There are countless USB connectors and cables with which you can connect accessories to your computer, charge your cell phone, connect cameras, smart watches or even wireless headphones.
With so much variety of USB connections on the market, sometimes it’s hard to tell one connection from another when purchasing a new cable or requesting a replacement. Here we provide you with a quick, graphical guide to all USB standards with purchase recommendations.
What are the different USB modes?
Here we offer you all the different options on the market. However, keep in mind that many have different styles of connectors on each end, so check what you need before you make your purchase.
Until recently, USB-A was the most common type of USB port you could find on laptops, PCs, and mobile chargers.
Easily recognizable by its rectangular shape, when you look inwards you will see that half is blocked by another plastic rectangle, with the upper part empty.
This is because the port that you connect a USB-A cable to will have a corresponding plastic rectangle that ensures good contact with all four connectors, so that the connectors fit snugly between the cable and the device.
With the advent of USB-C, it became obsolete, in addition to the fact that it always had to be connected with only one position, unlike the more modern USB-C which supports both possible positions.
USB-A connectors are still ubiquitous in technology, and most laptops and PCs have one of these ports, and most USB chargers in homes will still have USB-A in the charger itself.
USB-A ports can operate at three speeds: 1.x, 2.0, and 3.x, although these days you will likely only find USB 2.0 and 3.x ports. The latter is usually identified because the plastic block inside is blue. They are all compatible with each other.
Until recently, Micro USB was the port and cable you used to connect to your Android phone and charge the battery. It’s billed as a crushed version of the Mini-USB, with a long bottom edge, slanted sides, and a shorter top edge.
It was also the port of choice on most digital cameras and is still found on some cameras, tablets, and phone accessories (on budget models). The most commonly used cable with Micro-USB would have a USB-A connector on the other end.
Another now rare connector rarity that very few people will keep. It has been present in some external accessories such as hard drives that connect to PC. Currently, most Micro USB-B have been replaced by USB-C.
In terms of appearance, it’s basically a Micro-USB with a little extra box on the right that seems to divide the connector into two different areas.
It is the new star among USB connectors and cables, since USB-C has been embedded in smartphones for a long time, and over time it has also spread to the cheaper entry-level models.
They have gradually replaced the aforementioned Micro-USB and USB-A types, mainly due to the fact that USB-C is capable of much higher speeds and can handle data transfer with power at the same time.
This allows PC and Mac computers to use multiple accessories through hubs to use multiple devices at the same time.
Since USB-C can also be used as a charging connector for a device, it saves space as there is no need for an additional power outlet. However, this can be confusing as some laptops require more power to charge.
USB-C is easy to spot because it has a curved rectangle design that will work the same on both sides (reversible), putting an end to the frustrations of Micro-USB and USB-A models where it was difficult to get it right on the first. stroke. .
There are some hidden differences, as USB-C has already gone through two generations, USB 3.1 (Gen1) and USB 3.2 (Gen2), with the former supporting 5 Gbps speeds and the latter supporting 10 Gbps.
The names are a bit confusing as they all look the same and they all use the USB-C form. These waters get even mudder compared to Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 connector (found on Apple’s Macs and iPad Pros), which is even faster at 40Gbps.
Which cable do I need for the iPhone?
Apple is the only company to have resisted the use of the new USB-C standard in its iPhone mobile phones, since the new iPad and iPad Pro already come with the use of this connector, to the detriment of the Lightning connector used in the ‘iPhone.
It doesn’t exist as much as it once did, but you will still find it in some devices such as printers, external DVD players, some audio interfaces (microphones) and other peripherals.
The USB-B connector is a bit more square, like a 2D version of a house, as it is a square with both sides tilted inward to meet the “roof”.
Again, this Mini USB format is outdated, but it still shows up in older DSLR cameras, some USB microphones, and weird accessories. Essentially, it looks a bit like cutting a USB-B connector in half and just keeping the top section.
Typically, the other end will be USB-A for connecting to a laptop.
Take a look at our special best short cables: USB, HDMI, DisplayPort or Ethernet.