Avoid Overspending for iPhone 15 USB-C Cables and Chargers

I am buying all USB C cables and using these to bridge to the older iPhones and iPods

30W, USB C Female to iOS 16 PD Fast Charge Adapter Compatible with iPhone 14 13 12 11 Pro Max, Xs,Xr, iPad, Convert MacBook Type-C Charging Cable, Data Sync,Holder,Case,Key Chain

@Simon “Audio only, does not support charging”. I know I need “charging”, and I need either “headphone” or “data transfer”, but I have no idea which one this Griffin device needs. It has a Lightning cable for input, then it has an aux plug for music output to the stereo. Griffin Technologies has been sold to Incipio, but that was after this device was discontinued, so they won’t give me any support. The $29 Apple cord that Glenn mentioned at the top does all three, but I’d like to save a few bucks if I can.

My husband just got an iPhone 15 pro and I’m still on an 11. Charging adapters are easy to find but our car has 1 usb-a port for Car Play. The a port is near the floor underneath the console (thanks, Kia) so not easy to switch out a lightning and c cable every time we switch drivers - we share the single car. The adapter listings I’ve seen are all over the map. The description might say “data” or even “carplay” but the details say it carries no audio.

Has anyone seen an adapter that would work with CarPlay? Either one c> lightning or lightning >c would work because we have both types of cable.

Or should I just bite the bullet and buy apple’s $29 adapter? Thanks C

Or trade in the car for one with wireless CarPlay :grinning:

The adapter i mention above should work. Have the USB C cord in the car with the little adapter case velcroed or attached to the end that you can pop the lightning converter onto the USB C plug. I don’t know why it would not work with CarPlay

You can actually buy these little dongles with a small loop so they remain attached to your USB-C cable even when it’s not plugged in.


That’s happened to me w/more than one Amazon Basics cable. It took me awhile to realize the problem I was having was directly due to the cable; once I replaced the cable w/another one (Anker), the problem was resolved.
The same issue occurred when using another Amazon Basics cable, replaced it w/another Anker cable, & again the problem was resolved.
In spite of the initial low cost, I’m no longer using any Amazon Basics cables. I’d rather spend a bit more on an Anker cable & not have to worry about replacing it.

Both of the listings above and the others online have an image similar to this:

If it won’t work with headphones keyboards mice or USB sticks, I don’t have much hope it will work with CarPlay

Those things aren’t supported because USB OTG is not part of Lightning. But who cares? If you were interested in connecting headphones to an (older) iPhone you’d use Lightning headphones or an audio to Lightning dongle, but not go out and get USB headphones and then expect this adapter to get the job done. You don’t need USB OTG functionality bolted onto Lightning. You need Lightning because that is what CarPlay expects. This gets you Lightning (i.e. charging, analog audio, and USB2 data).

But granted, if you’re skeptical about a certain adapter, at least here in the US, just get it from Amazon and return it if it doesn’t work to your liking. IME there’s never been an issue with getting a quick refund after sending them back an item that does not work to expectation. It’s literally a 3-click affair with drop-off anywhere at almost any time thanks to Whole Foods and UPS drop boxes.

One of the serious drawbacks to switching to USB-C from Lightning is how disastrously unstandardized USB-C actually is. The different kind of cables is a giant pain.

But it really doesn’t have to be complicated.

If you want only charging, just make sure you the cable supports the wattage you need. You could always opt for 100/240W to make sure it’ll support anything, but that does make for a more expensive and rigid/thicker cable.

If you want best data transfer, just get a TB4 cable. The extra $10 you pay over a 3.x gen mumble cable is the price to pay for not having to worry about the right cable.

USB-C can be simple, efficient, and cheap. But you only get to choose 2 out of those 3 at any time. :wink:

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100% standardized; nearly 100% badly described and labeled!

Really, there are four kinds of cable:

  • Charging cable (480 Mbps USB 2.0 data maximum)
  • USB 3 cable (10 Gbps maximum)
  • Thunderbolt 3 cable (but connecting USB-only devices with it may only pass 480 Mbps)
  • Thunderbolt 4/USB4: all the speeds, all the power, all the time

If the industry had developed a comprehensive, mandatory, and somewhat enforced labeling system, that would all be clear.

As Simon says above, just get a Thunderbolt 4/USB4 cable when in doubt. If money is tight or you want a thinner cable, then you have to really examine what you’re buying.


Thanks for the responses. I’m not convinced, though. With lightning, there was one cable to buy.* It did everything – power and data. The only thing you really had to watch out for was quality of cable.

