The USB-C is an innovative connector designed to replace its outdated predecessors. Created as a one-size-fits-all solution for multiple cables, USB-C resolved connectivity, data speed, compatibility, and other issues prominent with previous connector versions.

USB-C cables are affordable, widely used, fast, reliable, secure, and stable. Though USB-C supports faster transfer speeds, this USB type isn't resilient to common USB-related issues. With that in mind, let's define USB type C, its characteristics, advantages, and everything else you should know about it.

Table of Content
    1. Is USB-C the Same as Micro USB?
    2. Is Thunderbolt the Same as USB-C?
    3. USB-C and USB 3.2

What Is USB-C?

USB-C or USB Type-C is a commonly used connector system for transferring data and power to and from compatible devices using a Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable.

There are three types of USB-C connectors:

  • Universal;
  • Symmetrical;
  • Bi-directional.

USB-C cables allow you to connect a data or power source to supported devices, such as internal/external hard drives, tablets, smartphones, computers, etc. You can also use a USB-C cable to connect two supported devices.

Aside from USB-C, the other USB types are USB-A and USB-B. The main difference between the three is that USB-C supports a broader range of peripherals and can send power and data in both directions.

Is USB-C the Same as Micro USB?

No, USB-C and Micro USB are not the same. USB-C is a newer, more advanced connector type, while Micro USB is an older connector type.

usb c vs micro usb

USB-C offers a few advantages compared to Micro USB:

  • It's smaller and more versatile than Micro USB;
  • USB-C is reversible and offers faster data transfer rates (10–20Gbps);
  • It can deliver up to 100 watts of power;
  • USB-C supports faster charging speeds;
  • USB-C offers more robust compatibility with Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android devices;
  • USB-C can connect projectors, speakers, monitors, etc.

Is Thunderbolt the Same as USB-C?

Thunderbolt and USB-C are not the same, but they are closely related. Thunderbolt is like an advanced version of USB-C. It can do everything that USB-C can, only faster and better. The best way to describe Thunderbolt is to say it's a superset of USB-C.

usb c vs micro usb

Because they are faster (twice as fast as USB-C), more reliable, and versatile, Thunderbolt cables, ports, and connectors offer more connectivity options, mind-bending data transfer speeds, better charging capabilities, etc.

The latest Thunderbolt versions, Thunderbolt 3 and 4, far exceed simple send/receive capabilities and can safely and reliably transfer vast amounts of data, transmit HD video signals, cast video signals to multiple displays, and more.

USB-C and USB 3.2

USB 3.2 is the final standard of the USB Type-C connector. However, the key difference between the two is in their respective names. Type-C stands for reversible connection capability. USB 3.2 refers to the data transfer speeds.

The History of USB-C and Its Origination

Introduced in 2014, the USB-C connector was designed by several companies, such as Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple. The connector hit the worldwide market in 2016 and quickly became the industry standard for USB connectivity.

history and origination of usb c

Today, type C is the standard connector for numerous devices, including keyboards, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, etc. The original idea behind USB-C was to develop a universal solution that could support and connect an array of devices.

More importantly, the goal was to surpass the sheer connection application and support other use cases, such as transmitting power, video, and data.

Advantages of Using USB-C

Let's start with the obvious first. One of the most notable advantages of USB-C is its reversible design. Aside from simplifying the connection with multiple devices, it significantly reduces the chance of damaging the port or the cable.

advantages of using usb c

Then, there's increased usability. Since USB is universal, it supports many brands and types of USB C devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, Android tablets, iPads, iOS phones, Mac and Windows devices, etc. In addition to increased connectivity, USB-C can also charge all these devices.

USB-C supports an array of high-bandwidth use cases, including compatibility with high-speed external storage devices and driving high-resolution displays. Compared to previous USB versions, USB-C is more versatile due to supporting data transmission and power delivery (up to 100 watts).

That makes USB-C ideal for fast-charging computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones in a convenient, reliable, and safe manner.

Types of USB-C Connectors

types of usb c connectors

Image credit: digikey

USB-C has come a long way since the days of USB-A and USB-B. Today, you have a range of USB-C connectors to tap into, such as:

  • USB 2.0;
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1;
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2;
  • Thunderbolt 3 and 4.

Though all these connectors can do pretty much the same things, the main differences between them are their charge and data transfer rates. Basic USB cables support low power delivery (up to 60 watts) and slow data transfer speeds.

While you can use them on most laptops, tablets, and phones, you'll need a faster and more versatile alternative for modern devices that demand faster charging speeds, such as MacBook Pro 16 or Dell XPS 15.

Speed is another important differentiator. USB 2.0 supports up to 480Mbps. USB 3 supports 5Gbps-20Gbps, and Thunderbolt 4 can go up to 40Gbps.

