Apple’s much-awaited flagship phones of the year, the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro series, are finally here. If you are someone planning to upgrade from an older iPhone to the iPhone 15, you are in for a surprise when you open the retail box. The biggest upgrade introduced in the iPhone 15 series is the new charging port. Yes, the older lightning port is now gone and has been replaced with a USB-C port, the so-called Android charging port, on the iPhone 15 (read review) and 15 Pro models.
With the introduction of the USB-C port, Apple has unified its device ecosystem, as this will allow you to charge your iPhone, AirPods Pro, and MacBook via a single cable. Along with this, the USB C upgrade also enables faster charging and data transfer speeds than a lightning cable, but there’s a catch. Also, many of you must be wondering: can you use an Android USB-C cable for charging the iPhone 15? In this article, we have discussed all there is to know about the USB-C port on the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro series. So, let’s dive in!
What Made Apple Switch from Lightning Port to USB-C?
While Apple would want buyers to believe that it has made this switch to unify the charging system across the Apple ecosystem, the truth is that Apple was forced to make this transition. Earlier, Apple had always been reluctant to make this switch, wanting to offer its proprietary Lightning charging port on iPhones. But, the EU’s common charger directive took this decision away from Apple, making it ‘mandatory’ for them to make the switch.
The new EU legislation requires all small-to-medium-sized devices like smartphones, tablets, cameras, and even handheld game consoles to use a common charging solution, i.e. USB-C charging, by 2024. While the legislation applies to regions in the EU only, it would not be a good (or even profitable) idea for Apple to sell iPhones with a USB-C port only in the EU and with Lightning ports in other regions.
Therefore, thanks to the EU, we now get an iPhone lineup that can be charged using the same cable as our MacBooks, Android phones, or modern Windows laptops.
USB-C on iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus: What’s New
The transition from lightning to USB-C port on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus comes down to convenience, as you are now free to use the same charging cable across different Apple devices. You no longer need to ask your friends if they have the iPhone charging cable. But Apple, in typical Apple fashion, has only added support for USB 2.0 standard on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus models, while even most mid-range Android counterparts come with USB 3.0 support.
Due to this limitation, the data transfer speed on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is limited to a maximum of 480Mbps, which is nowhere close to what you are getting on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. More on this below.
USB-C on iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max: What’s New
Now, this is where things get exciting, as the USB C charging port on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max comes with USB 3.0 support. This means the data transfer speed you get on the iPhone 15 Pro models is around 20 times faster than the transfer speeds on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus models, as both the premium models offer transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps.
Also, the availability of USB 3.0 support on the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Max makes much more sense, given that both models can capture 48-megapixel ProRAW images and 4K 60FPS video, both of which can result in large data files that require a fast connection to transfer them from the phone’s storage to a Mac or hard drive.
iPhone 15 and 15 Plus USB-C Charging Speed
When it comes to charging speeds, Apple was already lagging far behind its Android counterparts, and sadly, the situation hasn’t changed much even with the addition of a new USB C port on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. Both non-Pro iPhone 15 models have the same charging speed as their predecessors, i.e. a maximum 20W charging speed.
In terms of wired charging, the iPhone 15 went from 0 to 53% in 30 minutes in our testing, which is ever so slightly better than Apple’s claims of 0-50% in the same time duration.
iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max USB-C Charging Speed
While we saw a huge improvement in terms of data transfer speed, thanks to USB 3.0 support on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, sadly, the same is not the case with charging speeds.
Much like the non-Pro models, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max also have the same charging speed as their predecessors, i.e. a maximum of 27W. In our internal testing, we saw the iPhone 15 Pro Max charging at a maximum of 25.4W when using the 61W MacBook Pro charger. The iPhone 15 Pro Max charged from 0-55% in 30 minutes during our testing.
iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Reverse Charging Explained
All the models in the iPhone 15 series bring a new feature, which is wired reverse charging support. You can now use the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro models to charge other devices like AirPods, Apple Watch, the Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and other similar devices. You can even charge your older iPhones with Lightning ports and even Android phones using a USB-C to Lightning and a USB-C to C cable, respectively.
Moreover, the iPhone (or Android phone) with a higher battery charge will charge the other device with a lower battery charge, regardless of the iPhone 15 model you are using. This wired reverse charging support on the iPhone 15 series is capped at 4.5W.
Does the iPhone 15 Come with a Charger & Cable in the Box?
With the transition from Lightning to USB C on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, both the models come with a USB-C cable in the box, and that’s pretty much everything you get in the box. So, those switching to an iPhone for the first time will need to buy Apple’s 20W USB-C charger separately. Or, you can use your existing Android charger if it comes with USB PD (power delivery) support.
Unfortunately, even Apple’s premium iPhone models, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, do not come with a charger in the box. You only get a new USB-C braided cable along with the Pro models. However, there is a major disappointment here as the in-box USB-C cable does not have USB 3.0 support, which means you won’t be able to experience higher data transfer speeds on your iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max even with the in-box USB-C cable. In order to get 10Gbps data transfer speeds on your iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max, you can buy a USB-C 3.0 cable for the iPhone 15 Pro from the list linked here.
iPhone 15 USB-C Port: Charging Made Easy
The USB-C port on the iPhone 15 series is not a groundbreaking feature per se, but it is something that most users will appreciate. Thanks to the EU law, you will no longer have to carry separate chargers if you own an Android device and an iPhone 15 (Pro). Reverse charging is another great addition by Apple as you can use it to charge your Apple Watch, AirPods, or other TWS earbuds.
iPhone 15 iPhone 15 Plus iPhone 15 Pro iPhone 15 Pro Max Data Transfer Speed 480 Mbps 480 Mbps 10 Gbps 10 Gbps Charging Speed 53% in 30 minutes (in our testing) 50% in 35 minutes 50% in 30 minutes 55% in 30 minutes (in our testing) USB 3.o Support No No Yes Yes Fast Charge Support No No Yes (25W) Yes (25W)
However, Apple being Apple put a paywall even on data transfer speed by not including a USB-C 3.0 cable with the Pro models, which is disappointing. Nonetheless, the switch to USB-C port on iPhones is a welcome change. What are your thoughts on this? Do let us know in the comments below.