All the Things You Want to Know about the USB Cable Types

All the Things You Want to Know about the USB Cable Types

There are many different USB cables, each of which has different benefits and is suitable for different tasks. USB, which stands for Universal Serial Bus, is a technology used to connect computers and peripheral devices. It is the industry standard for connecting various devices, and the unified standard ensures easy communication between your devices. It doesn't matter which company manufactures your device.

The phone charging cable should be the most commonly used USB cable. More than 1.4 billion mobile phones are sold around the world every year, and their charging ports are not so uniform. If you've ever plugged in the wrong charging cable for your phone and wondered why your friend's charging cable didn't fit your phone, then you can check out this guide to learn about the different types of cable connectors.

USB Type and USB Version

You may see sellers describe a USB cable like this, USB 2.0 Type-A to Type-C cable, which includes common USB terms. Type refers to the shape of a USB connector or port, such as USB Type-A and USB Type-C, and version is the technology that allows data to be transferred along a cable from one device to another, such as USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.

Connector Types

USB connections are classified as Type-A, B, and C. You'll typically find at least one of these three different types of USB ports on computers, tablets, phones, and peripherals. Types-A and B are further subdivided into Mini-USB and Micro-USB subcategories. The Mini-USB type was deprecated after the introduction of the Micro-USB because the Micro-USB was half the size of the mini model but just as powerful. Apple also introduced its proprietary Lightning connector.

1. USB Type-A

The standard flat, rectangular connector you can find on one end of almost every USB cable is USB Type-A, commonly called USB. It has a small colored part called a receptacle, which is usually white, black, or blue. Black and white usually indicate the USB 2.0 version, and blue usually indicates USB 3.0. Most computers have multiple USB A ports for connecting peripherals. You can also find them on the keyboard, mouse, external hard drives, USB sticks, phone chargers, game consoles, TVs, and other devices.

This connector can only be plugged in one way. You can usually tell which way up they should be by the USB symbol printed on the top. Make sure the cables are inserted in the correct way to avoid damage to the cables or devices.

2. USB Type-B

You'll typically find USB Type-B ports on larger devices you connect to your computer, such as printers and scanners. You may also have external storage devices or drives that use them. The Type-B connector actually comes in two different configurations. One is specific to USB 1.1 and 2.0 speed protocols, while the other is for use with USB 3.0 and later specifications.

The USB 2.0 B connector has a square boxy shape with a small rectangular hole in the middle and slight beveled corners on the top ends of the connector. The USB 3.0 B connector has changed in shape, and a small rectangular hole is added above the trapezoidal position of the USB 2.0 B connector. This shape change makes cables with USB 3.0 B connectors not backward compatible with USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 devices; however, USB 3.0 devices with this connection type can accept previous USB 2.0 and 1.1 cables.

3. Micro Type-B

The Micro Type-B also has two configurations with different shapes. One for USB 3.0 speed protocol and one for USB 2.0 speed protocol.

The USB 2.0 Micro-B was the primary connection used in the first smartphones and used to be the most common USB port. The Micro-B connector is essentially a shrunken version of the Mini-B, which allows mobile devices to become slimmer while still maintaining the ability to connect to computers and other hubs.

Micro-B cables only fit into the port if they’re the right way round. There are two hooks at the bottom to hold the cables in place. While you'll still find Micro-B on some older smartphones, GPS units, digital cameras, and game controllers, many have moved onto USB Type-C.

The USB 3.0 Micro-B, also known as the Micro-B SuperSpeed connector. This connector stacks five more pins on the side of the USB 2.0 Micro-B connector to achieve full USB 3.0 standard data transfer speed. The USB 3.0 Micro-B connector can be used for hard drives, digital cameras, and other USB 3.0 devices.

The USB 3.0 Micro-B male connector cannot be inserted into the USB 2.0 Micro-B port due to shape change. However, devices with a USB 3.0 Micro-B port can accept pairing with previous USB 2.0 Micro-B male plugs.

4. USB Type-C

USB C first launched on mobile devices in 2015 and is now found on most mid to high-level smartphones. The move from Micro-USB to USB C is driven by the fact that USB C offers faster charging and faster file transfers. It also supports DisplayPort alternate mode to transfer video and audio signals. And a USB C cable is capable of carrying USB4, USB 3.2, and previous signals.

USB C is a small and flat oval connector with a reversible/symmetrical design that can be plugged into any USB C device using either end in either right-side-up or upside-down position, which makes it more user-friendly. This versatility makes it the most widely used port on the newer smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices. For example, Samsung/Huawei/Xiaomi phones, Apple MacBook Pro/Air, Dell/Lenovo latest laptops, Nintendo Switch game consoles, controllers for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, flash drives, and more.

5. Not USB but Popular: Apple Lightning

Apple has used its custom connector called the Lightning connector on every iPhone model since 2012. The connector is also used in iPads, AirPods, and other Apple mobile products. The size of Lightning is smaller than that of USB C, and the copper pins of the male connector are exposed. It can also be inserted in either right-side-up or upside-down position.

Lightning cables charge faster than older 30-pin cables. Moreover, the latest iPhone 13 supports 20W fast charging, which can charge the phone by 50% in 30 minutes. The Lightning port only supports USB 2.0, which transmits data at a rate of 480Mbps.

Thank you for reading our guide on common cable connectors, which can be combined into many different cables to meet your different needs. Visit CableCreation store to find the right solution for you.

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