From charging our smartphones to connecting keyboards and mice to our computers, we are surrounded by USB interface and we encounter USB connectors every day. You must have noticed that USB cables are featured with distinctive connectors on their ends. Also, there are numerous types of USB slots mounted on devices to host those connectors.
Have you ever thought about why they are different and what makes them exclusive? If you want to understand different types of USB connectors and their applications, we are right next to you. Let’s go ahead and we will try to guide you figure out different USB connectors.
What is a USB Connector?
USB Connector is a part of the Universal Serial Bus interface which consists of connectors, ports, and cables. This is used to connect two devices like computers and peripherals to establish communication between them and enable file transfer. It also provides a path for power-sharing or sideloading apps between devices.
USBs were first introduced in 1994 by Intel’s chief systems technologist Ajay Bhatt. The latest version of USB is USB 4.0 with 40 Gbit/s maximum transfer rate which was introduced in August 2019. To learn about formatting a write-protected USB, click here.
Different Types of USB Connectors
To support new devices and preserve compatibility, different types of USB connectors based on different versions were introduced with different functions. In this section of the article, we have gathered up six common types of USB connectors. Let’s have a look.
Type A or Standard-A USB connector is featured to offer downstream connections for host controllers and hubs. It also provides an upstream connector for peripherals. This type of connector looks flat and rectangular and works in one way. This features 4 pins to upgrade speed at 625 Megabits per second.
USB 1.1, USB 2.0, USB3.0, USB 3.1 versions support Type-A connector. So, it is backward or forward compatible with all the versions of USB. USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 Type-A connectors are often designed with black color. In the case of the USB 3.0 version, it often comes in blue color.
They are the most common ones and you surely have seen them at one end of almost every USB cable and. The majority of the computers have several of Type-A female ports to host the Type-A connectors. Devices that include USB hosts like desktop, laptop, tablets, game consoles, wall chargers, AV receivers, DVRs, DVDs, and Blu-ray players, streaming players, etc. support Type-A USB connector.
Also, they are typically found in USB keyboards, mice, joysticks. For small USB devices, it is directly used without cables, for example, flash drive. They are used at the end of a cable that connects with the power source normally. The limitation of this type of USB is a comparatively large size which is impractical for small and slim devices.
Type-B USB connectors are designed in an almost square shape with sloppy exterior corners on the top two ends. They are rarely used nowadays. The goal of introducing it was to remove the risk of connecting two hosts. They are not much versatile and lacks compatibility.
The type-B USB 1.1 and 2.0 are similar with 4 pins. But USB 3.0 Type-B has a different shape to provide high-speed data transfer and not backward compatible with previous ones. Previous versions are still compatible with it. USB 3 Type-B connector are two types: Standard-B with 9 pins and Powered-B with 11 pins.
You can encounter them mostly in powered devices to connect to computers like printers and scanners. This type of connector used in the one end of cables to receive power. They are also implemented in external storage devices for example floppy drives, hard drives, optical drives, etc.
Mini USB was widely used in mobile devices before but is now fading with the introduction of micro USB. You will still encounter them in some older gadgets like MP3 players, cameras, game controllers, etc.
it is comparatively smaller than the previously described USB connectors but quite bigger than the latest versions. There are two types of Mini USB connectors: Type-A Mini and Type-B Mini.
Mini USB Standard-A connectors were introduced to permit OTG (On the Go) peripherals with small host devices like tablets and phones. The USB 2.0 mini-A has a rectangular shape where one side is sloppier and has a 5-pin configuration. They are only adaptable in USB mini-AB receptacles.
USB Mini-B is found in USB 1.1 and 2.0. it is commonly seen in hard drives or digital cameras. It consists of 5 pins where the extra pin is given to support OTG. This type of connector in the USB 2.0 version looks like a stretched bread piece as it has a small arrangement on either side of the rectangle.
These mini USB connectors are compatible with Mini AB and Mini-B receptacles. They are phased out with the development of modern sleeker smartphones.
Micro-USB is now a widely used standard connector worldwide. This enables you to read data without the aid of computers, which means you can connect other devices and your phone directly with the help of a Micro-USB. It has replaced Mini-USB successfully with its small shape that allows manufacturers to design slimmer devices.
You must have encountered micro-USB in portable devices of well-known brands like mobiles, tablets, USB battery packs, Bluetooth headphones, at the end of your mobile chargers, and so forth except Apple. But it is also eventually phasing out now with the release of Type-C USB.
There are two types of micro USB connectors: USB Type-A Micro and USB Type-B Micro. Both of them hold 5 pins.
Micro USB 3.0 Type-A connectors are usually seen in OTG devices. They seem like two separate rectangular plugs are joint together where one is bigger in length than the other. USB 3.0 Micro-A is compatible with only USB 3 Micro-AB receptacles.
In the case of the USB 2.0 this type of plug it looks like the original Type-A connector is shrunk. They can adapt with USB 2 and USB 3 micro-AB receptacles.
USB micro type-B connector took the place of Micro USB type-A connectors. You surely have come across this type of USBs as plugs and ports of standard chargers.
USB 2.0 Micro-B has around two edges on one large side of the rectangular shape. They can be connected in USB micro-B and micro-AB, USB 3 Micro-B, and Micro-AB receptacles. If we talk about USB 3.0 Micro-B, it is nearly similar to USB 3.0 Micro-A plugs. They allow USB 3.0 Micro-B and Micro-AB receptacles.
This is the latest type of USB connector which can be predicted to be the future of the USB interface. It was first introduced when the 12-inch MacBook of Apple was released. If we talk about size and shape, the dimension is 8.4 by 2.6 mm and it is rectangular with 4 rounded corners. So, it is pretty similar to the Micro-B USB.
Type-C USB standard’s center of attention is its reversibility and compactness. This is featured to provide the highest data transfer rate of 10 Gbps and power of around 100W. Which makes it better than the previous type of USBs. It can juggle multiple functions at a time.
Many latest laptops, smartphones like pixel phones, MacBook, Samsung Galaxy S9 is featuring this type of USB connectors. We can easily say shortly all the devices will have Type-C host and it will be universally used in both ends.
It is Apple’s Proprietary connector and specially featured for iPad, iPhone, AirPods and so one. It was released in 2012. The size of the lightning USB is somewhat similar to Type-C USB. It is also a reversible type USB connector that means it can be connected either way.
With the evolution of technology, devices went slimmer and smarter. To adapt this, different types of USB connectors were introduced from time to time. Type-B and Mini USBs eventually phased out with the release of the latest versions of USBs and they are rarely found in use. But still, we regularly depend on Type-A connectors while connecting peripheral devices with our computers.
At present we are now pretty much surrounded by Micro-USBs as the majority of companies feature them for charging purposes and transferring data. But, predictably, Type-C connectors will one day replace all the USBs with its reversibility and fast performance.