What is the difference between USB-C and Thunderbolt?

What is the difference between USB-C and Thunderbolt?

best answer: USB-C and Thunderbolt may use the same port, but they are by no means the same connector. There are a few key differences that prevent most Thunderbolt 3 products from connecting to USB-C ports.

The world is changing towards the future of USB-C, and Apple is finally starting to join in. With the USB-C port built into the new iPad (2022) and strong indications that the iPhone will finally ditch the Lightning port in favor of the “Universal” connector, it would be wise to understand the ports we see on Apple devices today and likely move forward.

While Apple seems to be using USB-C ports on most of its devices these days, the MacBook Pro (M2, 2022), iPad Pro (2022), and some other devices also have a Thunderbolt port. What exactly is the difference? Well, it can get a little complicated, so let’s break it down for you.

Two protocols, one port

(Photo credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 both use the same reversible port, which can lead to a lot of confusion about the two protocols. While the USB-C port and the Thunderbolt 3 port look the same, Thunderbolt 3 has some extra hardware compared to the more commonly used USB-C port.

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