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iPhone 15 Pro USB-C port might support external displays, but don’t get too excited

Published Apr 28th, 2023 8:42AM EDT
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Port
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The iPhone 15 series will be Apple’s first iPhone to make the switch from Lightning to USB-C. Apple will finally adopt the same port that most Android device vendors use. A port that Apple helped create and which the company has embraced on Mac and iPad. But not all USB-C ports will be the same on iPhone 15 series. The Pro models should offer much higher data transfer speeds (Thunderbolt 3) than the regular iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.

And now, if a new leak is accurate, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max will also be able to connect to external displays via the USB-C port.

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will have USB-C connectors restricted to the USB 2.0 speeds available on Lightning iPhones and the iPad 10th-gen tablet, which also has a USB-C connector. That’s a claim we heard of before, with a relatively new leaker having just restated the same thing. Twitter user @analyst941 said as much on Twitter.

The anonymous leaker also added that the iPhone 15 Pro models will support Thunderbolt 3 data transfer speeds. The higher data transfer speeds will benefit photographers. These professional iPhone users have long complained that Lightning isn’t fast enough for photo and video transfer.

The leaker says that Apple is “heavily invested into video recording this year, rather than stills.” The Thunderbolt 3 speeds should improve data imports to workstations.

More interesting is the claim that users can hook up the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max to an external display. The feature should also benefit photographers, but others might take advantage of it:

For example, a new cinematography feature that will allow live 4K Thunderbolt outputs to monitors while recording.

Essentially, you’ll have the phone with all the camera controls, connected to a monitor displaying live 4K camera footage without any controls; in 16:9.

If the leaker has accurate info, this new iOS feature would somewhat mimic Samsung Dex, a feature that Samsung introduced on flagship smartphones a few years ago. The feature never really took off despite iterative upgrades.

While Dex would let users turn the smartphone into a desktop Android PC, Apple might not do that. From the description above, it sounds like Apple wants to use the iPhone 15 Pro’s USB-C to support connections to a monitor only for a few specific use cases.

Then again, the iPad already lets you hook up to external displays to extend your workspace. Apple has some experience with such functionality on mobile devices. But it seems unlikely that Apple will let you turn iOS 17 into a full-fledged computer starting with the iPhone 15 Pro.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.