USB Types: What You Need To Know

Today, there are many different types of USB cables, drives, and devices. But what do all these different types mean? We will discuss only the common ones. Find out which one is used by your devices by reading on!

What is a USB?

The Universal Serial Bus protocol has achieved great success. Computers of all shapes and sizes, including desktops, tablets, laptops, netbooks, and more, can be equipped with USB ports and cables to connect hardware like printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, flash drives, external hard drives, joysticks, cameras, monitors, and more. In fact, USB has spread so widely that you can find the connection on almost any product that resembles a computer, including game consoles, home audio/video equipment, and even many cars. Many of those devices connected to computers using serial, parallel, and other ports such as PS/2 before USB. Most portable devices use USB primarily for charging, including smartphones, eBook readers, and small tablets. Since USB charging is now so widespread, it’s simple to find replacement electrical outlets at home improvement stores that already have USB ports installed, eliminating the need for a USB power adapter.

USB Cables and Connectors

Understanding what a host, a port, and a receptor are necessary to differentiate between different types of USB cables. The port is the opening where one end of a cable, typically the thin side, is connected to a device. The device you want to transfer data from is known as the host, and the device you want to transfer the data to is known as the receiver.

“It’s easy to connect a USB device to a computer; just look for the USB connector on the back of your device and plug it in. The operating system automatically detects new devices and requests the driver disk if one is present. The computer activates the device and initiates communication with it if it has already been installed.

Types of USB Cables

  • USB Type A
  • USB Type B
  • USB Type C
  • Lightning

Standard USB Type-A

The flat, rectangular Standard A connectors are the original USB connectors. The most popular connector is USB-A. They support almost all USB 1.1 through USB 3.0 versions of the Universal Serial Bus.

Standard USB Type-B

Standard USB Type B cables have a square shape and frequently have a prominent square protrusion or a light rounding at the top. These are compatible with every incarnation of Universal Serial Bus, just like USB-A.  A different USB-B variant called Powered-B, on the other hand, is only compatible with USB 3.0.

Standard USB Type-C

USB Type C connector has an asymmetrical, thin, compact and oval appearance. Other than just appearance, it differs from Type A and B. The fact that it can be reversed is one of the main differences. It follows that this connector cannot be turned so that it is “right-side up.” USB 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 are all supported. A 24-pin cable that is included with USB C can transmit data and video at speeds of up to 10 Gb/s and deliver 100 watts of power. As a result, we can use it to connect peripherals, send data between devices, and charge powerful devices. There are Type C to Type A converters that can be used to charge a Type C device or transfer data over a Type-A port instead of the standard Type C cable’s USB C connectors on both ends.

Lightning Cables

Apple devices frequently come with a Lightning connector. Since the release of the iPhone 5 in 2012, it has been the norm for charging and connecting them to various other devices. It has a Type-A connector on one side and a tiny lightning connector—nearly 80% smaller than Apple’s 30-pin connector—on the other. Additionally, it is entirely reversible, just like Type C cable.

Micro USB Type A and B

In order to make devices smaller, micro USBs A and B are also used. On many gadgets, including tablets, game controllers, and smartphones, these ports are present. There are two versions of them, one for USB 2.0 and the other for USB 3.0 and later.

Mini USB Type A and B

The significantly scaled-down versions of Type A and B connectors are known as Mini USB A and B. They are employed in compact devices like game controllers, mobile phones, portable cameras, etc. to save space. Only USB 1.1 and 2.0 speeds are supported, and they are available in the four- and five-pin variety.


Now that you know the different types of USB cables, ensure you buy the one that’s right for your devices when replacing any of your cable. Keep in mind that not all devices are compatible with all types of USB cables, so be sure to check which type your device uses before making a purchase. And if you’re ever unsure about which cable to use, don’t hesitate to ask a salesperson for help.

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