Apple was one of the first firms to embrace USB-C when it released laptops that ditched USB-A in 2015, but the company’s phones are still holding onto the aging Lightning port. A series of reports in the last week claim that not only is Apple planning to transition the iPhone to the universal, reversible USB-C port, but prototypes with the new port exist and are being actively tested.
Android phones migrated to USB-C from microUSB starting in 2015, and this was a long-overdue change. The microUSB port was not reversible and had limited charging capabilities—USB-C was a vast improvement. That’s probably why the transition went more smoothly than other port changes. In scarcely two years, almost all flagship Android phones had switched. However, Apple had only switched to Lightning from the ancient 30-pin connector in 2012, and it wasn’t ready to make another change so soon.
There have been rumors over the years that Apple would make the switch, and they only accelerated when its iPads began adopting USB-C. Still, year after year, Apple sticks with Lightning-based phones. In the past week, analysts have been suggesting that a USB-C iPhone is finally happening. First, component suppliers gave hints that 2023 iPhones would have the new port, and now we’ve gotten word that Apple is already testing prototypes with USB-C. Again, it sounds like this hardware will materialize for consumers next year. That means one more generation of Lightning-based Apple phones.
These new reports have surfaced as the EU moves toward requiring USB-C on new phones. Analysts note that the EU proposal is a key reason for this change. This is not the first time the economic block has tried to encourage standardizing technology, but it might actually make sense this time. USB-C is clearly the future for wired connectivity with support for high power and speeds across a range of standards.
While USB-C can support extremely high charging speeds in phones — some Android devices can manage 80W or higher — Apple has shied away from super-high wattage even in its Pro-level tablets. They top out around 30W, and if anything, the USB-C iPhone will be lower to preserve battery longevity. That said, iPhones have smaller batteries than Android phones, so a lower wattage will still recharge them very fast — much faster at least than the 18-22W maximum of Lightning.