Now, I have to choose between lots of different kinds of cables that look the same and are labelled badly. I quote from a very prescient article**

Here’s a partial list of the possible data and power support you could find in a cable with USB-C connectors on both ends:

  • USB 3.2: up to 20 Gbps and 15W (not in compliance with standards!)
  • USB 3.2: up to 20 Gbps and 60W
  • USB 3.2: up to 20 Gbps and 100W
  • Thunderbolt 3, passive, less than 0.5m: up to 40 Gbps and 100W (power delivery)
  • Thunderbolt 3, passive, 1 to 2m: up to 20 Gbps and 100W (power delivery)
  • Thunderbolt 3, active, up to 2m: up to 40 Gbps and 100W (power delivery)
  • USB 4.0: up to 20 Gbps and 60W
  • USB 4.0: up to 20 Gbps and 100W
  • USB 4.0: up to 20 Gbps and 240W
  • USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4: up to 40 Gbps and 60W
  • USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4: up to 40 Gbps and 100W
  • USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4: up to 40 Gbps and 240W

That’s not remotely standardized. Can I figure out which one to buy and stay with that consistently? Sure. But that’s not the same thing.

*to be fair, the other end could be USB-A or USB-C – but at least they looked different from each other.
**USBefuddled: Untangling the Rat’s Nest of USB-C Standards and Cables - TidBITS

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It’s a little outdated that fantastic article! It’s a cautionary tale.

  • Buy a Thunderbolt 4/USB4 cable and you’re basically good (unless you absolutely need 100W or 240W, in which case you need to read labels carefully when purchasing; rare; and most have 100W)
  • Thunderbolt 3 cables are the real PIA if you are connecting a USB 3.2/3.3-only device with a Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.2/3.3 device. That’s less rare, but not impossible. Many Thunderbolt 3 cables do have a lightning bolt plus 3 on them, but not all.

In the list you cite, it’s mostly about power, with some issues about maximum speed (10 Gbps works for most purposes) or maximum length relative to power.


Really for me all that I will need is a Power Delivery cable for iPhone, as I have for iPad. I’ll never connect either device to my Mac for anything other than a redundant Finder backup. When I travel with my MBA (rare), I either carry the MagSafe cable, or I’ll use the cable for the iPad if I’m in a pinch and need some charging. (I still don’t have a USB-C iPhone, but probably will next spring, and by then I’ll probably also have a new Kindle with USB-C, replacing my last microUSB device.)

We just purchased a new car in March and one thing I loved about it is that it came with a packet of cables with various ends - lightning, USB-C, and microUSB, all with USB-A on the other end (plus a dual USB-A “cigarette lighter” charger for when we don’t want to connect to the car and interrupt whatever the car is using for wireless CarPlay.)

So I appreciate everyone guiding me to the right cable to buy, but perhaps someone could explain why this is better?

You mean the Thunderbolt 4/USB4 one? It’s just fully compliant and up to 100W. If you get one from OWC or another reputable outfit, you’re set. If you need > 100W, then there aren’t many options (or any besides Apple’s special one for the large MBP?).

Any other cable, you may have a lower maximum wattage or performance between two arbitrary USB-C jacks on different devices. With that cable, you should always get either 20 Gbps or likely 40 Gbps at up to 100W power.

Sorry, I framed that wrong. Why is USB C better than lightning given the complete craziness on standardization?

If you have an older Lightning iPhone, you are free to keep on using Lightning — nothing wrong with that.

OTOH if you’re getting a new iPhone 15 you have no choice really, so why bother pondering if Lightning would have been better? You can try to see benefits from the switch, like, for example, now you can use the same cable to charge your Mac and your iPhone.

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There’s no craziness unless you make it so now!

USB-C is simpler, reversible, more resilient, and universal. Cables are increasingly falling into a handful of categories.

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How is that different from Lightning?

Even thought it’s proprietary, it’s ubiquitous. For the last decade I could go anywhere and borrow a charging cable and top off my phone. Now it’ll be, “Wait, which connector is this?” (Murphy’s law says you’ll always have the wrong connector when you’re desperate for a cable.)

The only advantage to USB-C I see is that can handle more power, but that only applies if you’re using USB-C bricks. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got USB-A plugs everywhere, so even with a USB-C adapter, they aren’t going to give me more power. I get zero benefit and tons of hassle.

Oh, I guess you can transfer data faster if you get a Pro 15. But I literally haven’t connected a phone to a Mac in years, so that’s of minimal benefit. Maybe I’d use that once a year to transfer some videos, if I remember and I have a high-data USB-C cable (which I probably don’t).

I hear some saying USB-C is more reliable. I haven’t seen any data, but anecdotally, the only issues I’ve had with Lightning have been on the cable side, where they get worn out. Since I started using braided cables years ago, zero problems. I’ve never ever had an issue with the connector itself.

(I also like that Lightning is distinct and easier to identify. USB-C looks too much like all the other 50-million USB variants that drive me nuts.)