Will Apple ever unify charging connectors for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac?

Will Apple ever unify charging connectors for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac? Lightning, USB-C, MagSafe for iPhone, MagSafe for Apple Watch, MagSafe for Mac – that’s a lot of different cables to carry for travelers!

Will Apple ever unify charging connectors for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac? Image: cable bag and cable conectors

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

Let me break down Apple’s different connectors and you’ll see how confusing this is:

• Lightning: Apple uses Lightning as the connector for all of its iPhones, the entry-level iPad, the iPad mini (but not the iPad Air or iPad Pro), iPod touch, and accessories like the Apple TV remote, MagSafe Duo and Battery Pack, all AirPods products and cases, and keyboards, mice and trackpads.

• USB-C: Apple uses USB-C for the charger on the current MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iPad Pro and iPad Air.

• MagSafe for iPhone: Apple launched its large puck-shaped MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 line last year.

• MagSafe for Apple Watch: The Apple Watch has used the same MagSafe charger since the first model in 2015.

• MagSafe for Mac: MagSafe started its Mac comeback earlier this year with a new round connector on the revamped 24-inch iMac. Expect another MagSafe design to make its way to the new MacBook Pro this year and a redesigned MacBook Air next year.

I believe Apple should shake up its connector lineup and slim down from five different chargers to as few as three. That would go a long way toward simplicity and better management of multiple Apple products. That should start with transitioning from Lightning to USB-C.

MacDailyNews Take: AirPods, Apple Remotes, Magic Keyboards, Magic Mice, and Magic Trackpads – they all charge with Lightning, so if Apple is going to move to USB-C, we’re going to need a lot of female lighting to male USB-C adapters!

We heard the outcry when Apple dumped the 30-pin connector for Lightning, so expect more rending of garments if Apple does it again.

That said, we do agree that it’s a mess, there are a lot of different cables/connectors to carry when on the go, and Apple should try to unify charging connectors as best they can.


      1. USB-C in its present form as a power cable sucks. It’s a hassle to plug in and pull out of the Magic Keyboard, as if it’s about to break. I added a few MagSafe-like adapters to two of my cables and devices so I don’t have to deal with that kludge. I don’t mind the variety of cables as much as the backwards step in design from the elegant and functional MagSafe to Lightning-like USB-C. Give me a MagSafe puck that will charge my Apple Watch, iPad Pro, iPhone and Mac.

  1. There is no excuse for an iPad having just one port. That clogs things up and makes thinks awkward and inelegant. Even the phones have plenty of room for both Lighting and USB-c.

  2. Multiple connectors is idiotic. Minimal ports is idiotic. No USB on MacBooks. Nothing like not giving the customer what they want. Thanks Timmy, you are such a great leader!

    1. Bean counter Timmy is an embarrassment taking away valuable ports and product functions, exactly what customers want, and ARROGANTLY does not consult ANYONE.

      CEOs only focused on profits have either taken down or made their company a hollow shell of their glory past not delighting anyone except the Board and shareholders.

      Tim Cook needs to be replaced for Apple to RETURN TO LISTENING TO CUSTOMERS and fulfilling their needs…PERIOD!…

  3. No. Apple marked the death of Flash, floppies, SCSI, CD-ROM drives, built-in networking, SIMMs, NuBus expansion slots, trackballs in a portable, 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networking, Firewire, physical keyboard for phones, the 30-pin charging dock, 32 bit apps, the list goes on. Like it or not, this is Steve Jobs vision of innovation. Always moving forward, don’t look back.

    1. Painting all the removals you mentioned with a broad brush under the GUISE of innovation is false. Some yes, some were improved and some went into the dustbin of history.

      That said, what does your list have to do with streamlining connectors across product lines to known standards?

      Sounds like a good plan to me…

  4. Apple is very careful about replacing ports. They don’t rush into it. I remember, in the days when I was using scsi external drives that every two years, or so, I would need a new cable as the association was constantly upgrading the standards. I’ve got a huge box of this old, useless, cables and Adaptec scsi cards.

    Stop complaining! Jobs used to say that Apple didn’t do surveys to see what customers wanted. They would develop what they at Apple wanted. That hasn’t changed much. But you guys are wrong, if anything, Apple listens to customers more now than then. But they still generally do what they think is best.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.