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Definition: Apple dock connector


The plug and socket that provides data transfer between an iPhone, iPad or iPod and a computer or sound system. The Apple device contains the socket, and the cable or docking station has the plug. In 2012, the digital+analog 30-pin interface was replaced with an all-digital 8-pin interface (see Lightning connector).

Digital and Analog
The earlier 30-pin dock connector used 27 digital lines for USB and DisplayPort interfaces, plus three for analog audio. However, all Apple devices, except for iPhones starting with the iPhone 7, have an analog 3.5mm headphone jack that is also commonly used to connect to a stereo system or boombox (see mini-phone connector).




First Dock Connector (30 pins - digital+analog)
The 30-pin connector worked with Apple devices prior to the iPhone 5 and 2012 models of the iPod touch and nano. It had three lines of analog audio. See Apple dock.






Second Dock Connector (8 pins - digital)
The 8-pin Lightning connector uses a reversible plug and no analog lines (see Lightning connector). (Image courtesy of Apple Inc.)






Old and New
Apple plugs are easy to identify. The newer 8-pin plug is reversible. See Lightning connector.