Thursday, Oct 14, 2021, 15:27 iOS: Hardware

iPhone With USB-C: A Hobbyist Reveals Possibilities

Ever since the iPhone 5, which came out in 2012, all smartphones from Cupertino have one lightning port. The compact lightning interface developed by Apple has replaced the previously in-use (and very wide) dock connector of former Apple handheld devices. In the past, iPhone users have expressed the wish for USB-C port connections on devices such as the iPad Pro and iPad mini 6. Up until now, neither branch experts nor leakers have found any indication of Apple fulfilling this wish any time soon. Rather, it appears that Apple is working towards abandoning cables altogether, especially when it comes to handheld devices.

Charging & Data Transfer Work Perfectly
Swiss tech student Ken Pilonel apparently lost patience waiting for Apple to switch to USB-C. He got to work on the project himself and equipped an iPhone with the standard interface. Ken published the result of his work in the form of a YouTube video on his very own channel "Kenny Pi". The 39 second video also reveals that the smartphone can indeed be charged via a USB-C interface and cable. Data transfer between the device and a Mac laptop also work as expected. Check the video out here:

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Extra Circuit Board Required
Despite the apparent ease of use in the video, the modification was far from simple to execute. According to Ken, in order to make sure it would all work, he had to analyze the lightning port and its corresponding electronics via reverse engineering. Finally, he had to develop an additional circuit including the new USB-C socket. Due to spatial limitations, Ken decided upon a flexible circuit board more easily implementable inside the iPhone. Since USB-C and lightning ports differ somewhat in size, the iPhone's housing was also slightly modified in order to accommodate the larger USB-C socket.

Detailed Conversion Soon To Come
Ken Pilonel only shows a few steps of the modification process but promises the release of a longer video sometime soon – detailing all individual steps of the build. Anyone brave enough to attempt such a conversion themselves should be aware that it's not advised without the proper experience or equipment. Additionally, one things also obvious: any such modifications to a product will void it of any pre-existing warranty.

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