USB-C is one of several types of USB connectors. The ‘standard’ you recognise from your computer, memory stick or data transfer cable is called a USB-A. There are also types like USB-B (used with printers) and things like mini-USB or micro-USB (older phone chargers).
USB-C is a recent invention – it was approved for use in 2016 and has been in heavy use in tech manufacturing since then.
While USB-A as a connector was an effective way of transmitting data or charging, the connector itself wasn’t without it’s issues – for one, it was too large to be implemented in something like mobile devices, and more importantly, it, along with other USB types like mini or micro wasn’t omnidirectional.
That means that it only works ‘the right way up’ – meaning users often had to either carefully check which way was up or just flip it until it would fit – except that jamming it in wrong or too hard could damage the connectors.
USB-C can be plugged in either way ‘up’ – the oval, 24-pin connector is therefore much more convenient to use. As it was developed more recently and with newer USB protocols as well, it can also serve as a more powerful connector, offering higher data transfer speeds for example. While the actual speeds depend on several factors, USB-C connectors using the USB 3.2 standard, for example, can support transfers of up to 2.4GB/s.
Where can I find USB-C connectors?
Current generation phones use the USB-C connector (with the exception of Apple devices), as do recent generation mice, keyboards, speakers, and even storage devices like flash drives. Some smaller, light-weight laptop models are starting to forego USB-A ports entirely, using only USB-C ones – the smaller connectors allow for a more space-saving design for the laptop.