The iPhone 15 lineup marks a major shift for Apple, with the company finally embracing USB-C charging across all models. While this change brings faster wired charging speeds, it also unlocks new possibilities for powering accessories directly from your iPhone.
Charge AirPods and Apple Watch On-The-Go
One of the most convenient benefits of USB-C is the ability to charge AirPods and Apple Watch cases simply by connecting them to your iPhone 15. This enables charging small devices in a pinch, without needing extra cables or wall adapters.
Apple notes on their website that all iPhone 15 models can “even use your iPhone to charge your Apple Watch or AirPods.” For AirPods owners, Apple redesigned the charging cases for AirPods Pro to use USB-C. Other AirPods versions can still charge via a USB-C to Lightning cable.
While Apple hasn’t provided details on charging speeds, this feature seems intended for occasional emergency charging rather than daily overnight charging. Still, it adds flexibility while traveling light or in a bind.
Harnessing the Power Delivery Potential of USB-C
This new functionality stems from the increased power delivery capabilities of USB-C over Lightning. With USB-C, the iPhone can output higher wattage to accessories that support USB Power Delivery.
It’s unclear if iPhone 15 can charge USB-C accessories from other brands yet. Apple only references AirPods and Apple Watch at launch. However, with a universal port like USB-C, broader cross-accessory charging seems plausible in the future.
Part of a Broader Shift to USB-C
The iPhone 15 lineup completely transitions Apple’s smartphones to USB-C charging. This was expected given the European Union’s mandate requiring USB-C on all new mobile devices by 2024.
Beyond the new port, iPhone 15 brings other upgrades like the Dynamic Island from iPhone 14 Pro models. The Pro versions also add a 48MP main camera, always-on display, and new titanium frame options.
Pricing for iPhone 15 starts at $799, undercutting iPhone 14 launch prices. Pre-orders open September 16 ahead of a September 23 global launch.
Overall, while the port change has some nice bonuses like accessory charging, it’s ultimately part of a broader shift towards USB-C as the universal standard for phones, tablets, and laptops. For iPhone owners, it means leaving Lightning in the past and accessing charging and connectivity conveniences that Android has offered for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I charge AirPods with older iPhones?
No, only the new iPhone 15 models with USB-C support charging AirPods and Apple Watch. Older Lightning iPhones don’t offer enough power delivery for accessory charging.
How fast can I charge AirPods with iPhone 15?
Apple hasn’t provided charging speed specifics yet. It seems geared for occasional emergency charging, not fast charging.
Do I need a special cable?
No special cable is needed. You can connect accessories like AirPods Pro 2 directly via the USB-C port. Non-USB-C accessories need a USB-C to Lightning cable.
Can I charge non-Apple accessories?
As of now, Apple only mentions AirPods and Apple Watch charging. However, USB-C could enable charging more accessories over time.