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Know the Difference between USB, Micro USB and Lightning Connectors

Author: Jennifer Truong
by Jennifer Truong
Posted: Apr 11, 2017

Some people tend to get confused while telling the difference between USB, Micro USB and lightning. This is because all the three look quite similar and function mostly in the same way. However, you must know that none of them are replaceable with each other. To function rightly, all the three connectors need different technology, accessories and port too. Also, they are not compatible with each other.

Here’s a detailed explanation of all the three connectors so that you can know which connector would work with what device at its optimum ability.


USB is the full form of - Universal Serial Bus. It is the most frequently used connector and is compatible with several operating systems. When you connect a USB to your mobile device or computer, it gets detected easily. You can also add or remove the USB cable without having to restart the device. And that aspect makes them a ‘hot-swappable’ technology. The ‘Type A’ connectors are available in 2.3 and 3.0 formats and can be used with desktops, laptops, notebooks and tablets. ‘Type B’ connectors, on the other hand, are used for scanners and hard drives.

Micro USB

The intent behind the making of Micro USB was to standardize phone charging devices and simplify things for the customers who were tired of using different chargers for their phone. These USBs are a miniature version of USB interface. Several smartphones that work on Android technology are fitted with Micro USB ports. The Micro USB looks smaller to Mini USB but offers a higher transfer rate. One can easily identify a Micro USB as it has black receptacles and a 5 pin design. Although Micro USB charging cable comes with a USB connector and enables transfer of data between desktop and mobiles, you must also know that it is not compatible with all devices.

Lightning Connectors

Lightning Connectors were released in the year 2012 and they were an excellent replacement of the 30 pin dock connector that was used for Apple products. This 8 pin connector was designed to be more efficient as compared to the 30 pin one. Apple devices are very thin and are not compatible with the width of a standard USB port. But these connectors made the whole deal of powering up Apple devices very easy. Lightning connectors are not compatible with other connectors and cannot be accessed with traditional USBs. So how do you identify these connectors? These are white in colour, just like most of Apple devices and also have a slender shape.

You cannot expect all the chargers to be universal in nature. The kind of connector you use depends totally on the type of device you use. Once you know which type of USB you will need for what purpose, it will save you a lot of money and time. If you are looking for good quality USB cables, USB adapters and other accessories at cost-effective rates you will be able to several stores where you can order from. And now that you know the difference, you are sure to make the right choice!

experience in the cable industry and blogs about its various aspects.

About the Author

Jennifer Truong is the owner of SF Cable, a california based online retailer of all kind of Computers, electronics, electrical accessories, networking accessories, cables, wires. Jennifer has extensive experience in the Electronics industry and blog.

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Author: Jennifer Truong

Jennifer Truong

Member since: Mar 27, 2017
Published articles: 127

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