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Definition: USB Type C

The latest USB connector, introduced in 2014. Using a plug and socket slightly larger than Micro USB, Type C plugs were designed to replace the Mini and Micro USB interfaces and more. For example, the Alt Mode in DisplayPort allows its signals to ride over Type C cables. In 2015, the OnePlus 2, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P were among the first Android smartphones to use Type C instead of Micro USB. See DisplayPort and USB.

SuperSpeed+ and More Power
Type C cables support USB 3.1, which increased the transfer rate of USB 3.0 from 4.8 to 9.6 Gbps. USB 3.1 also handles up to 100 watts and can be used to charge a laptop computer.

Beware Non-Compliant A-to-C Cables
Type C supports faster charging and can draw more current. Therefore, if the Type A port is earlier than USB 3.1 and the Type A-to-C cable does not use the required 56K Ohm resistor, the Type C device could damage the port by drawing more than two amps.

Type C and USB 3.1 Connectors
Either Type C or Type A 3.1 cables must be used to handle the higher transfer rates and power of USB 3.1. (Image courtesy of VESA, www.vesa.org)

The Mess Today
Type C was designed to initially replace Mini and Micro USB. However, Type C is expected to obsolete all USB connectors in time, even Type A-B host-peripheral cabling. Type C products can determine which side is which.

Storage That Plugs Into A and C
Kingston's microDuo USB drive plugs into Type A and C. (Image courtesy of Kingston Technology Corporation, www.kingston.com)

Type C Is Replacing Micro USB
In 2017, Samsung switched its Galaxy smartphones from Micro USB 2.0 to Type C.

A Different Type C in Europe
The standard electrical outlet in Europe goes by the notation of Type C but has nothing to do with USB. (Images courtesy of Recreational Equipment, Inc., www.rei.com)