Here's everything you need to know about the iPhone 15 USB-C port

What you can connect, how much power it puts out and why Pro and Pro Max users need to buy a cable already

USB-C port on the iPhone 15
(Image credit: Apple)

One of the biggest changes in the iPhone 15 range is the move from Lightning connectors to USB-C. There's much more to this than just a differently shaped connector: it changes how your iPhone charges, how it transfers data and what you can connect to your phone – and there are differences between the USB-C in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus and the USB-C in the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Here's what you need to know.

What charging power does the USB-C in the iPhone 15 support?

According to a newly published support document by Apple, you can use any USB-C cable and power adapter that's compliant with the USB-C standard. If you have a 20W USB-C or higher, you can use it with your iPhone for faster charging. Apple says you can expect to charge up to 50% in around 20 minutes. 

Rumours earlier this year suggested that the iPhone 15 would support charging speeds up to 35W, but a new report by Japanese blog Mac Otakara (via MacRumors) suggests that they max out at 27W. 

What can I charge with my iPhone 15 USB-C port?

You can now charge accessories such as your AirPods, Apple Watch or other small devices via your iPhone 15's USB-C port – a feature that many of the best Android phones have had for ages, so it's nice to see it making its way to the Apple ecosystem. You can connect a USB-C to USB-C cable, USB-C to Lightning cable or the USB-C to Apple charging puck. Apple says the maximum power delivery here is 4.5W. That's more than enough to top up your AirPods Pro, but you're not going to be able to juice up your MacBook Air.

What can I connect to my iPhone with USB-C?

Compatible USB-C devices include wired headphones (or wireless ones in wired mode), DACs and other audio accessories with USB-C connectivity. You can also connect USB-C external storage, but if you want to connect fast external storage you'll need the Pro or Pro Max to get the most from it. The iPhone 15 can also connect to CarPlay wired head units, microphones, battery packs, USB to Ethernet adapters and SD card adapters. 

If you want to connect wired headphones (or plug in an aux cable) to your iPhone 15, Apple now sells a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter.

All of the iPhone 15 models can connect to an external display via USB-C's support for DisplayPort and HDMI. However, Apple suggests that for some displays you may need to buy its USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. Unlike the iPad, which has Stage Manager for multi-display work, the iPhone only supports display mirroring unless the app has what Apple calls "a second-screen experience".

What's the difference between the USB-C in the Pro and Pro Max, and the USB-C in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus?

The USB-C in the Pro and Pro Max is USB 3 Gen 2, which is capable of delivering speeds at up to 10Gbps. But you won't achieve that with the cable that comes in the box, because the cable that comes with your thousand quid phone only supports USB 2.0 speeds. Bad Apple!

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (