What are the different types of USB cables?

USB is supposedly universal, but there are so many different types. Why is this? As it turns out, they each serve different functions, mainly to preserve compatibility and support new devices.


USB-A is most commonly used with computers, or power outlets, and can be used for charging devices, connecting devices to computers or data transfer. The USB-A can only be plugged in one way.


USB-B ports are mostly used to connect printers or external hard drives with computers. They are not as common as the other types of USB cables.


The USB-Mini was used for connecting mobile devices including MP3 players and cameras, and is a much smaller connection, thus allowing smaller devices.


The USB Micro is now the standard USB port for almost all mobile devices. This type of connection allows data to be read without needing a computer. For example, you are able to connect Flash Drives, or Memory Sticks, directly to your mobile device.


USB-C is on of the most recent USB development. It allows high speed data transfer and a high power flow, and is reversible and so can be plugged in either up or down.


This isn’t a true USB standard, but is Apple’s proprietary connector for the iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and more. It’s a similar size to USB-C and comes standard on Apple devices released since September 2012. Older Apple devices use the much larger 30-pin proprietary connector.