Chapter in this post:
Most of the devices in my collection are now charged via USB-C. The iPhone is still an exception here, as it still uses the Apple-specific Lightning connector. But as simple as USB-C looks at first glance, it still has a few negative surprises in store.
It is no coincidence that the EU has focused on USB-C in its regulation on charging plugs. And Apple also used the USB-C port relatively early on in its MacBook models. The reason for this is the versatility of the connection, because you can do the following things with it:
So the big advantage is that I can connect a MacBook to a USB-C monitor, for example, and not only audio and video are transmitted via the connection, but at the same time you can also connect external hard drives to the monitor hub and the MacBook via the use the same USB-C cable to charge. All via a plug connection.
On Macs, the USB-C port is usually a Thunderbolt port, which can send data back and forth at very high speeds. How fast? Here's what you can see compared to other protocols:
The reason why USB-C sometimes really annoys me is actually the USB-C cables. For these cables, there is currently no mandatory rule for the manufacturers regarding the protocols that the cable supports.
For example, USB-C cables are often included with power banks, which allow up to 40 or 60 watts of charging current to pass through, but only support lame USB-2 for data transmission.
However, there are USB-C cables that allow fast data transfer at 40 Gbit/s, but only support a very limited charging capacity, so that a connected MacBook, for example, is not charged.
And despite the different possibilities that each cable offers, the appearance of the cables can be completely the same. So you can't see from a cable what charging capacity they support and what speed you can expect for data transmission.
If this is confusing for me as a technology nerd, how must it be for a normal user? Until now, one could assume that a cable that fits also does the job for which it was plugged in. Unfortunately, USB-C has changed that. You might plug in a suitable cable, but still there might not be proper data transfer or charging devices might be impossible - depending on what you're expecting.
Anyone who thinks that they are simply going by the price when shopping and will only get the expensive USB-C cables in the future will be disappointed. Unfortunately, the price is no guarantee that the cables will both fast charge (USB-C Power Delivery) and Thunderbolt (40 Gbps).
I still have all the charging cables that come with the devices in various boxes. But I don't usually use them because their function is always somehow limited. In addition, many of the cables also have a USB-A connector on one side and there is simply no suitable port on my MacBook Pro. So most cables are useless to me.
So that I still have a good cable that I can be sure of supporting both 40 Gbit/s data transmission and 100 watt charging power, I got two cables that support both. In this way, you don't always have to wonder whether problems might be due to the cable.
If you want to buy a USB-C cable for the Mac, you should basically look for a Thunderbolt 3 cable that supports 100 watts USB C Power Delivery. This way you can find the “good” cables on Amazon.
To make it easier for you, I have selected a few USB-C cables for you that have the properties described above. When making my selection, I chose brands that I already know and which offer good quality:
Here are all the cables mentioned above in a product box with a price:
If you have had good experiences with a cable, I would be happy to receive your cable tip.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de