What Is USB-C Used for?

Modern-day USB-C cables are widely popular due to supporting an array of applications. They can charge any device, including power tools, laptops, LED trinkets, etc. They can also run monitors, connect multiple devices, transfer data, and deliver power to electronic systems.

Thanks to its open and universal design, the latest USB-C cable handles 240 watts and will soon become the most welcomed replacement for various proprietary cables.

Here's a quick overview of the most common USB-C applications:

  • Connect multiple displays (DisplayPort);
  • Share video from a phone, laptop, tablet, or computer to an external monitor (via a USB cable);
  • Transmit audio and connect audio devices to speakers, and more;
  • Connect internet-enabled devices to the internet and share the internet connection;
  • High-speed charging and power delivery for multiple mobile and desktop devices;
  • Data and file transfer from and to compatible storage devices, including phones, computers, external hard drives, USB drives, etc.

What Devices Use USB Type-C?

what devices use usb c

USB-C is compatible with a wide range of electronic devices and operating systems. It can work with any storage, mobile, or desktop device, such as digital cameras, recorders, displays, laptops, tablets, smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, TVs, etc.

In addition, USB-C is fully compatible with different operating systems like Google, Windows, Android, iOS, Chrome, Mac, Linux, and more.

Compatibility Considerations of USB-C

compatibility considerations of usb c

Since there are so many different USB-C cables, connectors, and ports, finding the one that works for all your needs and devices may be more challenging than expected, even more so if you're inexperienced with USB Type-C cables.

Though you can use a single USB-C cable for multiple devices, it may not be the best option for achieving the best performance across all your equipment and systems. For example, ultra-fast charging or data transfer cables won't do you any good on outdated devices like old computers.

Even though USB-C is backward compatible with older USB standards like USB 2.0 and 3.0, you'll probably need an additional cable or adapted with suitable connectors to connect older devices with outdated USB ports.

While you won't go wrong by connecting an ultra-fast USB-C cable to an old device, you won't get the top performance in terms of connectivity, data transfer, and charging speeds. Ensure your devices are compatible with the latest USB-C specifications for top performance and speed.

Common Issues With USB-C Ports

issues with usb c ports

Though USB-C connection systems can solve many problems associated with their predecessors, they aren't perfect.

With that in mind, here's a list of the most common USB-C problems:

  • Error prompts such as unsupported USB-C audio adapter;
  • Limited connectivity with specific devices like external displays and monitors;
  • Charging issues most commonly related to Mac and PC desktop computers;
  • Slow charging (mostly in phones);
  • USB device not recognized or unsupported (PC, Mac, Android, iOS, etc.);
  • Limited USB-C device compatibility and functionality.

In addition to these problems, one of the most significant issues with any USB port, including USB-C, is possible data loss due to power shortage, loss, or voltage fluctuations. These scenarios can occur during a USB-C-supported data transfer, causing you to lose your precious files, documents, etc.

Thankfully, you can get rid of such situations using a reliable data recovery solution - Wondershare Recoverit. It can seamlessly retrieve lost emails, audio/video, files, photos, and more from a USB storage devices like USB flash drives, external HDDs/SSDs, and Android phones.

Wondershare Recoverit
  • Recovers data from 2000+ storage media, including HDDs, SSDs, USB drives, SD cards, digital cameras, etc.
  • Enables recovery of data lost due to accidental deletion, formatting, disk corruption, virus attack, and more.
  • The user-friendly interface allows you to recover data in just a few clicks.
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Recovering lost files with this app is as simple as it gets. Download, install, and launch Wondershare Recoverit on your computer, then follow these steps to get your files back.

  1. Open the main interface and go to the Hard Drives and Locations option;
  2. Choose your USB storage from the External Drives section;
    select the usb c device to start recovery
  3. Wondershare Recoverit will automatically scan the location to identify recoverable data;
    start an all-around scan
  4. Preview recoverable data after the scanning to confirm the files for recovery;
    preview files after the scanning
  5. Click Recover to retrieve and save your files to a new location.
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USB-C isn't just a breaking discovery in the USB connectivity area - it's a new universal standard for USB connection of smart and internet-enabled equipment and devices. USB-C is the successor to outdated USB connectors such as USB-A, USB-B, and Micro-USB.

It brings better connectivity, higher versatility, increased usability, improved compatibility, and various other enhancements in data transfer, charging, and power delivery capabilities. However, USB-C connectors aren't perfect and are prone to a range of problems, including data loss.

Because of that, we recommend backing up your data regularly to avoid losing your files to unexpected occurrences. In addition, consider using a professional data recovery solution, like Wondershare Recoverit, to recover your files quickly and reliably if needed.

Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia May 14, 24
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