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USB-C VS Lightning: Which Interface Is Better?

USB Type C vs Lightning

IOS and Android smartphones not only have different operating systems but different connectors. While Apple is betting on Lightning, Android gadget makers have almost completely switched to USB-C.

Lightning and USB-C look alike. both do not possess up and down orientation, having almost the same size (Lightning is probably thicker).

USB-C is a new and emerging channel of charging and data transfer. In 2016 Apple first equipped the MacBook with a USB-C port, and in 2018 the company's tablets also received this interface.

Lightning was first introduced by Apple in 2012 and is still used for i-phones and i-pads. Today, USB-C is challenging Lightning as USB-C is favored by Android smartphones including Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, HUAWEI, LG, and lots more.

It feels near future USB-C is going to rule as a universal cable. Though both have many similarities, which is better and why? We will understand this in this article.

USB-C and Lightning

USB-C is a new industry-standard connector for transferring both data and power. USB-C connectors can be inserted into a device either way due to their flattened symmetry.

They are more convenient than older connectors that only plug in one way, having the capacity of fast charging, and move data more quickly.

USB type C


is designed and created by Apple Inc. Certified by MFi and contains an authentication chip that is made it challenging for other manufacturers to produce devices with compatible accessories without the approval of Apple.

It is explicitly used to connect Apple devices like iPhones, i-pads, etc. with external devices like host computers, monitors, battery chargers, and other peripherals.

Lightning USB

USB-C vs Lightning

Charge power

Both Lightning and USB-C have the capability of transmitting power at various watts. although Apple does not reveal these specifications, third-party manufacturers got them.

It is estimated that lightning can transmit power up to 20W-quick-acting charging. USB-C can handle up to 100W, fast charging with USB Power Delivery Specification (USB PD).

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USB-C can support almost all devices and USB standards while lightning could not.

USB-C all the while upholds video signals and force transfers. You can associate with and power local DisplayPort, HDMI, or MHL gadgets or interface with practically all gadgets accepting you have legitimate links and connectors.

Difference between USB-C and Lightning USB.

Data Transmission

The data transfer speed depends upon USB standards both for USB-C and Lightning. USB-C port is equipped with Thunderbolt 3 that can enhance data speeds theoretically up to 40Gbps.

It is four times faster than a traditional USB 3.1. Apple hasn't revealed maximum theoretical data throughput for lightning.

Reversible: One End vs Double End

The clearest distinction between USB-C and lighting is that the lightning port is more modest, which gives a benefit to Apple to produce slimmer smartphones.

These two ports are reversible, but USB-C to USB-C can only be plugged through the double end that provides a more expedient user experience.


As lightning can only be used for Apple devices which costs manufacturers of peripherals a lot in Apple commission resulting in its much higher price comparing with USB-C which is available at affordable rates in the market.

USB-C to USB 3.0 manufactured by Anker is available only for $13 while lightning to USB costs users at a minimum rate of $19.


USB-C is industry-standard both transmitting power and data connector in a single cable, while lightning is the proprietary connector of Apple.

They look quite similar but have different specifications.

In a comparative study, I would prefer USB-C over Apple's lightning due to the following reasons.

  • USB-C is compatible almost with all devices while lightning is exclusive only for Apple products.
  • USB-C has the capability of transmitting data at a much faster speed than lightning.
  • USB-C offers faster charging to devices on account of its ability to stand max 3A, while lightning can only hold up to 2A.
  • USB-C is much cheaper than lightning with all advantages mentioned above.

© 2021 Muhammad Shahzad Arif

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