Apple has gradually been shifting its iPad models to use USB-C over the Lightning port that has been standard for a while. Many users are understandably confused, wondering why Apple has done this and whether USB-C is better than Lightning. If you’re in that position, don’t worry! Many people are in the same place.
Luckily, we’re here to guide you through the port change, Apple’s decision for doing so, and the advantages it brings. Let’s jump into this straightforward guide.
Before going into USB-C vs Lightning, you should know the basics of what each port is. Both are small, reversible cables that devices use for plugging in to charge and connect to other devices. They’re similar in many ways but have a few key differences.
USB-C is a standardised connection port published by the USB Implementers Forum. You’re likely familiar with standard USB ports on your computer or for charging your devices. Another version, micro-USB, was a smaller variant meant specifically for mobile devices.
USB-C is the next iteration of the USB, meant to combine aspects of both standard and micro-USB, with the primary advantages of USB-C vs Lightning being that it boasts faster speeds and charging, a reversible design, and a much smaller connector. USB is widely adopted and used by almost all devices, except for Apple devices, which have stuck to Lightning.
To figure out if USB-C is better than Lightning, we need to understand Lightning. Lightning is Apple’s proprietary cable for its devices. It was first released in 2012 for the iPhone 5 to replace the large 30-pin connector of the past. It is reversible, offers faster data transfer and charging, and is smaller than the old connector. Since Apple owns Lightning, its devices are the only ones to use it.
When looking at USB-C vs Lightning, USB-C wins out in transfer speeds. While Lightning maxes out at 400 megabits per second, USB-C can offer speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second. That’s 50 times faster than Lightning. With data and storage getting larger and larger, these faster speeds are vital for anyone who needs to transfer files between devices.
It also allows for even faster charging, a huge plus for the iPad’s large battery. USB-C charging is so fast, many laptops can forgo a traditional charger to charge solely over USB-C.
For USB-C vs Lightning, USB-C is more openly adopted across industries. Apple has limited use of Lightning to itself, while USB-C is open to everyone. As a result, most computers, tablets, phones, controllers, docks, and many other devices including the Nintendo Switch use USB-C. By adopting USB-C, the iPad can now share a charger with any number of your other devices — which is more convenient for you!
So, in the fight between USB-C vs Lightning, who wins? Well, USB-C. USB-C prevails in all key aspects over Apple, with faster speeds, better charging rates, and broader adoption. While slightly inconvenient for Apple users to switch to a new charger now, it will be much simpler in the future when all devices can use the same USB-C cables and peripherals.
Let us know if you’re still confused about anything, and explore our large selection of iPad accessories!