apple has added Qi 2 wireless charging support to the iPhone 15 series. Even if it is not an MFM (Made for MagSafe) certified accessory, you should be able to use 15W wireless charging.
Does this USB-C For The iPhone Have Encryption?
There is no encryption; the cable and port are entirely universal.
Many think Apple will use chips to “encrypt” USB-C and create a “MFiC” ecosystem. Some even believe that iPhone and Android USB-C are not compatible. Considering the prevalence of conspiracy theories and blackmail in the digital community, I can understand why they might think so.
But as I said before, the iPad Pro has used the USB-C interface since 2018, and after many years of updates, it has been the first to use USB4.
The USB-C incompatibility that some marketing accounts “expected” does not exist.
However, some USB-C accessories on the market must be used with iOS and Android apps, such as the FLIR thermal imaging camera. Although the FLIR ONE uses a USB-C interface, the FLIR ONE App on the iPad Pro cannot read this camera.
This situation may also appear in the iPhone 15 series and require subsequent FLIR adaptation before it can be used.
But considering that most people will not use such complex accessories on their mobile phones, for most plug-and-play USB-C devices, such as wired headphones, power banks, USB card readers, and other devices, iPhone 15 USB-C should be no different from Android phones.
Android Data Cable is Compatible with iPhone 15: What is the difference between USB-C and Type-C?
Now, the question is, can the Android Type-C cable charge the iPhone 15 and newer? Definitely, USB-C is Type-C, and Android data cable can charge iPhone 15 and vice versa.
Are “USB-C and Type-C different?.”The answer is No! USB-C’s full name is USB Type-C, which everyone usually calls Type-C.
USB is a standard for a class of interfaces. Common ones include USB Type-A, commonly used for U disks. USB Type-C is widely used for printers and USB Type-C that we are familiar with.
Since only USB Type-A was common in the early years, everyone is accustomed to directly using USB to refer to USB Type-A. But after USB-C appeared, everyone continued to call USB Type-A USB and USB Type-C is called Type-C to facilitate verbal distinction.
If you still can’t understand, let’s look at Chinese:
The Universal Serial Bus Type C (USB-C) is the same as the Universal Serial Bus Type C interface (USB Type-C).
As long as it is per USB-IF regulations, has not been modified by the brand, and supports PD, it can be used with a PD 20W charging head to fast charge the iPhone, and conversely, it can also fast charge Android phones that support PD fast charging.
Can a MacBook Power Adapter charge an iPhone?
As I just said, USB-C is Type-C, so the Mac charger can quickly charge the iPhone. Some people may worry that a high-power Mac power adapter will damage a low-power iPhone, but there is no need to worry.
Regular and qualified chargers will conduct a quick “handshake” with the electronic control in the mobile phone before charging to confirm that both parties can safely work. The input power, voltage, current combination, and power transfer will be according to the handshake results.
Even if I use a 100W TB3 cable to plug the iPhone 15, which can only consume 20W, into a 240W power adapter, the adapter will still power the iPhone 15 in 20W PD mode after the two parties shake hands.
In addition, Apple’s website clearly states that the Mac power adapter can be used for the iPhone 15 series. See the image below:
Instead of worrying about this, it is better to worry that some cheap chargers have stopped support for low-voltage mode to control costs, causing the charger to fail to handshake and burn out the electrical equipment. Against this backdrop, I will advise you to use only original chargers.
Although we can use a Mac’s power adapter to charge the iPhone, the conversation needs to be discussed separately. The minimum power requirement to trigger fast charging of the iPhone 15 series is PD 20W. For general charging, 5W or even lower is acceptable. But to charge a MacBook, the power adapter must meet at least the PD 35W requirement.
If you equip your iPhone 15 with a PD 35W or higher power adapter, you can charge your iPhone and Mac with the same chargers. But if you only have one PD 20W appliance, since it cannot meet the minimum power requirement of a MacBook, the two parties will not enter the power delivery state after a successful handshake.
