Good news, the Apple iPhone 15 series finally said goodbye to the Lightning port and followed the times with the USB-C port. I believe that we are still concerned about one thing: the new C port will have MFi certification restrictions like the L port? Is it compatible with Android phones? In order to find out, we did some investigation, first of all, the results: iPhone 15 C port of the whole series are standard USB-C interface, support the public PD charging protocol, the relevant accessories do not need MFi certification.

Because we haven’t got the real machine to do the test, and the display machine at the launch site is not allowed to connect to external C-port devices, so we can only argue based on Apple’s official description and documents, the compatibility of existing C-port products, and a little bit of business logic, the results are for reference only, and the process is for entertainment only.


At the launch event and in the official website’s copy, Apple has mentioned that a single cable can charge an iPhone 15, Mac or iPad, suggesting that their ports are compatible at least in the matter of charging.

Macs have been using C ports for years, especially the MacBook, which was one of the first laptops on the market to adopt a full C port, supported from Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 4, and is also backward compatible with pretty much all USB protocols, and third-party cables compliant with the Thunderbolt/USB/PD standard will work without having to be certified by Apple.

The same goes for the iPad,

since switching to the C port there is no longer a need for MFi certified cables, any cable that supports the PD protocol can be used to charge it, as well as connect peripherals such as external hard drives, audio decoders, and other peripheral devices through the C port, with no limitations.

With the release of the new iPhone, Apple’s official website has also launched a new charging cable with a dual C port design and a braided cable body that supports up to 60W PD charging and all of its C-port products, with a 1-metre length for $145, the same price as the original C to L cable. In fact this cable should also be the original cable in the iPhone 15 box, and it is expected that the iPad, AirPods and other C-port products will be replaced with this cable in the future.

The C port on the Mac and iPad has worked fine for years, so why does everyone think it’s bound to be limited when the iPhone switches to the C port? The prevailing view is that the switch to the C port was forced by the EU, not by choice, and with Apple drawing so much money on Lightning certification, Apple won’t give it up easily. According to media estimates, Apple makes $5 billion a year from selling Lightning cables and MFi certificates.

The Lightning interface is Apple’s own research, with its own unique pin definitions and cable standards, and requires a chip for certification. After all, it is its own thing, Apple has no obligation to disclose the technical details of the Lightning interface, third-party accessory factories to produce related accessories have to leave the “buy money”, that is, “MFi” certification.

MFi is the abbreviation of “Made for iPhone”, “Made for iPad”, “Made for iPod”, and later on, it is also added to the list of other accessories. As we all know, Apple has a set of strict MFi certification and authorisation standards for third-party accessory manufacturers, who must be authorised to produce accessories for Apple devices. And to obtain this certification mark, manufacturers not only have to spend a large amount of money, but also a lot of human and material resources.

Some media have reported that “a data cable manufacturer wants to apply for MFi certification, it must have a self-built factory, the plant should not be less than 2,000 square metres, with no less than 50 workers, professional equipment to make Apple cables, and an ERP system to count the products in and out. During the application process, the product design needs to be modified repeatedly until all parameters meet Apple’s standards, which may take three to five months.”

Most of Belkin’s products have MFi certification

That’s not all, not only do accessory makers have to pay Apple $99 a year in licensing fees, but the manufacturing facility that applies for MFi also pays $2,060 per audit. For third-party accessories that pass the audit, Apple will provide a $2-3 chip that can detect whether the accessory is authorised by Apple. Not only that, but Apple also takes a 20 to 25 percent cut of every MFi accessory sold by third-party accessory makers.

Even though the process is so complicated and costly, many manufacturers still want to get the MFi certification, because a MFi certified manufacturer once revealed that the profit of its MFi products is quite objective. And an industry insider who makes cottage products estimated that “the profit margin of genuine products should be around 300%.”

As consumers, all we know is that Apple cables sell for $79 and Android cables sell for $9.90.

As mentioned earlier, MFi doesn’t actually include only Lightning accessories.

From the official website, we can see that MFi involves quite a variety of types, such as AirPlay-enabled audio products, CarPlay, HomeKit, Apple Watch fast-charging chargers, MagSafe charging accessories, etc., and Apple can still suck money out of the certification of these products, and there’s really no mention of the need for USB-C accessories to be certified by MFi.

