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What is a Lightning Cable? The Apple charging solution explained 

Lighting cables were introduced to the Apple ecosystem in 2012 and are implemented on a wide range of devices. 

With the Apple Wonderlust event hot on our heels, we’re running through all things Apple to ensure that you’re up to date with all the latest information. 

Today, we’re going to run through everything you need to know about Apple Lighting cables, including what they are, how they work and what their replacement might look like. Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about the Lighting cable.

What is a Lighting cable? 

A Lightning cable is Apple’s proprietary cable that it uses for many of its own tech products – including iPhones, some iPads, AirPods, and the iPod Touch. They can be used to charge up your devices if connected to a power source, or they can be used for data transfer when connected to a laptop, for instance. 

The image below shows a close-up of the Lightning connector, which is a small protruding piece of metal measuring 6.7mm by 1.5mm, with eight gold pins embedded on a white surface near the tip. It has the same appearance on both sides. Below you can see an image of this connector (right) on a cable, with a USB-C connector at the other end.

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Apple Lightning cable
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As few Apple products have a 3.5mm headphone jack, you can also use a dongle with a Lightning connector to plug your headphones in via the Lightning port if you’d like to use wired audio.

Not every Apple product has a Lightning port; the newest iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini ranges all use the USB-C connector, which is far more widespread in the industry – all new Android phones and tablets have this port as well. When it comes to the iPhones, however, every iPhone since the iPhone 5 has used a Lightning connector, including the iPhone 14 range. 

Interestingly, the soon-to-be-announced iPhone 15 is slated to come with a USB-C connector instead of Lightning. This is the result of a new EU law that requires smartphone makers to switch to USB-C by the 27th of December 2024 to help improve the reduction of waste. We won’t be able to confirm this until the official announcement – which you can watch right here – but it seems very likely.

With that in mind, it’s possible that other Apple products – including AirPods – will also make the change to USB-C, too, which could result in us all saying goodbye to the Lighting cable.

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