In 2023, Apple began phasing out the Lightning port for the iPhone, introducing the iPhone 15, ‌iPhone 15‌ Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and ‌iPhone 15‌ Plus with a USB-C port. The USB-C port replaces the Lightning port and allows the ‌iPhone‌, iPad, and Mac to use the same power adapter and cable.

iPhone 15 USB C Port Keynote
This guide covers everything we know about Apple's transition to USB-C.

Current USB-C iPhones

Apple's 2023 flagship iPhones have USB-C ports right now.

Apple is expected to use USB-C for all future iPhones.

iPhones That Still Feature Lightning

Apple is still selling several older ‌iPhone‌ models as low-cost options, and these devices have a Lightning port.

Why Apple Adopted USB-C

The European Union instituted legislation mandating that electronic devices like smartphones use a "common port," which the EU established was the USB-C port.

USB C Over Lightning Feature
Apple had until the end of 2024 to transition to USB-C, but opted to do so starting with the launch of the ‌iPhone 15‌ lineup. The company did have the option of releasing USB-C iPhones in Europe and Lightning-based iPhones elsewhere, but decided to use USB-C worldwide.

The mandate does not apply to devices and accessories already on the market, but future iPhones, iPads, Macs, AirPods, keyboards, mice, and other accessories will need to include a USB-C port for charging. Exemptions only apply to devices that are too small to have a USB-C port, such as smart watches.

USB-C Benefits

There are a number of benefits that USB-C offers over the prior Lightning port.

  • Common charger - USB-C iPhones, iPads, and Macs can be charged with the same cable and power adapter, preventing Apple users from needing to carry multiple types of cables.
  • AirPods/Apple Watch charging - An ‌iPhone‌ can be used to charge the AirPods, Apple Watch, and other small accessories with an appropriate USB-C cable. The ‌iPhone‌ provides up to 4.5W.
  • Faster transfers - The ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ and Pro Max support USB 3 transfer speeds of up to 10Gb/s with the appropriate USB-C cable. Faster data speeds are not available for the standard ‌iPhone 15‌ models.
  • Connecting to external displays - With DisplayPort over USB-C, the ‌iPhone 15‌ models can be connected to an external display using a USB-C cable, no adapter required.

What to Do With Lightning Accessories

If you've upgraded to a USB-C ‌iPhone‌ and have a bunch of Lightning-based accessories, you can use some of them with Apple's $29 USB-C to Lightning adapter.

Other options include donating Lightning accessories to friends or family members who continue to use iPhones with a Lightning port, or bringing cables and other Lightning devices to Apple for recycling.

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