USB-C and the iPhone 15: What the end of Lightning means for your Apple devices

It’s almost September, which means the unveiling of the iPhone 15 is just a couple of weeks away. Among the usual new colors and camera upgrades, all reports say the new iPhone will mark the end of Lightning, as Apple switches to USB-C like the iPad and Mac. So what will the new port mean for new iPhone users? Here’s everything we know so far.

When will the iPhone 15 arrive?

The iPhone 15 will be announced at Apple’s “Wonderlust” event on September 12.

Will all four models have USB-C ports?

Yes, Apple will reportedly move the entire iPhone 15 lineup to USB-C. However, the implementation might not be the same throughout the lineup–the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max may support faster data transfer and charging speeds while the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus could be slower.

Will my old iPhone cables work?

No, you’ll need a new USB-C-to-USB-C cable to charge the iPhone 15.

Will I need to buy a new cable?

Apple will supply a USB-C-to-USB-C cable in the box. According to rumors it will be a thicker braided cable that’s longer (1.5 meters) and colorized to match the iPhone’s color.

Will I need to buy a new charger?

It depends. Apple began using a USB-C-to-Lightning cable with the iPhone 12, the same model that also dropped the charger. So if you’re upgrading from an iPhone 12 or later, you likely bought your own 20W or higher USB-C charger. If you have one of the old 5W chargers with a USB-A port, you’ll need to buy a new one.

Parte inferior del iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro’s charging port will reportedly deliver faster speeds.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Will charging be faster?

We think so. While the iPhone 14 Pro supports 25W and the iPhone 14 supports 20W charging, the iPhone 15 Pro models are also expected to support fast charging up to 35W, which should bring a noticeable bump in charging speeds. You’ll need to use a charger that supports at least 35W to get the fastest charging, like the one that comes with a MacBook.

What about data transfers?

Here’s where things aren’t as clear. According to rumors, Apple will offer different speeds for the iPhone 15, with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus capped at 480Mbps and the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max getting Thunderbolt speeds up to 40Gbps, like the iPad Pro. 

Will I need to buy a Thunderbolt cable?

Probably. With the iPad Pro, Apple supplies a USB-C charging cable and sells Thunderbolt cables separately starting at $29. Even though the iPhone 15 Pro is expected to increase in price, it’s unlikely that Apple will supply anything other than a standard charging cable.

Will the older iPhones Apple sells get USB-C, too?

We’re not sure. Apple will presumably offer the iPhone 13/13 mini and iPhone 14/14Plus at reduced prices, and some reports claim Apple will also add USB-C to those models.

What about AirPods and other accessories?

Apple is expected to transition all of its remaining products away from Lightning. There are rumors that Apple will introduce a new AirPods Pro case with USB-C alongside the iPhone 15 launch. However, it’s not clear when the other devices, including AirPods Max, Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Keyboard will lose their Lightning port.


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