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    The right USB cable is important when connecting your accessories, peripherals, and devices.

    What are the different types of USB cables?

    USB is the most common way to connect accessories to PCs, and it is also the most popular way for many portable devices (including smartphones, cameras, portable speakers, and tables) to charge. That means USB cables come in a huge range of types, and form factors.

    This includes different data and power ratings, different connectors, different lengths, and specialty cables (such as converting USB to audio or video).

    The most common types of USB cables

    While there are countless different USB cables available, the majority fall under a few categories.

    USB-C

    USB-C cables are designed for use with the new, high-speed USB-C ports. These feature USB-C’s convenient, reversible connector.

    USB 3.0

    These are usually USB Type-A cables, and they are capable of supporting USB 3.0’s faster data speeds. A USB 2.0 cable is compatible with any USB Type-A ports, but a USB 3.0 cable (which has additional pins) is needed to take advantage of USB 3.0’s higher data transfer speeds.

    Micro USB

    For many years, Micro USB was the preferred method of connecting and charging mobile devices such as portable Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and cameras. Micro USB cables will have a Micro USB connector on one end (to connect to the device), and a USB Type-A connector on the other (to plug into a PC or charger).

    Lightning to USB

    Lightning to USB cables are designed for use with Apple iPhones and iPads, for both charging and data transfer. On one end is Apple’s Lightning connector. The other end is either USB Type-A or USB Type-C, allowing the Apple device to be connected to a computer or charger.

    USB-C to USB Type-A

    These cables are common for use with PCs and laptops that need to connect to newer accessories and devices that are equipped with USB-C ports. One end is a USB Type-A connector, the other is USB-C. Data speed is limited to USB Type-A levels.

    Which USB cable do you need?

    Determining which USB cable you need is primarily a matter of knowing the ports of the two devices to be connected. For example, if one is equipped with USB Type-A and the other has Micro USB, then you’ll want a cable with a USB Type-A connector on one end and Micro USB on the other.

    Other factors to consider include speed rating (you want to make sure the cable supports the maximum port speed), cable length, and cable sheathing material (most are rubberized, but some are braided for greater durability).

    If you are using a USB-C cable for connecting a monitor, then data speed rating and video standards supported (such as HDMI or Display Port) are important. If using USB-C for power with a high demand source such as a laptop, confirm that the USB-C cable supports power delivery.

    The right USB cable is important when connecting your accessories, peripherals, and devices.

    What are the different types of USB cables?

    USB is the most common way to connect accessories to PCs, and it is also the most popular way for many portable devices (including smartphones, cameras, portable speakers, and tables) to charge. That means USB cables come in a huge range of types, and form factors.

    This includes different data and power ratings, different connectors, different lengths, and specialty cables (such as converting USB to audio or video).

    The most common types of USB cables

    While there are countless different USB cables available, the majority fall under a few categories.

    USB-C

    USB-C cables are designed for use with the new, high-speed USB-C ports. These feature USB-C’s convenient, reversible connector.

    USB 3.0

    These are usually USB Type-A cables, and they are capable of supporting USB 3.0’s faster data speeds. A USB 2.0 cable is compatible with any USB Type-A ports, but a USB 3.0 cable (which has additional pins) is needed to take advantage of USB 3.0’s higher data transfer speeds.

    Micro USB

    For many years, Micro USB was the preferred method of connecting and charging mobile devices such as portable Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and cameras. Micro USB cables will have a Micro USB connector on one end (to connect to the device), and a USB Type-A connector on the other (to plug into a PC or charger).

    Lightning to USB

    Lightning to USB cables are designed for use with Apple iPhones and iPads, for both charging and data transfer. On one end is Apple’s Lightning connector. The other end is either USB Type-A or USB Type-C, allowing the Apple device to be connected to a computer or charger.

    USB-C to USB Type-A

    These cables are common for use with PCs and laptops that need to connect to newer accessories and devices that are equipped with USB-C ports. One end is a USB Type-A connector, the other is USB-C. Data speed is limited to USB Type-A levels.

    Which USB cable do you need?

    Determining which USB cable you need is primarily a matter of knowing the ports of the two devices to be connected. For example, if one is equipped with USB Type-A and the other has Micro USB, then you’ll want a cable with a USB Type-A connector on one end and Micro USB on the other.

    Other factors to consider include speed rating (you want to make sure the cable supports the maximum port speed), cable length, and cable sheathing material (most are rubberized, but some are braided for greater durability).

    If you are using a USB-C cable for connecting a monitor, then data speed rating and video standards supported (such as HDMI or Display Port) are important. If using USB-C for power with a high demand source such as a laptop, confirm that the USB-C cable supports power delivery.