Leaker suggests Apple did prototype a USB-C iPhone 12 before deciding against it

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

What you need to know

  • It has long been confirmed that Apple won't switch to USB-C with the iPhone 12.
  • Several rumors have suggested that the iPhone 12 will retain Apple's Lightning connector, with a portless iPhone the end goal.
  • However, a Twitter leaker has suggested that Apple did at least prototype a USB-C version of the new upcoming smartphone.

Twitter leaker Fudge has suggested that despite prevalent rumors that Apple will not be switching to USB-C with the iPhone 12, it did at least build a prototype.

In a post yesterday Fudge (@choco_bit) stated:

Shame the USB-c prototype iPhone 12's arent making it to production. 1 more year of lightningOh well, at least smart connector on 13 series

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We have long known that Apple would in all likelihood not be making the switch from Lightning to USB-C in the upcoming iPhone 12. Analyst Rene Ritchie recently investigated why Apple won't be going USB-C with the next iPhone. Just a couple of weeks ago, Jon Prosser also confirmed that Apple is planning to release one totally portless iPhone next year but that in the meantime it would "never" go USB-C. With that in mind, Fudge's revelation that USB-C won't be coming to the iPhone isn't news. It is however interesting to note that Apple appears to have at least dipped its toe into the USB-C pool, possibly building a prototype that won't ever see the light of day.

Fudge further reiterated Prosser's information stating that Apple plans to go to a portless experience next year, however, notes that Apple may include a smart connector on the iPhone 13 as a backup, possibly for attaching accessories and for use with diagnostics, repairs and data recovery. This will not be the primary means of charging the device, that will be done wirelessly.

Whilst some users might be disappointed at the prospect that we came a lot closer than previously thought to a USB-C iPhone, the truth is that a portless iPhone looms on the horizon, and is close enough that logistically, switching to USB-C is redundant at this point.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • Hopefully this means their wireless charging speed will get a boost
  • Lol that will come with the iPhone 15. Can't give everything at once.
  • 1 more year of Lightning? 1 more year of staying with my XS Max
  • "Apple may include a smart connector on the iPhone 13 as a backup, possibly for attaching accessories and for use with diagnostics, repairs and data recovery."
    So, it has a port?
    "This will not be the primary means of charging the device, that will be done wirelessly."
    So, you won't be able to charge it from the port? Or it will intentionally charge slower than wireless to force the issue?
    Will Apple potentially then make and sell a wireless charger? Imagine opening your new iPhone 15 box and there is no way to charge it with anything that comes in the box.
  • I don't hear anyone clamoring for a port-less iPhone. If anything it alienates customers and forces them to either stick with their old iPhones or go with another kind of phone. I enjoy wireless charging as much as the next guy, but there are times I need to plug my phone in and get some juice in it quick. Also, what about CarPlay? Our 2020 VW has wired CarPlay. In two-ish years the tech in my car is obsolete? I won't be able to upgrade without losing my CarPlay? None of this makes any sense. I'm all for Apple pushing the envelope but this seems like the wrong direction. I would gladly take USB-C over port-less.