It’s official. iPhone 15 has made the move to USB-C.
Here’s the thing. In theory, USB-C promises a universal standard with its oval shaped connector found in basically all devices. But not all ports and cables are made equal. So here’s everything you need to know about USB-C and how to choose the right one for a truly universal experience.
WHAT IS USB-C AND WHY IS IT BETTER?
USB-C Type-C, or more commonly USB-C is all about universality. It was developed by the USB Implementers’ Forum (USB-IF) with the intention of being widely adopted across devices. The hope here is that a standardized connector is more future proof and reduces the number of wasted, obsolete cables that end up in landfills.
It’s better for the environment, and it’s better for users. USB-C is a powerful tool. Not only does it simplify life with the ability to share one cable between devices, but it’s also a lot smaller allowing for more lightweight devices, easier to use with a reversible connector (there’s no up or down or right side to plug it in), charges and transfers data faster than USB-A ever could, and delivers high quality audio and video via USB-C and HDMI displays.
What’s more, the latest USB Power Delivery 3.1 protocol supports up to 240W. This advanced version of USB PD supports even the more high-powered devices such as gaming laptops and 4K monitors. All that power, one tiny connector.
In short, it’s more versatile in its capabilities, more flexible in the devices that can use it, and is a lot faster.
THE COMPLEXITY OF USB-C
So far, all good news. All devices adopting USB-C sounds simple enough.
But it gets tricky when it comes to charging. For example, your AirPods Pro only need 5W for full-speed charging, while the iPhone typically needs up to 27W, and most laptops need 60W or more. Say you use a 20W cable for something like a gaming laptop. It’ll charge. Just really, really slowly.
Different devices have different requirements, and you need to match your port to a compatible USB-C cable to optimize performance. The catch? All USB-C cables look the same.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT USB-C CABLE?
Rather than memorizing the specific power needs for each and every device, the quicker solution would be to choose a cable that’s powerful enough to charge them all. This would be the easier and more eco-friendly choice.
For most portable devices like iPhone 15, AirPods Pro, iPads and even the MacBook Air, a 60W cable will be all you need. 60W cables are usually thinner and lighter than cables supporting higher power so they’re perfect for carrying around in your pocket and charging on-the-go.
For more high-powered devices like a MacBook Pro 16” or a gaming laptop, a 100W or 240W cable would be more suitable for your needs and can also power your less power-intensive devices. They’re typically thicker than 60W cables but can still wrap up neatly and slip easily into your bag.
ARE HIGH-CAPACITY CABLES SAFE?
It may seem a little daunting to use a whopping 240W cable for a device that only requires 5W. And you’d be right to worry. Too much power pushed into a device that can’t handle it can result in overheating, overcharging, and could even result in fires.
That’s why it’s all the more important to buy good quality cables that you can trust with your expensive tech. Here’s what your cable should have to ensure it’s safe for use.
E-marker (electronic marker) is a chip in the connector head that is used to communicate between the source, the cable, and the device, to ensure safe power.
Basically, an E-marker ensures a cable only transfers power at the rate that the device can handle and that it is able to transfer higher powers without any safety concerns such as overheating.
This E-marker is required in all USB-C cables that exceed 60W, but it’s not externally obvious if a cable contains this chip. Lower end cables may not always follow this requirement to cut costs, which puts your device at risk.
The more visible way to be reassured of the safety of a cable is by checking whether it’s USB-IF certified. This is a certification by the body that developed USB-C to indicate certified cables and accessories that work safely and smoothly with USB-C devices.
For cables that can hold more than 60W, one requirement of the certification is that they contain an E-marker, so a USB-IF certification necessarily means that a cable has an E-marker.
Cables below 60W also have a chipset that regulates power, so just because it’s not necessarily an E-marker isn’t cause for concern. In any case, a USB-IF certification ensures that a cable has passed several tests relating to performance, power regulation, and safety before it’s certified.
So USB-IF certified = quality you can trust.
To know that a cable is USB-IF certified, check its packaging and the connector head.
WHAT’S THE NATIVE UNION ADVANTAGE?
Lucky for you, our cables tick the boxes, and then some. We’ve been in the business of creating cables for some time now and if you know us, you know we go the extra mile to make our cables and all our products even better for your everyday.
We build our cables with a highly durable construction. Each one has an ultra-strong core constructed with aramid fiber for its tensile strength, and has a reinforced outer braiding for enhanced flexibility and strength with a proven 30,000 bend lifespan based on internal testing. We also incorporated an O-flex strain relief design at the connector joints for better stress and bend absorption. A Native Union cable will be one of the most durable cables you’ll ever own.
Sometimes you need a cable that can recharge your devices from all the way across the room. Sometimes you need one that can fit easily into your pocket. Cables that vary between 4ft and 10ft, you can choose your length based on your daily needs. Or how about one at-home cable and one for on-the-go?
More than just faster performance, we want our cables to make life better and actually solve the struggles of life with tech. So we filled our cables with unique details to do just that.
Belt Cable Pro is fitted with an LED indicator so you know whether you’re charging without having to open your laptop, Anchor Cable highlights a weighted knot to stop your cable from constantly falling off your table or nightstand, Belt Cable Duo features a unique 2-in-1 head so you can streamline your charging even if you still have Lightning devices. And that’s just to name a few features.
Also, any cable with the name ‘Belt’ has, as the name suggests, a cable management belt so your cable won’t be a tangled mess in your bag.
We realized there was more than just speed that could be done better when it came to cables, but we couldn’t find anything that solved our frustrations. So we made them ourselves.
When choosing your next USB-C cable, make sure you choose one of quality. Look out for E-markers and USB-IF certifications, read reviews, and always buy from trusted brands. You use your devices on the daily, it’s worthwhile investing in a cable that will treat your them right. And while you’re at it, why not opt for a cable that can do more for your everyday?
SHOP ALL USB-C CABLES