iPhone 15's new USB-C port might offer incredible Thunderbolt transfer speeds

iPhones stacked on top of each other
(Image credit: Future)

While Apple is yet to confirm the news officially, it's almost common knowledge that Apple will ditch the Lightning port in favor of a move to USB-C with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 models next month. But there might be more to it than just a change of connector.

By moving to USB-C it was hoped that Apple would also increase the speed at which iPhones can transfer data, and now a new report suggests that's exactly what's going to happen.

If that report is correct, buyers of Apple's new iPhones can expect to benefit from a huge transfer speed increase over older models — perhaps all the way up to 40Gbps Thunderbolt speeds. What's more, it appears that people might not have to buy the very best iPhones to benefit from the change as well.

Faster than Lightning

Rumors of Apple switching to USB-C have been around for months and the European Union's requirement that phones use a common charging connector from 2024 essentially forced Apple's hand. But a new ChargerLAB report suggests that we can expect more than just a change in connector shape.

The report, based on photos of USB-C connectors and cables leaked previously, suggests that one telltale component could point to incredibly fast transfer speeds.

ChargerLAB says that the images show a Retimer chip beside the port itself. The report notes that the chip "improves signal transmission stability for high-bandwidth data ports, enabling longer transmission distances." The report goes on to note that "the Retimer chip is found on small PCBs for all three [previously leaked] model variants, indicating that at least three iPhone 15 models will incorporate Thunderbolt/USB4's 40Gbps high-speed data transmission feature."

Rumors of Thunderbolt transfer speeds aren't new, but some had assumed that Apple would limit them to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. That might still be the case, but it would appear that the hardware required for such speeds will be present in at least one of the standard iPhone 15 models.

We'll of course get all of this cleared up coming the middle of September, with Apple expected to announce all four iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models in just a matter of weeks.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.