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USB Type A vs C

A black USB cable with type A and type C on both ends.

Have you noticed how confusing USB ports are? If you’ve been struggling to understand the difference between your ports and how they function, you’re not alone. The USB system has evolved many times from when it was first created more than 20 years ago.

Nowadays, there’s more that you can do with your standard USB type C port than you could 10 years ago. That’s because then it wasn’t even upgraded to this powerful data transfer system that you use today.

Recently, the USB system has improved its design and performance. Ensuring that you receive and transfer data at incredible speed. Yet, it’s still easy to get overwhelmed when it’s time to make a choice about which USB type is the best and for which device.

To find out more about the differences with your USB types, you should keep on reading. 

What is a USB?

A close look at a woman holding a USB cable.

Did you know that USB stands for universal serial bus? Before your common USB was invented in 1996, you had to go through various challenges if you wanted to plug and play anything on your computer. Imagine trying to plug a mouse in your computer and needing more than one cable?

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Fortunately, nowadays, and thanks to Ajay Bhatt for creating the USB system, you no longer have to go through multiple connections to plug your mouse in. The idea behind your USB system is that it ensures universal communication between your computer and other devices. These devices are broad and can be anything from your keyboard, mouse, to your flash drives.

However, before the USB system was invented, you needed to install software for each device to ensure that it runs efficiently on your computer. In addition, each time that you had to do these installations, you had to go through the tedious process of rebooting your computer to make sure that they run adequately. 

Engineers at Intel in Oregon were put to work to develop a system that could smoothly integrate the connection between your computers and these devices. Fast-forward to 1998 when Steve Jobs launched the first ever iPad that had a USB only port.

It was groundbreaking stuff, and it launched the USB system to new heights. Consequently, this meant that the end of the floppy disk would be near. Additionally, the USB system gave way to more easy-to-use devices such as your regular flash drive. As a result, there are currently more than 6 billion devices that you can find globally. 

The evolution of the USB system is remarkable. For instance, you can now use it to send power to most of your devices. Your smartphone, tablets, and other rechargeable batteries around your home. 

What are USB Ports?

You may have noticed that your computer has one or multiple USB ports. This is where you can connect your USB devices to transfer your data. You can also transfer your digital data from the cloud to your device.

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It’s a valuable way that saves you time in the process. If you’re not certain about where you can find your USB ports, you’re not alone. Below you’ll find a list of where your ports are usually located. 

Desktop Computers 

This is a close look at the back of a computer with USB ports.

Your computer usually has multiple USB ports. For instance, you can find two to four ports in the front. And anything between two and eight ports located at the back. 


This is a close look at the USB port of a laptop.

If you own a laptop, you may have noticed your evenly spaced out ports. Generally, you’ll find them at the back or on the sides. The standard number of USB ports that your laptop has is nothing more than four. 


A tablet connected to other gadgets via USB port.

The USB port in your tablet usually doubles up as a charging port. It’s usually a micro USB port, but other tablets come with additional ports. It depends on the brand that you choose. 


A close look at a smartphone connected to its charger via USB.

Your USB port on your smartphone is usually similar to the one on your tablet. 

What to Plug in Your USB port?

There are various computer systems that support a USB interface. However, there are common types of equipment that you’ll use to ensure your computer networking is sufficient. The following are the common types of equipment that you’ll find in your home or office. 

  • Your USB network adapters 
  • Your cellular modems and your USB broadband to have a stable internet connection.
  • USB printers that you can share on a home network. 

What are USB type A and C?

USB Type-A

This is your standard type of USB type connector design. It’s much larger than your type C that’s almost the same size as a micro USB. This type A connector has been around for decades.

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It’s easy for you to recognize it because it’s been around for so long. It has a horizontal port that comes with a bottom portion that’s used to pin your connectors.

However, to ensure that you have a stable connection, you should ensure that you’ve properly inserted everything. Your one-sided USB connection will only function if you’ve perfectly inserted your cable. Interestingly enough, you also get subsets of your type A USB design.

For instance, you can find a USB Mini-A or Micro-A. However, they have different port host designs when compared to this original host design. 

USB Type C

This is a close look at a USB type C cable and its port.

You’d be surprised to find that this port design was only announced in 2014. Yet, it’s become so popular. The thing is every invention has minor problems that need to be upgraded to ensure that it functions properly.

As a result, your USB type C was invented to fix the issues of its predecessor. These are some of the improvements that you’ll find in this modern USB-type design.

  • It’s a slimmer and reversible design. You don’t have to worry about inserting it correctly.
  • It can handle more powerful connections compared to your USB type A. This enhances your potential of receiving your data transfers at a much faster rate. 
  • It can do multiple functions at once. It can transfer data on one end, while charging your device on the other end. 
  • It supports the transmission of videos with 4K quality to your big screen. 
  • It has various modes that can support your different adapters. This includes your old USB types. 
  • It is rumored to have compatibility with Thunderbolt 3. 
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What is the difference between USB type A and C?

The main differences lie in the upgrades of your USB type C. The new reversible design allows you to save time instead of worrying about inserting your USB correctly into your one-sided USB type A. There’s a symmetrical pin that’s been placed at the bottom of your USB type C.

The upgraded standard USB supports requires more power to deliver data transfers. Your USB type A isn’t powerful enough to enable this power transfer. The USB type A lags when it comes to accommodating a wider range of data transfers. 

Frequently Asked Questions About USB Type-A and Type-C

Is USB type C faster than type A?

Your data standard generally determines the speed of your transfers. But, with more improvements on your USB type C and a newly updated data standard of 4.0, it’s safe to say that it’s faster and versatile when compared to your USB type A. 

Does USB type C charge faster than USB type A? 

You’d be surprised to find that your modern USB type C ports support a fast charging standard that can deliver up to 100 watts of robust power to your compatible devices. 

What is better between a USB type A or a USB type C?

If you have the proper data standard such as your 4.0 standard, you’ll understand why your USB type C is faster. The speed of your transfers are much faster. Additionally, you get to enjoy using your device more because it will offer your versatility. 

What are USB ports used for? 

USB ports allow you to safely connect your devices to each other. You can then transfer digital data using a USB cable, or even charge your devices. 

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