Does The Apple Watch Have USB-C?



No…and yes. Here’s what you need to know.


Wondering does the Apple Watch have USB-C?

It’s not a silly question at all, even though some may think it is. USB-C is quickly becoming the world standard for I/O interfaces, but Apple has a very haphazard approach to its adoption.

Here’s what you need to know about USB-C and the Apple Watch…

Does The Apple Watch Have USB-C?
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What Is USB-C?

USB-C is the latest type of USB connection. USB-C began debuting on devices around the year 2015.

It looks distinctly different than the old USB-A ports and plugs which dominated computer devices for the first two decades of the 21st century.

USB-A ports and plugs are fairly broad and rectangular in shape. But USB-C ports and plugs are smaller – about one-third the size of USB-A – and they have benefits USB-A cables do not, such as the ability to be orientations-agnostic. That means you can plug in a USB-C cable upside down or right side up and it will just work.

USB-C plugs have rounded corners. That design – and their smaller size – mean USB-C plugs are very easy to distinguish apart from their older USB-A counterparts.

USB-C also enables other features like faster transfer speeds.

Where Are USB-C Ports Found?

In 2022, USB-C ports are ubiquitous. Most modern computers and laptops come with at least a few USB-C ports. USB-C ports are also quickly becoming the standard for Android phones. Most Android flagships have USB-C ports today–as do many lower-end Android phones.

When it comes to Apple devices, all Macs sold today, and most iPads, have USB-C ports. However, Apple’s newest iPhone lineup – the iPhone 13 series – still features a Lightning port.

This frustrates many iPhone owners because it means they need to carry around a Lightning to USB-C cable to charge their iPhone. This means that can’t just use a standard USB-C to charge their device – like they can with the iPad Pro or iPad Air.

Does The Apple Watch Have USB-C?

Some people find this question funny because the Apple Watch has no user-accessible ports at all. You charge the Apple Watch not by plugging a cable into it but by a magnetic base that clamps to the back of the Apple Watch.

So why do people ask if the Apple Watch has USB-C? Well, because that magnetic base that you clamp to the back of the Apple Watch has a cord attached to it–and that cord ends in a USB plug, which you can plug into a computer or power brick. This is how the magnetic base charges the Apple Watch–it draws power over the cord and from whatever the USB end is plugged in to (computer or power adapter).

But just what kind of USB is this magnetic charging cable on the one end? USB-C or the older USB-A?

The answer is that it depends on which Apple Watch you buy. 

Apple sells three Apple Watch models as of May 2022. Here is what they are and the type of charging cable they come with:

  • Apple Watch Series 7: USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
  • Apple Watch SE: USB-C magnetic charging cable
  • Apple Watch Series 3: USB-A magnetic charging cable

So if you buy the Apple Watch Series 7 or Apple Watch SE in 2022, you’ll get a USB-C charging cable included. But the ancient Apple Watch Series 3 still comes with a USB-A charging cable.

Apple does sell an Apple Watch Magnetic Fast Charger to USB-C Cable that will work with all Apple Watch models going back to the original, but only the Series 7 will be able to take advantage of its fast-charging capabilities.

And check out Do AirPods Have USB-C? And Do Apple iPads Have USB-C? And check out What Is USB4 Version 2.0?

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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