Whether you own an iPhone, iPod, or iPad they won’t charge without the correct cable. Many years ago, it use to be simple as you either needed the long 30-pin connector for your iPhones, iPods iPads, or the MagSafe power cable for your laptop. Unfortunately, Apple in its infinite wisdom decided to require a plethora of cables for its various devices. In this article, I will share which devices use what type of cables and the solution to this frustrating cable problem.
All iPhone devices are using their proprietary Lightning cable to charge and facilitate connection to your computer. Apple provides in the box, a standard USB connector on one side and lightning at the opposite end. However, there are two issues that you will encounter with your iPhone. Since all new Mac Laptops don’t have standard USB ports you will need to purchase USB-C to Lightning cable. If you have a phone an iPhone 7 or later and have a pair of wired headphones lightning to 1.8 audio jack adapter will need to be purchased. Now if you want to listen to music through your wired headphones and charge them simultaneously, a splitter will need to be purchased.
All iPads from the fourth generation and later use a Lightning to USB Cable as also the initial versions of the iPad Pro and the iPad Mini. Similar to the iPhones a Lightning to USB-C cable will need to be purchased to charge a Mac Laptop. Now it is probably clear to you that this is not only an annoyance but a big problem if you want to use certain devices, connect them to your laptops, and or charge them.
Since these challenges have costed individuals hours of time and money the EU (European Union) will now require Apple and other consumer electronics manufacturers to standardize and use a USB-C charging port on all devices manufactured starting in 2024. This new bill was passed on Oct 4, 2022, and is expected to save consumers $250M or 250 million euros per year on what they say and I quote is “unnecessary charger purchases” and help to discard close to 11,000 tons of electronics waste per year in the European Union.
Understand that this bill is not just limited to cell phones, iPads, and tablets but also other consumer electronic devices such as headphones, handheld video game consoles, e-readers, cameras, and many others. The bill clearly explains that all of the mobile phones, tablets, and cameras sold in the European Union must have support for USB-C charging however laptops will not be required to do so until 2026. The rule also states that old chargers may not be used on older models at any time.
Making this change will not only save people money, be better for our environment but also supply a greater amount of power than the previous USB standard wall charger. USB-PD in lab tests is said to be able to recharge a smartphone/tablet up to 70% faster as compared to the previous USB standard legacy charging plug. The new USB-PD or otherwise known as USB Power Delivery technology will supply the correct amount of power based on the device and what it needs all because of an intelligent chip-set in the plug.
Should you have a device that needs to use extra power it is important that a higher gauge cable wire is used to prevent fires. Now that you understand why USB-PD is better, let us take a look at the profile power delivery types. There are two current types of power profiles USB-PD 1.0 and USB-PD 2.0/3.0. The first type we will look at is the ones in USB-PD 1.0 standard. Profile 1, will be using 5 volts with a current of 2 amps, and a power of 10 watts, and will be for smartphones, hard drives, and other small accessories. Profile 2, will be using 12 volts with a current of 1.5 amps, a power of 18 watts, and will be for smartphones, tablets, Ultrabooks™, and larger accessories. Profile 3, will be using 12 volts with a current of 3 amps, a power of 36 watts, and will be for future smartphones, notebooks, displays, and hubs. Profile 4, will be using 20 volts with a current of 3 amps, 60 watts, and will be for larger notebooks, hubs, and docking stations. Lastly, profile 5, will be using 20 volts with a current of 5 amps, and 100 watts to be for workstations, hubs, and external graphic cards. Note that if you are the 1.0 specification and profile 5, a specially designed USB-C charging cable is required to prevent a fire.
Now in USB-PD 2.0/3.0, there are four different power profiles we will take a look at. The first one is Profile 1operates at 5 volts, has a current amp range between 0.1-3.0, and a power output of 10 watts, and is perfect for headphones and small accessories. Profile 2 operates at 9 volts, has a current amp range between 1.67-3.0 amps, a power of 15-27 watts, and is used for smartphones, cameras, and drones. Profile 3 operates at 15 volts, has a current amp range between 1.8-3.0 amps, and 27-45 watts, and is for tablets and small laptops. Note profile 4: operates at 20 volts, has an operating current between 3.0 – 5.0 amps, power of 45-100 watts and is designed for large laptops, and displays. Remember that when using profile 4, one should be sure to use a specially rated 100-watt USB-C charging cable.
Unfortunately, the United States has not yet passed this bill and until then devices made for the US may or may not have the USB-C standard charging port. It took years to get this passed in the EU but it may take a while with much of the politics of why this should become a standard in the United States. Maybe the US will adopt the same rule so we too can save money as the EU will soon be doing.