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The USB Cable Guide: Do You Need Type-C, Micro USB, Or Lightning?

usb cables

Here’s a super quick guide to help figure out which type of USB cable you need to charge your mobile device. The three most common connection types for phones and tablets are USB Type-C, Micro USB, and Lightning.

If you use an Apple iPhone or iPad, you want a Lightning cable. Simple as that.

USB Type-C and Micro USB are a little trickier to determine because, at a glance, they’re both small and look pretty similar. Micro USB had been the default connector type for Android devices and other electronics, but USB Type-C is beginning to slowly take its place to become the new standard.

different cable connectors

One way to tell the two apart is that the Type-C connector doesn’t have a top or bottom. It’s an oval, so it doesn’t matter which orientation way you plug it in. Conversely, the Micro USB connector does have a specific way it needs to be plugged in because it’s flat on the bottom and angled on the top.

Devices with USB Type-C

There’s no hard and fast rule for whether your device will use USB Type-C. It could have been used for a device manufactured from 2015 onward. But, here are a few of the most popular devices that need a USB Type-C charging cable:  

  • Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S9, Note 8, A7, A5, A3
  • Google’s Pixel, Pixel 2, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P
  • LG’s V20, V30, G6, G7
  • The Essential Phone
  • Nintendo Switch

Motorola, Xiaomi, HTC, Huawei, and OnePlus each have USB Type-C devices as well.

If you don’t see your device listed here AND it’s more than a year or two old, there’s a good chance you need a Micro USB cable.

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The Everyday Guide To Preserving Your Phone’s Battery

power time

True or false, if you use the wrong app, you could damage your phone’s battery? This is false, but there are still a lot of questions about how you should charge your phone and what things may lessen the longevity of a battery’s life.

Battery questions have long been in the back of people’s minds, but Apple brought this more to light with iOS 11.3 and the addition of its battery-health indicator which measures the long term health of your phone’s battery and tries to maximize its performance and life.

Let’s dig into some of these questions and see if you should change any of your battery behaviors.

Is there anything my phone’s battery can’t handle?

Your battery doesn’t like physical damage, like being tossed into a fire or something else crazy. But in terms of general phone usage, your battery is resilient to refreshing Instagram thousands of times.

Play all the video games you normally would, leave your phone plugged into a charger if you feel like it, and don’t worry about letting your phone hit 0%. Your battery should be fine for years.

How do I get my phone’s battery to last through an entire day?

There are a few things you should watch out for to make sure you aren’t losing unnecessary battery life on a daily basis. One thing you should NOT be doing, though, is force quitting all apps on your phone after each use. That WILL NOT help and could be using more battery life. (What does this mean? Check out why that is…)

If you think your daily battery should be lasting longer than it is, your first visit should be to the battery section in the settings app. Both iOS and Android provide details on how much battery different apps are using.

Warning: be prepared to have your eyes opened if you’re scrolling Instagram for hours a day.

Keep an eye open for unusual activity such as long usage in the background (continued use, while not visible on screen) which could be taking unnecessary battery life.

If everything looks normal in the battery section of the settings app you can tweak a few other settings, such as lowering the brightness of your screen and turning off a notifications (which can light up your screen everytime they come in). [screenshot]

If you’re constantly running out of battery life despite taking these precautions, you may just be a “power user,” in which case, there’s a simple solution: pick up a portable battery to recharge your phone between the early morning and late night. This won’t tie you to an outlet and can provide as much extra battery life as you’re willing to pay for.

Say I want to live the ideal battery lifestyle, how would I do that?

So you want your battery to #liveitsbestlife on a daily basis and prolong the health of your phone’s battery long into the future? More power to you. Here are some of the key points that manufactures like Apple recommend in prolonging the life of their phone’s battery:

  • Keep it comfy – Batteries like to be comfortable and that means keeping your phone (and its battery) between 32-95 degrees fahrenheit. Basically the same temperatures that work for humans. (Don’t leave your phone in a hot car!)
  • Update! – Stop ignoring those reminders and keep your phone’s software up-to-date. Both iOS and Android devices heavily manage the phone’s hardware through its software and having the most up-to-date version means that your phone will have the latest tips and tricks to keep it running smoothly.
  • Disconnect – When you phone doesn’t have a strong connection to a cellular connection (like when it goes back and forth between one bar and “no signal”) it then works the hardest to search for a better signal. Avoid areas with poor connectivity to your provider or turn off cellular in your phone’s settings to avoid a big power drain.
  • Locate – Most people have used GPS to navigate somewhere and understand it is a heavy user of battery life. Just be aware that apps that constantly use your location like maps and Uber are a bit more heavy on the battery and shouldn’t be planned to used for hours without a backup charging plan.
  • Certify – Anything electrical you plug into your phone  should be good quality. For Apple, that means MFI certified (Made for iPhone, iPad, iPod). For others, it should be sold by a reputable reseller–probably not that rando gas station in the middle of nowhere. While modern phones are extremely safe, plugging them into a janky charger could definitely cause explosive issues.