The confusion around which cable you need for different devices isn’t anything new. With all of us now using a variety of devices throughout the day, it can be a little frustrating to know what charging cable you need for each one.
So, here’s a fool-proof guide to all the basic cable connector heads.
At Native Union, we mostly make cables with combinations of 3 different connector types. USB-A, Lightning, and USB-C.
Every charging cable has two sides and is named using the convention “Side 1” to “Side 2”.
“Side 1” is the connector type that gets plugged into a power source (power banks, wall chargers, or laptops), and
“Side 2” connects to your device to charge.
For example, “USB-A to USB-C" is a cable with a USB-A connector on one side, and a USB-C connector on the other.
USB-A to Lightning
If you’re an Apple person, this is probably the cable most familiar to you – the signature iPhone, AirPods, and iPad (except iPad Pro) charger.
USB-A is still the most common connector type used to plug into power sources such as laptops, powerbanks, wall, or car chargers to both charge and sync your devices.
With USB-A to Lightning cables, you can power any of your Apple devices by plugging the cable into the Type-A port of any power source.
USB-A to USB-C
The most standard solution typically for Android devices such as the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy, but more recently also for new Type-C Apple devices like the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the iPad Pro.
You can plug USB-A to USB-C cables into the same Type-A port on laptops and wall chargers as you would a USB-A to Lightning cable to charge any Type-C device.
A note on USB-C Charging
The USB-A to USB-C cable above is used for charging devices that have a Type-C port, with a USB-A head to be connected to power sources. The USB-A connector type has been around for a while, but recently, there’s been a widespread transition towards a new kind of head for power sources: USB-C.
While adding another connector to the mix might seem to just add to the confusion, it’s actually a move designed to make our lives with tech much more streamlined.
Created as a new standard of charging, all our everyday tech will eventually come with Type-C ports – the same goes for power sources. We’re already seeing this change adopted across the market; think all the recent MacBooks, iPads, Galaxies, and Chromebooks.
The idea is that soon, you’ll be able to use the same charging cable for all your tech devices.
Besides eliminating the hassle of carrying around multiple cables, USB-C brings with it another advantage – Power Delivery, or PD for short. It’s the latest fast-charging technology capable of pushing much more power to your device in the shortest time yet.
PD is already available for iPhone 8 or later, Type-C MacBooks, iPad Pro, and more.
USB-C to Lightning
A faster, upgraded version of the original Apple charging cable. Plug into Type-C car or wall chargers, or the USB-C port on your new MacBook to power your iPhone or AirPods.
To unlock PD fast-charging, all you need is a USB-C to Lightning or USB-C to USB-C cable and a Type-C PD-enabled power source.
So, if you have an iPhone 8 or later, we’d recommend upgrading your charging cable and paring with one of our PD chargers to take advantage of the fastest charge ever. With our PD Chargers and a USB-C to Lightning cable, you can power your iPhone up to 50% in under 30 minutes.
USB-C to USB-C
The cable you’ll need for all your newest tech – new MacBooks, iPads, Samsung Galaxy, and Google Pixels.
Similar to the USB-C to Lightning cables we covered above, pair your USB-C to USB-C cable with any of our PD chargers (or any other power source with a Type-C port) to fast-charge and save more time in your day.