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It's finally time for Apple to kill the Lightning port on the iPhone

iPhone charging port
iPhone charging port (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has transitioned another of its products to USB-C.
  • The Pad mini and Apple Watch SE are now all-in on the new connection.
  • Only the base model iPad and iPhone remain a fan of Lightning.

The Lightning port has enabled a vast array of accessories since its introduction in 2012 to replace the 30-pin connector. With next year being its ten-year anniversary, I think it is finally time to say goodbye to Lightning, rip the bandaid off, and fully embrace the USB-C world.

When Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 7 at its "California Streaming" event this week, it revealed that the new watch would come with a USB-C charging cable instead of USB-A in order to support faster charging speeds. The company also announced the new and redesigned iPad mini which ditched the Lightning port in favor of USB-C like the iPad Air and iPad Pro above it.

Today, it was also revealed that Apple is bringing the USB-C charging cable to the Apple Watch SE as well. Customers who purchase the watch will now get the same charging cable as the Apple Watch Series 7 when it launches later this fall.

Ipad Mini 6 Usb C Camera Apple Event

Ipad Mini 6 Usb C Camera Apple Event (Image credit: Apple)

After thinking about it for a while, it dawned on me that the only big Apple products that are left with a Lightning port are the base model iPad and, of course, the iPhone. The company's headphones are also still Lightning port fans but I'm throwing them in the accessories category here.

While I agree that the iPhone should be the last product that Apple converts to USB-C, I think it is about that time. I can't get the image out of my head of the iPhone 13 Pro Max looking around for another product that still rocks that connector and the base model iPad is like "Hey, over here! Me too!"

USB-C charger

USB-C charger (Image credit: iMore)

USB-C is (or already is) the standard that all products are going to. Even cheap electronic products on Amazon are already making the change to USB-C. It's a fantastic technology that enables power, audio, video, and data transfer to work through one connector.

I even think about Apple doing it for the sake of all of us with friends who have Android phones. The fact that I need to keep two different cables in my car and almost every Android phone uses USB-C now, I can't help but stare at my Lightning cable like "why are you still here."

Granted, things get more complicated when it comes to accessories. A ton of Apple accessories like the company's headphones, keyboards, and mice still use the technology. However, we all have Lightning cables hanging around to charge these devices as Apple transitions them over as well. It's a reality that we'll have to deal with but the sooner the better.

Pink Iphone

Pink Iphone (Image credit: Apple)

I want to live in that world where I can carry around one cable and it can charge all of my Apple devices. If I pack my MacBook Air, iPad Air, and iPhone for a trip, the iPhone is the odd man out now and I'm stuck bringing along a Lightning cable.

Having one USB-C that does it all is this utopia in charging that we are so close to and Apple just needs to bite the bullet and bring everyone along. They've been nudging us in this direction for years now with the Mac and iPad, so they've given enough time for all of us to get ready for it.

The 30-pin connector died almost ten years ago. The best ten-year anniversary gift for Apple to give us with the Lightning connector would be to retire it as well.

Joe Wituschek
Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

10 Comments
  • Not sure the SE counts here given the USB is at the charger end and not the device. Lightning is smaller and more compact than USB-C. I don’t know why people want it to go away.
  • Sometimes a feature is simply accepted because of the weight of talk about it. In reality USB-C on iPhone means nothing to the overwhelming number of users. "But it has to be USB-C" seems to be one of the main prevailing arguments.
    Side note: yes again there will be a small slice that can really use USB-C.
  • It means a lot. It means less dongles, less extra cables, less waste and pollution, etc. Wake the **** up. You’re blatantly ignoring the obvious. There is NO benefit to staying on lightning. At best they had 2 years where it made sense, as other devices transitioned off of mUSB to USB-C. Lightning has been obsolete as a practical solution since 2017/18. It’s almost 2022, FFS.
  • Faster charging, faster transfer speeds, faster everything. Lightning cable is a dinosaur when compared to USB-C.
  • I get the desire. Most of my things have USB-C at this point, so just a USB C to USB C cable would do me. With the chargers out these days, I could take one USB C charger and charge everything from my Macbook, through iPads and other stuff. Thing is, I don't only bring one cable, because I don't only charge one thing at a time. So, if one of the cables I bring needs to be lightning, so be it. Apple has noted that USB C is thicker than lightning, which some dispute. I don't believe it either. My Pixel 3XL is no thicker than my 12 Pro max, and it can handle a USB C. The real issue I think is likely the 3rd party accessory market. That's a big block of supporters to tick off. Figure something will change at some point. Just not this year it seems.
  • "The real issue I think is likely the 3rd party accessory market. That's a big block of supporters to tick off" At the risk of sounding like a huge *******: That really sounds like a "you" problem (not yourself directly, but generally speaking) at the expense of those who actually want to move forward. just recently discovered that there are people still fighting for microUSB to stick around. . . Ewwwww!!! Why people Post-2010 choose to buy proprietary accessories where the manufacturer can easily tell the consumer to **** off at literally any given second is beyond me. People are literally ******** themselves over on that front. I have since only purchased 1 3rd party lightning cable and now with Qi charging it just makes no sense to continue investing in lightning accessories beyond a cable at this point
  • My bag has a USB-C to USB-C cable for my iPad Pro 12.9 and charging my Anker power bank. I also have a USB-A to USB-C cable for data, a USB-C to Lightning cable and a USB-A to Lightning cable for my iPhone 12 Pro Max and Air Pods Pro, a USB-A to Apple Watch, and USB-A to Micro USB for my other Anker and my Kindle. I have to agree with Joe's piece. If the iPad and iPhone are the only ones using Lightning and even they come with with a USB-C to Lightning cable, then it's time to finish the transition. It would simplify my bag. I'd rather carry a USB-C to USB-C and a USB-C to Apple Watch. Maybe in a few years.
  • Apple makes so much money licensing that lightning port, it’s insane. They would remove it before giving us USB-C.
  • The next transition will be to no connector: we have wireless charging, Bluetooth for headphones, WiFi for data. Is there any functionality that actually *needs* the connector? I’m quite surprised it hasn’t gone from the phone already. (I do think it makes sense that it will be retained on iPad: that fits the proposition that it can be a replacement for a laptop for many people)
  • This is why I’m not upgrading. The Lightning port basically deletes any convenience the upgrade would bring, considering I’m on an 11 apron not some 8 Plus or anything super old like that. My a Note 9 has USB-C. The iPhone is still stuck on this proprietary charge/data port. Have fun carrying around extra cables to record and offload ProRes on an iPhone. I’ll get a Blackmagic Cinema Camera 4K with that money, instead.