The advent of USB-C has been a game-changer for many electronics. You can use the connection to charge devices and transfer media, and it is conveniently reversible. Modern laptops no longer require a large power brick – you can simply use USB-C.
But you should take some precautions while charging on USB-C. Here is everything you need to know.
USB charging and laptop
You have probably already used a USB connection to charge small devices from your computer or from an outlet. This works well because previous USB connections had enough wattage to successfully power those small batteries. However, earlier versions of USB can handle a limited amount of power, which is why laptop chargers have typically retained their larger, heavier cables.
USB-C replaced it. This type of connection now provides enough power to juice up most laptops (especially the Type-C 3.0 version). This is why laptop charging is a new topic of conversation for USB connections, especially now that more laptops with USB-C charging compatibility are entering the market.
So, how do you know that your current laptop has a USB-C port which also works with charging? You can always see it, but the easiest way is to check your charger. You can identify the Type-C charger by its distinctive features. The USB-C connector is small and round, quite different from the older USB version. It does not work in any way how you connect it to the correct port, so there is no need to flip it correctly. If your charger uses this connection and plugs into your USB-C port, you have a winner!
USB-C chargers are powered on many different devices, so it is not strictly mounted on a laptop. Newer phones use USB-C charging, car chargers may come with a USB-C port, and portable chargers (discussed more below) may have USB-C options. But USB-Cs occur more often than other devices in laptops, at least for now.
Will any port work with any charger?
USB-C is a universal charging standard. This means that, technically, it doesn’t matter which USB-C charger you use – it should be able to power a laptop with a USB-C charging port and power bank. In the real world, this is taking a little time to come true. Today, most laptop USB-C chargers are interchangeable, but are not guaranteed.
Some laptops come with USB-C ports that do not charge. This is most common on laptops that come with their own proprietary charger – although many types of laptops can be charged, only the proprietary charger turns the laptop on more quickly. The Samsung Notebook 9 is an example of this, as is the 2019 HP Envy 13.. If you’re not sure how to charge your laptop, check out the manufacturer’s website, or see a review of the system here in .
Laptops that rely solely on USB-C, meanwhile, cannot be charged with just one charger. PCWorld found in its test that HP’s Specter x2 would not be charged with any USB-C charger other than its own. HP stated that this was done intentionally because a bad charger could damage the device or cause a malfunction in it. Other devices, such as the Apple MacBook Pro, do not have such stringent restrictions – a new USB-C authentication system may help with this issue in the near future.
While we have not personally heard of any damage from using the USB-C charger that came with your laptop, there is always a slim risk when plugging the laptop into an unknown power source. Defective cable can also be a problem. Microsoft acknowledges that you can do Charge a surface with a USB-C port, but it is highly recommended that you use the Surface Charger that comes with the laptop because the USB-C charger is very slow due to how power is measured within the device Will end with In short, it is a good idea to buy cables and chargers from reputable sources and think twice about using the cable you found laying on the ground in a conference room.
You can purchase additional USB-C cables for your own protection.
Your settings are important
You’ll also want to check your USB-C power mode, which you can find in your laptop settings, usually in the Power / Battery section. Here, you can find that you can switch the output of Type-C, choose whether to receive power or send power. If your USB-C laptop charger is not working when it should be all right, then check your settings to make sure it is set to receive power.
Complex charging arrangement
Because USB-C is universal and can perform many tasks at once, it allows for some unique charging situations. Two are worth noting:
Clearance: Today’s charging hubs also offer something called pass-through charging. This refers to a hub that can connect multiple USB peripherals to a laptop while charging a laptop’s battery. Basically, it’s a combination between the hub and the USB-C charging cable, so you don’t need two separate USB-C ports for each function. Popular HootooA good example of this technique. There are other innovative options, such as sending video to an external monitor while also ensuring that your laptop is charged in a presentation.
portable charger: You might have a portable charger with an old USB connection, but a phone that only has a USB-C connection (which is not compatible with older USB ports). You can link the charger to a laptop that has both types of ports, and use it to power your phone in a roundabout manner. Do not try to use your laptop Type C charger to charge your phone directly. The voltage requirements for most devices currently available are very different, and multi-device chargers are still a nascent part of the market.
USB-C and Thunderbolt 3
There is a type of USB-C which is very powerful – Thunderbolt 3. Choose a laptop with at least one Thunderbolt 3-capable USB-C port, and you can connect multiple 4K monitors at 60 Hz and increase the gaming performance of your laptop via an external GPU enclosure.
The Thunderbolt 3 allows multiple charging arrangements: it can “chain” up to six different devices simultaneously and charge easily, up to 100 W, transmitting data at a higher speed than USB-C alone.
Since Thunderbolt 3 uses the same connection as USB-C, manufacturers are quick to label laptop ports if they also have Thunderbolt 3 technology – you can usually tell by reading their descriptions. However, Thunderbolt 3 connections only work if you use the correct cable, so make sure you have Thunderbolt 3 cables if you want to take advantage of the full features and bandwidth of those ports.
For Apple users
Apple users should be aware that they are not immune to the USB-C infection we are seeing. Currently, Apple uses Lightning cables for iOS charging, a proprietary design that turns off all accessories of Apple mobile charging. The company has already switched to USB-C charging for the MacBook, and today’s iPad Pros also use USB-C charging. IPhones and iPads are currently unique in their Lightning cable dependencies.
All rumors point to this change. The EU has already voted to force Apple specifically to require binding rules for a common charging standard – a standard that is widely expected to be USB-C and what comes next. Apple may need to make a USB-C leap to sell iPhones in Europe. Add to this the growing rumors that Apple will be switching to a portless charging design for their mobile devices (perhaps using a magnetic attachment on the back of the iPhone instead), and we may see the end of the Lightning cable in the next couple Years.
Future of USB-C charging
A new version of USB is coming. The rumor has it that the latest USB iteration will be faster than the previous generation – offering further standardization. We can expect to come USB4 In late 2020, the rollout of laptops with new ports began. It can go without saying that USB4 adds another layer of complexity to the USB protocol problem. But there is more to learn about the new technology:
- USB4 will be available on the USB-C port.
- The USB 4 speeds up to match the Thunderbolt 3 and increases charging power, up to 100 W.
- USB4 will require cables formatted for USB4 to enable its new features.
- USB4 will be backward compatible to USB 2.0.
We fully expect a day when USB-C becomes the primary port option – to get in the way with others. In the future, USB 4 and Thunderbolt will likely be standard.