Thw the new iPhone 13 is here, and Apple fans are still stuck with the old Lightning port (at least for now). Apple’s insistence on making the switch has spilled a lot of digital ink, but one engineering student has actually opted to do something about it. With a lot of determination, he replaced the iPhone X’s Lightning connector with a USB-C one – and it apparently works.
Well, swapping ports is a bit more complicated than say Fairphone, but it’s not impossible either. student, Kenny Pilonell, says he reverse-engineered Apple’s C94 connector to produce a physical connector board (PCB) that supports USB-C. After that, they removed the Lightning connector from the iPhone X and replaced it with a USB-C female port. Back then, the iPhone X was apparently capable of charging and transferring data with a USB-C port, just like any Android phone you can find on the market today.
“The motivations behind the project are simple. All I need is an iPhone with USB Type-C. Why? Since everything I own has USB Type-C, it would be pretty neat to convert to an iPhone as well. Have a charger and a cable to charge everything,” Pilonell explained in a . blog post. As for the motivations, it’s pretty sensible and understandable.
An iPhone with USB-C will also integrate fairly well with the current Apple hardware ecosystem. Apple has moved to USB-C on the iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, and MacBook. This makes the company’s frugality on USB-C for the iPhone somewhat disappointing, especially as Apple no longer ships iPhones with chargers.
Many have speculated that Apple’s control over the Lightning ecosystem has been a compelling motivation for the company. Apple itself points to waste and innovation as reasons for not moving away from the Lightning port it used for the better part of a decade.
Apple may be forced to add a USB-C port to the iPhone in the future if the EU has its way. Until that day arrives, this DIY project is our glimpse into that future.