11 Points to Know about USB Type-C vs. Lightning

When working on a project, deciding the many ports or cables to use for your devices can be a hassle. Over the past decade, the introduction of USB Type-C cables and Lightning cables has introduced newer and better speeds along with more power. Now, you can see laptops and powerful tablets using these new connectors and cables. Once dedicated to phones is now available on various other devices.

The heart of both of these cables is a war between loyalty and performance: the lightning cable and the USB Type-C cable. So if you can’t decide which of these two cables to add to your project, let us help you find the right one to use.

We are going to tell you about the 11 differences that both of these cables have. Before you read the list, though, you may want to know what we offer:

What We Offer: Custom Cable Assembly

We strive to make some of the best custom cables to better suit your company’s needs. Whether it is a lightning connector or a USB Type-C connector that you want, we can give that to you. Our custom cables come equipped with premium materials and coating, which ensures no mishaps in terms of the cable breaking open.

USB and USB Type-C connector

USB and USB Type-C connector

1.Data Transmission Speed

The first major difference that comes with both of these cables is the transmission speed. As you can imagine, the transmission speed is critical to your team’s work. And both of these are fairly fast, especially when compared to the micro USB connectors that feel like a generation ago.

However, when compared to each other, USB type-C is the clear winner. The USB Type-C connector comes in two different speeds: the 2.0 speed and the 3.1 speed. Nearly every device has moved onto the 3.1 cables, which can produce an output of 100w along with a speed of 10Gbps. On the other hand, Apple did not release any transmitting information about the lightning charger, but they were close to 2.0 USB Type-C connectors with tests. In other words, it can only transfer data at a speed of 480Mbps, which is a lot slower than the USB Type-C Charger.

USB type-C Cable

USB Type-C Cable.

2.USB Type-C cable-Reversible in design

Something that both the USB type-C connectors and lightning connectors excel at is their reversibility. Thanks to the design, there is no wrong way to insert these connectors into the devices. Whereas USB type-As and Micro USBs would require users to add the connector specifically, Type-C and lightning do not have such requirements.

While not game-changing anyway, it is certainly a welcome option to the mind games that one would have to play with other connectors.

3D USB micro cable vector illustration

3D USB micro cable vector illustration

3.Single charger anywhere you go

That is one of the highlights of the USB Type-C port. Thanks to the innovative connector, anything with the same port can quickly charge and connect to it. That means your team no longer has to carry different chargers for their phone, laptops, tablets, and other accessories. One port that connects all is the real selling point for the USB Type-C charger.

On the other hand, the lightning port is an iPhone-specific port, which means that the only thing that can connect to that is a lightning charger or a lightning adapter.

USB Type C port icon

USB Type C port icon

4.USB Type-C cable-Power Delivery

You may already know a little bit about the Charging capabilities for both the lightning cables and the USB Type-C cables. Since the USB type-C cables are available throughout many different devices, it is safe to assume it is the victor here.

Officially, the Type-c connector can easily produce 100W, whereas the lightning cables can only muster 12W. This significantly reduced charging capability leaves users unsatisfied, especially your team, if they have busy schedules. This low output is also why the iPhone does not have fast charging capabilities.

USB type-C Cable

USB Type-C Cable

5.USB Type-C cable-An all in one port

Thanks to the incredible versatility of the USB Type-C connector, this port is home to anything you could want. As long as the connector in question is a USB-C, you can connect it regardless of the device. From USB flash drives to chargers and even headphones, the USB Type-C port knows no bounds.

The lightning port tries to achieve this through the use of lightning adapters and fails miserably. Now users will have to carry proper lightning adapters for anything they want to connect to their phone or device.

USB Port Icon

USB Port Icon

6.Smaller and much Thinner

Both of these connectors are pretty small, which makes them so much easier to carry. That said, when it comes to size, the lightning connector is considerably lower than the USB Type-C connector, making for smaller ports and more comfortable carry.

But this size has a major disadvantage, mainly because the smaller lightning cable is much slower than the Type-C cable.

The realistic vector illustration of lightning to USB cable

The realistic vector illustration of lightning to USB cable

7.USB Type-C cable-Dongles and Adapters

Third-party support for the lightning cable is not very good, mainly because of apple’s licensing agreements. Apple only has a few companies that can create third-party adapters and dongles for the company. And because licensing is scarce, the availability of dongles and adapters is scarce.

As for USB type-C, availability is no real problem, as people can easily use any of the widely available creators of Type-C accessories. That, of course, also means that there are many low-quality alternatives to Type-C connectors. Regardless, the licensing for USB type-C will always be available to the public, allowing companies like ours to make quality charging cables.

Usb type c adapter icon

USB type c adapter icon

8.USB Type-C cable-Information and Transparency

Since Apple primarily uses lightning cables for its phones and a few other devices, it is essentially their primary port. Regardless, Apple does not like to share information about its product to consumers, making information hard to come by. The information that we used here is not official since Apple does not provide any official information, and all the information here is through tests that private individuals conducted.

As for USB Type-C chargers, any information that you could want about them is readily available. From the transfer speed they have to the power transmission of this particular connector, you can easily find all the information you want.

Lightning connector cable flat vector icon

Lightning connector cable flat vector icon

9.USB Type-C cable-Age

Despite being two of the most famous connectors, the USB type-C and lightning cable comparison is unfair, seeing how the Lightning cable came more than seven years ago. During its release back in 2012, it truly was revolutionary as it was both small and powerful.

But after its initial release, it did not come with many iterations that would prove its longevity. On the other hand, USB Type-C connectors came with two very powerful iterations that proved how long this connector could last. The 3.1 iterations and the thunderbolt kept the same port but increased the amps.

Creative vector illustration of electric glowing lightning

Creative vector illustration of electric glowing lightning

10.USB Type-C cable-Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is also a feature that can sometimes dismantle the argument of USB-C VS Lightning since the lightning cable is only for apple products. But despite this brand loyalty, Apple users are aware of the cost of this brand loyalty.

But it looks like Apple even sees through the flaws of their Lightning cable, which is why they are using a Thunderbolt 3 port – the same USB Type-C port – in their new Macbook Pro. If that wasn’t enough, the mighty iPad Pro came with a USB Type-C port since it was the only portable charger that could charge such a heavy machine.

usb doodle

USB doodle

11.Bonus: Price

The biggest problem that most people have with the lightning cable is that it is too expensive, especially with its features in hindsight. Moreover, the scarcity and the lack of third-party alternatives make this incredibly valuable. That can be a serious problem for users, seeing how they have nowhere to turn and have no other options.

The Type-C connectors are very different since they are open source. In other words, there are Type-C cables that prominent companies like Samsung make along with proper alternatives and third-party support. This incredible choice makes it much cheaper than lightning cables and is why most prefer type-C in the first place.


USB Type-C and lightning cable are the two vest connectors around. They are small, portable, and versatile, ensuring that only one charger is needed. Want to know which one is better for your project? Contact us now!

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at [email protected] to get a quote for your projects.


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