What Is a Lightning Cable?
The way we use smartphones changed when Apple released its first phone. It came with a sleek, slim, and touch screen design. If you use an iPhone, you are probably familiar with some features. But what you may not know are other innovative features that make connection an easy and fun experience. One of them is the lightning cable.
This article will discuss lightning cable basics, uses, and common questions about cleaning and compatibility.
What Is a Lightning Cable?
The lightning cable is a small connector with a standard USB-A adapter on one end and a lightning
adapter on the other. These cables replaced the 30-pin dock connectors (80% smaller) used by older versions of the iPhone.
Compared to the former connector, these cables are more studier and reversible. This means you can plug it either way (upside down or downside up) into your device. The decrease in size was necessary to support Apple’s development of super-slim devices.
You cannot use these cables for devices that require a 30-pin connector. But there are adapters that you can use to convert them to lightning cables.
How Is a Lightning Cable Used
The primary purpose of lightning cables is to charge the device. For example, the iPad and the iPhone come with a charger and a lightning cable. The cable is connected (through its USB end) to the charger before plugging it into a power outlet.
When there is no power outlet or charger available, you can use just the cable to charge the device by plugging it into your PC’s USB port. But you may not get the exact charge quality like a charger.
Also, the lightning cable is more than an accessory for charging your device.
You can also send and receive digital information like an image or audio. For example, you could upload music from your phone to your computer or download a video from your computer to your phone. It synchronizes files between the device and your computer by interacting with iTunes to send and receive data.
The release of the iPhone 7 replaced headphone cables with an efficient lightning-to-headphone adapter/jack that uses a mini-plug to connect headphones.
The uses of these cables are extensive, as Apple has continued to use lightning cables to extend the capability of its devices, accessories, and peripherals.
Making Connection Easy With Various Types of Lightning Cable Adaptors
Since the uses of lightning cables expanded over time, they were also used to fulfill various user needs. Here are the different lightning cable adaptors and their uses with Apple devices.
Lightning Cable to HDMI
As smart televisions are becoming popular, screen-sharing capability needs have also increased. The lightning cable to HDMI is handy for households with older versions of televisions that lack sharing capabilities.
If you have an older TV model, you can play music and watch videos with this adaptor. At the same time, you can charge your phone through an HDMI port connected to the lightning cable.
Lightning to Headphone Adapter
The cable was designed for wired 3.5mm audio jacks. Since Apple removed the headphone jack for new iPhone models, the lightning headphone jack became a unique replacement for anyone not a fan of wireless connection. You can use the cable to connect to speakers, earphones, and headphones.
Lighting to VGA
This cable is perfect for video-only presentations. It allows you to transmit games, slide shows, and other video content to monitors and projectors. The cables are great paired with external Bluetooth speakers. And that’s not all. These cables could help you avoid those annoying notification sounds when you are doing a presentation or meeting.
Lightning to USB
With the lightning to a USB connector, you can connect your Apple device to any USB-supported device. Apple designed this cable as a Camera Connection Kit. And it is the most versatile connection medium for lightning cables.
The kit had different connectors and an interface attached to each of them. Its USB interface makes it easy to download photos and videos to your iPad from any digital camera. The kit comes in a box with an SD card reader and a camera connector.
The lightning to USB kit is best used to transfer digital information from a camera to an Apple device. Although you can use this cable for various electronic instruments, audio interfaces, wired keyboards, external monitors, etc. Using the lightning to USB connector alongside your iPhone automatically enhances its capability.
Lightning Cable Compatibility
All lightning cables from Apple are not created equal. Most iPads, like the third generation, use USB-C instead of the lightning cable. So, which lightning to USB cable should you use? Apple offers two types of USB to lightning cables:
The USB -A lightning is much more common and widely used. It has been on Apple’s radar since 2012 when they released the iPhone 12. This cable is included with every iPhone you buy from the iPhone 5 to 11 series.
You will need a USB -C power adapter to effectively use the USB -C lightning cable. However, you can plug it directly into the latest MacBooks, in-car USB ports, and PC since they transitioned USB ports.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Max come with a USB-C lightning cable. This series of iPhones could accommodate a fast-charging capacity of 20W using the USB-C lightning cable.
How do I remove a broken lightning connector?
If your lighting cable breaks off inside your device, you could use a diaper pin or a sewing needle to gently remove the broken piece without harming other device elements. You could also use needle-nose pliers to retrieve the broken piece.
How do I get water out of a lightning connector?
Unplug the cable and tap your device. Ensure the cable is downward so that the liquid can flow out easily. Leave the device for 30 minutes to dry out the water. If you still notice any liquid, leave it for 24 hours to dry out completely.
How do I clean my lightning connector?
If your cable is dirty, it could make your device faulty. So ensure you keep the port and cable clean using compressed air to clean the charging port. Then, dip a cotton swap in rubbing alcohol and gently clean the connector. Cleaning the port a few times each week is an excellent way to keep it clean and free from clogs.
Are previous versions of lightning cables compatible with my old Apple device?
No, they aren’t. Some older versions of Apple devices have a 30-pin dock; however, you need an adapter to connect the two.
The Future of Lightning Connectors
Most iPhone users are thrilled with the brand’s ecosystem and how it is geared towards meeting users’ needs. Now that you know what lightning cables are, their uses, and their compatibility, you can easily make the most of them.
Have you used the lightning to USB cable? What do you like most about lightning cables? Let’s know your thought in the comment section below.
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