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The world’s first USB-C iPhone is here thanks to a crazy hack

Published Oct 12th, 2021 10:54AM EDT
USB-C iPhone
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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For years, consumers have been wondering when Apple would finally ditch the proprietary Lightning port in favor of USB-C. Apple already brought USB-C connectors to the iPad but refuses to follow suit with the iPhone. In fact, Apple has taken so long that an iPhone owner decided to do the job himself. This week, Ken Pillonel shared a video on YouTube of the “World’s First USB-C iPhone.”

Meet the world’s first USB-C iPhone

Pillonel is a student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology currently working towards a master’s degree in robotics. Back in May, he published a blog post discussing his plans to replace the Lightning connector in an iPhone X with a USB Type-C connector.

The main idea behind the project is to use a USB-C to Lightning, convert the Type C male end of the cable to a female port and then make the whole thing fit inside the iPhone.

Five months later, Pillonel has yet to publish another blog post. But last Saturday, he uploaded a video to YouTube revealing that his odd project was a success. He was not only able to replace the Lightning connector with a USB-C connector, but he can now charge his iPhone X and even transfer data using a USB-C cable. You can see the USB-C iPhone X in action in the video below:

Pillonel explained just how involved this process would be in his May blog post. He had to completely reverse engineer Apple’s C94 Lightning port and then make a custom printed circuit board (PCB) with a female USB-C port that would actually fit inside an iPhone. Pillonel says that he will share even more details about the journey from concept to working product in the future.

As AppleInsider notes, Apple doesn’t look too kindly on unauthorized modifications when it comes to repairing your phone. As Apple states in its Repair Terms and Conditions, repairs are considered out-of-warranty if the damage was caused by unauthorized modification or if that modification prevents Apple from addressing another problem on your device. Something to keep in mind in case Pillonel shares detailed instructions on how to install a USB-C port in your iPhone.

The timing of this project is also rather intriguing. Late last month, the EU’s European Commission proposed a law that would make USB-C the universal standard for electronic devices. This could potentially force Apple to adopt USB-C ports on all of its devices in the coming years.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.