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You’re buying the iPhone 15, but don’t throw away your old Lightning cables

Published Aug 30th, 2023 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 14 Pro Lock Screen.
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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The iPhone 15 will be unveiled on September 12th, and that’s when Apple will finally explain its decision to bring USB-C connectivity to the iPhone. It’ll also explain which iPhone 15 models can support Thunderbolt 4 transfer speeds over USB-C, if any, and why.

Three days after that, you’ll preorder your iPhone 15 of choice and then receive it at your home on September 22nd. The iPhone 15’s release date hasn’t been confirmed, but we already know how Apple operates. The new iPhones hit stores and homes the second Friday after the keynote. By Saturday, September 23rd, you’ll be ready to ditch all your Lightning cables now that your shiny new phone has a USB-C port.

But, whatever you do, don’t get rid of the Lightning cables. You’ll still need them for various Apple products that have not switched to USB-C. Also, you can turn them into USB-C chargers that can power the iPhone 15.

I wrote a lot about the USB-C cables coming with the iPhone 15 series, so you might be familiar with the rumors. The iPhone 15 box will contain one USB-C-to-USB-C cable. It should be a braided cord and come in a color that matches your iPhone. Also, it should only support USB 2.0 transfer speeds, just like the Lightning cable it replaces.

But I also told you that no matter what kind of smartphone user you might be right now, the chances are high that you are ready for Apple’s first UBS-C iPhone. You must own a USB-C charger by now that can use the iPhone 15’s default cable.

If you’re a longtime iPhone user like myself, you also own several Lightning cables. You might always have one with you, with at least one other at home, possibly powering a wireless charger, MagSafe included. You might also have a spare in your car and/or at the office.

These cables instantly become obsolete if you’re getting the iPhone 15, but only when it comes to the new handset. If you own other Apple gadgets, like any AirPods, you still need the Lightning cable to recharge them. Obviously, wireless charging works on some AirPods models if you have the right case.

You can always choose to recycle those old iPhone cables if you don’t have use for them once the iPhone 15 hits. Maybe you don’t own other Lightning-powered accessories. Or pass them to family members and friends who rock older iPhones.

An example of a Lightning-to-USB-C adapter. Image source: Amazon

What I would do, however, is just turn them into USB-C-to-USB-C charging cables for the iPhone 15 with the help of adapters. While I told you that we’re all ready for the iPhone 15’s switch to USB-C, I pointed out accessories like this Lightning-to-USB-C adapter on Amazon. This will turn all your Lightning cables into USB-C ones.

The two-pack product above costs $11 and features a plastic strap that hooks the adaptor to the Lightning cable. That way, you won’t lose it that easily.

This contraption will recharge your iPhone 15, and it’ll work as a data cable as well for data transfers. Don’t expect it to necessarily support the maximum wired charging speed or transfer speed. But converting old Lightning cables to USB-C ones lets you repurpose all your old cables for secondary charging points.

After you turn the Lightning cable into a USB-C one with the help of adaptors, you can use them with other USB-C devices and computers, though the same caveats remain. Charging and data speeds will be capped. But at least you’re putting those cables to good use.

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.