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Understanding Your USB Cable: types and uses of USB cables

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If you have ever used a smartphone, or transferred files between a computer and a mobile device, then you have probably used a USB device.

USB cables are everywhere around us, from the smartphone box, to the Flash drives, to Portable devices, printers; USB cables are all around us.

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. They were initially used to transfer data, but recently, they have been used to transfer both data and electric current. This means, you can use the USB cable to transfer data between two devices, you can also use them to charge your phones tablets, camera, or even laptop computers.

USB devices have come a long way, and they have developed from different stages, and grown into different sizes, shapes, designs, usability, and speed.

USB Type A

The USB A is found on almost all USB types. It is likely to be found at the other end of every other types. This is the part that connects the other USB types to the computer.

Smartphones, keyboards, Flash drives, Cameras, Mouse Tablets, and basically, any device that needs to be connected to the computer, can be connected using this USB type.

USB Type B

This USB is usually found on external devices, especially on the Printer, and an external Hard drive connector. This USB type is not so common, and doesn’t have as much use as the other USB types. With the advent of smaller USB types, and the portability of devices, this USB type is slowly becoming obsolete.

Mini USB

Some years ago, Mini USB used to be the standard USB connector for portable devices. Devises like the MP3 player, camcorders, etc. About a decade ago, there was hardly a mobile device that doesn’t have the support for this USB type, but nowadays, you would hardly find any device that uses this USB type.

Micro USB

The Micro USB is quite popular nowadays. A lot of the entry level smartphones, and some mid-range smartphones, use the Micro USB. The connector of this type of USB is small, and this allows Smartphone manufacturers to design devices that are slim.

The micro USB allows information on a device to be read on a phone, instead of having to find a computer. Micro USB is currently the standard connector for mobile devices (except Apple devices), and technology are being developed for mobile devices, with the Micro USB in consideration.

With the use of an OTG (On-the-go) cable, the USB type A can be connected to a smartphone. This has made the use of Flash drives possible on the smartphone, without having to use a computer.

The Micro USB can be found to work on devices like Smartphones, Tablets, Bluetooth devices, Smart watches, and some other gadgets.


This was initially called the USB Type C. It is the newer, and upgraded version of the Micro USB.

USB-C is reversible – this means that due of its shape, the connector can be plugged into the device upside down, or whichever way you please.

This USB type offers faster data transfer speed. It can also transfer more electrical power than the Micro USB, and this is why mobile phone companies prefer using the USB-C for their chargers with Fast Charging technology.


The USB 3.0 is the third major version of the USB family. The USB 3 has different connectors – it can have the connectors of different types of USB, but to visibly identify the USB 3, you have to look out for the Blue colour that it wears.

USB 3 is designed to transfer data at super speed. A USB 3 cable can transfer files at up to 5Gbit/sec (625MB/sec).

USB 3 was designed in 2009, and has the capability of transferring at 10 times more speed that the USB 2.0.

In 2013, the USB 3.1 was designed, and this has even more data transfer speed than the USB 3.0. The USB 3.1 has the capability of transferring data at 10Gbits/sec (1,250mb/sec)

If you have a device that is USB 3 compatible, you would be able to transfer files at a super fast speed – provided you use a USB 3 connector. However, if you have a device that only supports lesser USB versions, you will not be able to use the Super speed of the USB 3.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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