Despite the missing revenue from Lightning accessories, it’s an acceptable loss considering the astronomical fines from the EU, which fined Apple 10 per cent of its annual global revenue in 2021 for its app shop monopoly, which was roughly $27.4 billion that year, and would be $39.4 billion if you look at 2022 revenues.

On 4 October 2022, the EU officially adopted regulations that will force all future smartphones sold in the EU to be equipped with a universal USB-C port for wired charging by autumn 2024, and the rules will also apply to electronic devices such as tablets, digital cameras, headsets, handheld video game consoles, and e-readers, and laptops will have to comply with the rules at a later date.

And the regulations also mention that devices that support fast charging will all have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger. Once again, it confirms that the iPhone 15’s C port must be universal and that Apple can’t restrict it any further.

Unlike the Lightning port, the USB-C port is a universal standard developed by the USB-IF (USB standardisation organisation), with specifications for pin definitions and interface dimensions, and this port currently offers up to 240W of power and 40Gbps transfer speeds. It is worth mentioning that when the 1.0 standard was developed, there were 18 engineers from Apple in the working group. In the latest 2.2 standard, the number of engineers from Apple increased to 39.

So it seems that the USB-C interface is really “far ahead”, but its versatility and inclusiveness also brings a very confusing situation. The USB-IF does not have the power or obligation to enforce compliance with the specification, as there is no money to be paid to the USB-IF for the use of the C port. The iPhone 15 only supports USB 2.0 transfer speeds, while the iPhone 15 Pro supports 10Gbps USB 3. You can check the parameters of the device to find out what rate it is, but what about data cables? Unfortunately, most C-port cables are not clearly labelled as such.

In response to the current confusion, the USB-IF has also tried to save the day by introducing a variety of speed and charging power markings, and suggesting that accessory manufacturers adopt them. It’s just a suggestion, whether the manufacturers listen to it or not is another matter, and it should be a rescue failure for now.

Why so many people on the Internet are denouncing MFi, a large part of them should be consumers who find it expensive, and the other part should be the cottage factories who want to make money from the accessories, right? But now the price of MFi accessories has dropped a lot more than before, especially the Lightning cable. From the beginning of more than a hundred yuan, to seventy or eighty yuan, now you can buy MFi certified Lightning cable as long as more than thirty yuan, and Xiaomi original fast charging cable is also 35 yuan, so the comparison is actually not too expensive, right?

Choose the cable with MFi certification, it means that the cable can be perfectly compatible with your device, data transfer speed and charging speed and the original cable, will not wear a mobile phone case will not be inserted into the case, will not be inserted unstable, because these are all included in the MFi certification. USB C cable although no certification, but the parameters of the complicated, the connector length and size of the connector varies, the businessman and all the trick, the choice of time-consuming and costly. It’s time-consuming and difficult to choose.

To put it simply, it is in line with the business logic of the iPhone 15 to switch to C port. The revenue generated from Lightning accessories is not significant compared to the potential price of fines for non-compliance with EU regulations, and the MFi certification can still generate revenue from other accessories.

Secondly, the iPhone switch to C port is also in line with Apple’s product logic, for the whole family bucket users, Mac, iPad, iPhone can share the cable, but also to AirPods, Apple Watch and other accessories charging, conducive to creating a complete and unified user experience.

Finally, there is a functional need, the Pro Series iPhone is increasingly being used in film and television creation, the urgent need for an interface that can transfer data at high speed, USB C can carry a very high speed, but also has a wide range of compatibility.

As for whether it can be common with Android mobile phones, Samsung, Google, Asus and other such support for the PD protocol, and the original C-C cable are available. And keen on the private protocol fast charging of Huami OV and other manufacturers, the compatibility between them has been difficult to say, the original cable should also be able to use for the iPhone 15, but it may only have a charging speed of 5V2A, and some of the modified pin definitions of the cable may not be compatible. But on the flip side, the original iPhone 15 cable can be used for other C port devices and supports up to 60W of PD power.

If you want to buy a third-party cable, you can just choose a C-C cable that supports the PD protocol, which is usually described in the product detail page, and you can buy a basic model from a big brand for more than ten dollars, and thirty-four dollars can already buy a braided cable that is comparable to the original cable. If there is a need for USB 3 transfer speeds, just choose a cable that supports 10Gbps, and you can get a good quality one for less than $50.