USB-C iPhones May Save High-Speed Data Transfer for Pro Models

A rumor suggests that lower-end iPhones will have data transfer speeds as slow as Lightning cables.

David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone Plus

The iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone Plus.

James Martin/CNET

USB-C iPhones are finally coming, but they may not all be created equal. A new rumor has it that the lower-end iPhones will get a less advanced type of USB standard with slower data transfer than the Pro models.

Though Apple executives said earlier this month that USB-C iPhones would come at least by 2024 to comply with European regulations, they could arrive in next year's iPhone 15 series, according to a tweet from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He predicts that among the 2023 models, the high-end iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will have ports supporting "at least USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3," which are capable of transfer speeds of up to 20 Gbps. 

Kuo expects the lower-end iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will support slower USB 2.0 speeds of 480 Mbps -- which was the same transfer rate as the Lightning ports in prior iPhones.

USB 3.2 is the most advanced data transfer standard on phones, with USB 4 only appearing on Macs and desktop computers thus far. Many leading Android phones use USB 3.2, and some of the calls for Apple to transition iPhones to USB-C have to do with getting those faster transfer speeds over cables. Now that the iPhone 14 Pro and Max models can shoot in 48MP ProRAW format, image files have exploded in size, and those high-resolution pics could transfer a lot quicker over USB 3.2.