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How to navigate Apple’s shift from Lightning to USB-C

The iPhone 15 (technically, the 17th edition of the iconic Apple phone) comes with a major change that will definitely irk many of us. However, at last, we will breathe a sigh of relief.

Allow me to open that up. To comply with recent european rulesThe iPhone 15, unveiled on Tuesday, will abandon the Lightning connector that has been the way to charge iPhones for 11 years. In its place will be a different oval-shaped connector: USB-C.

For the average tech user, change is not fun. This means that when Apple customers buy their next iPhone, they won’t be able to plug in all the Lightning accessories they’ve collected, like charging cables, speaker docks, and earbuds. They will have to replace those products with new products that use the USB-C connector to plug into the new iPhones.

This change feels somewhat like déjà vu. in 2012, Apple scrapped the relatively bulky 30-pin connector iPhones to switch to Lightning, a thinner and faster charging technology that made many speakers and chargers obsolete.

What’s different this time is that most of us already have a USB-C cable. Modern headphones, game consoles, and many laptops, including Apple’s MacBooks, long ago adopted USB-C as a standard charging port. The iPhone was one of the holdouts.

Why is this happening now? Last year, the European Union announced a mandate for all smartphone makers to adopt USB-C as a common charging connector by 2024. In theory, this would allow consumers to buy fewer power cables, which regulators say, could cut down on environmental waste. Thierry Breton, a European commissioner involved in the legislation, said on LinkedIn this month: “A normal charger is common sense,

So we’re moving toward an era of standardization in which one type of charger works with most of our electronics, which would be the norm. Many of us are familiar with the scenario in which someone is carrying an iPhone cable, but a family member or friend needs a different cable (likely USB-C) to recharge their non-Apple phone or computer. ) Is required. Theoretically, those days will be gone.

But as is always the case with any major technology change, it’s not as simple as it seems. Phone repair experts say new threats are emerging – including the potential to destroy your phone with the wrong USB-C cable. If you’re only going to carry one cable, it’s more important than ever to be judicious about what you buy.

“Charger failure is a real thing,” said Jessa Jones, owner of iPad Rehab, a mobile phone and tablet repair shop. “It’s very common, and it’s something you need to pay attention to.”

Know here what it is:

The first step is to stop thinking of modern charging cables as dumb wires.

High quality chargers are essentially electronics with small circuit boards inside. On Apple’s official Lightning cable, there are two chips: one certifies that the cable is made by Apple, while the other acts as a fuse that isolates the charger from damage. For example, in the event of a power surge, only the charger will be destroyed, not the phone, Ms. Jones said.

The problem with USB-C cables is that although they usually look alike, cheap, low-quality wires offer no such protection for your device. They may have the correct oval connector, but inside, they lack chips to protect your phone.

So if you need a USB-C cable, don’t get just any cheap wire, like the $5 ones you’ll see at gas station kiosks. Invest in a durable cable from a reputable company. According to John Bumstead, owner of RDKL Inc., a repair shop that refurbishes MacBooks, brands like Anker, Belkin and Amazon Basics are known for their high-quality Lightning cables that cost around $9 to $30. Buy cables only from trusted retailers or directly from the brands – and avoid buying used cables on sites like eBay.

Many USB-C cables lack chips to restrict the current power to your phone. So if you plug it into a source that charges at a higher voltage than your phone can accept, you could electrocute your phone, Ms. Jones said.

The lesson here is to be careful about what you plug your cord into. USB ports embedded in airplane back seats, hotel room walls, or car consoles are a big no-no because it’s not obvious what their charging rates are. It’s safest to only plug your USB-C cable into a high-quality charging brick that protects your phone. Wirecutter, our sister publication, Recommends USB-C Power Bricks From Anker, RAVPower, and Spigen that do a good job of quickly repairing your phone without damaging it.

For iPhone owners who aren’t planning on upgrading immediately but need a new charger, the most economical alternative to purchasing another Lightning cable is to go wireless. The EU mandate only applies to cords that plug directly into devices – not to wireless charging devices that recharge your phone. through magnetic inductionSuch as Apple’s puck-shaped MagSafe, which magnetizes to the back of your phone or wirelessly Charging Pad and Stand From brands like Mophie, Anker and Belkin. So these are good buys for the near future.

As long as you have a sturdy cable and a good charging brick, you’ll probably be happy with this change. USB-C charging is faster at transferring data than standard Lightning, and it can also have some nice benefits, like the ability to plug your phone directly into an external display to view photos.

More importantly, you no longer have to carry a forest of wires in your bag when you’re commuting or traveling, and if you leave your cable at home, chances are you’ll find someone who Who is carrying the same cable.

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