There will also be a pop-up window on the Mac notifying you that the device is not charging.
Why Are Transmission Rates Different Between the Base iPhone 15 and Pro Series?
This problem is not far-fetched. To reduce the cost of the iPhone 15 series, Apple cut off the USB 3.0 protocol support of the iPhone 15. This means that even if the iPhone 15 digital series changes to the USB-C interface, it still uses the 2.0 protocol. .
If You Can’t Tell What an Interface is and What a Protocol is, Here is An Example
A complete USB-C interface has 24 pins, 12 on each side. Some Android phone brands that like to reduce costs may cut off a few, thereby reducing the pins 12.
Let’s think of these 12 pins as a 12-lane road. The agreement refers to what kind of cars are running on these 12 lanes. If you don’t care about the cost, you can use Concorde (high-speed protocol, such as USB40Gbps) on these 12 lanes to transport goods (transmit data).
However, not all companies are willing to use such a high configuration, and not all users need such fast transmission speeds. So, the iPhone 15 equipped this 12-lane highway with several three-bouncers to transport goods ( low-speed protocols, such as USB 2.0). Compared with the Lightning era, the number of these three-wheelers has not increased but has changed from 8 lanes to 12 lanes.
So, how slow were iPhones in the past at transferring data, and how slow is the iPhone 15 now?
One more thing: the transmission speed of the iPhone 15 Pro series is 10Gbps, and Apple labels it as USB 3.0 protocol. But according to USB-IF specifications, this so-called “USB 3.0” is also called “USB 3.1 Gen 2” and “USB 3.2 Gen 2×1”.
According to the latest USB4 naming convention, this interface should be called “SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps”.
Can’t tell the names apart? It doesn’t matter, except for USB-IF. Everyone thinks this name is complicated.
Does the iPhone 15 series Need A Special Cable And Adapter?
As I just said, USB-C and Type-C are the same thing. Considering the poor popularity of active thunderbolt interface( TB3) devices, as long as it is a qualified USB-C cable that can transmit data, it can be used directly.
There is no need to convert the iPhone 15’s USB-C to Lightning first and then connect other accessories. As long as they are USB-C and plug-and-play, most accessories can directly interoperate with each other.
But if you have purchased some special accessories, such as the Lightning interface version of FLIR ONE PRO that needs to be used with the App, then you should consider the transfer solution.
What Impact Will This Switch Have on the MFi Ecosystem And the Third-Party Accessories Market?
Judging from the current situation, the iPhone’s switch to USB-C interface is not as simple as changing the interface. This means that Apple’s MFi ecological empire, which has been operating for many years, has collapsed from a factual point of view.
From a user’s perspective, switching to USB-C means that Apple will fully open up the third-party accessories ecosystem. Technically, the only advantage of established MFi accessory companies such as Belkin and Mophie is their in-depth cooperation with Apple, which allows them to obtain the most accurate related product molds in advance.
Also, for Apple, switching to USB-C means that Apple must accelerate the technology accumulation of the MagSafe ecosystem.
There is no doubt that MagSafe is the next Lightning interface. It can be opened to third parties and added to the Qi 2 ecosystem, but Apple completely controls it.
For third-party brands, the launch of MagSafe products can not only adapt to Apple’s products but also obtain safer and more usable Qi wireless charging technology, and this technology can also be applied to support Qi wireless charging.
On other mobile phones, it can be said that it kills three birds with one stone.
In addition to building an ecological kingdom, MagSafe has a more important task: cultivating users’ “wireless” operating habits. Since the invention of mobile phones, mobile phones have been developing on the road of integration.
From removable batteries to eSIM, major brands hope to reduce the number of moving parts in mobile phones and make them non-porous.
And when the iPhone no longer relies on USB data interfaces, it will be the day Apple rebuilds its MFi empire.