iPhone 15 USB-C port is 100% standard; MFi certification rumors wrong


Prior to Apple’s launch event, there had been numerous suggestions that the iPhone 15 USB-C port might be restricted in some way, with only Apple-certified cables and accessories able to take advantage of full data transfer rates and charging power.

This would have mirrored the situation with the Lightning port in previous iPhone models, but a new report today says that Apple itself has indirectly confirmed that there are no such restrictions with the USB-C port in iPhone 15 models …

The pre-launch rumors

With Lightning iPhones, Apple has an MFi (Made For iPhone) certification program for third-party cables and accessories.

In return for paying Apple a license fee, manufacturers get a supply of authentication chips that tells the iPhone that the accessory is a certified one, and that all features should be activated. Without this chip, iPhones may limit both charging and data transfer speeds.

As this is a nice little earner for Apple, there had been suggestions that the company would do the same thing with USB-C accessories, and that only official Apple or MFi cables and devices would unlock the full capabilities of the port.

ShrimpApplePro – who established credibility with Dynamic Island and iPhone 14 RAM leaks – was among those to report this.

Yeah usb-c with MFI is happening. Foxconn already in mass production accessories like EarPods and cables […] Cables w no MFI will be software limited in data and charging speed.

Apple documentation appears to disprove this

However, Arstechnica says that this is not the case, and that the USB-C port in iPhone 15 models is 100% standard, with no Apple certification requirements for cables or accessories.

We can confirm that these early reports were incorrect and that iPhones have completely standard USB-C ports that work just fine with all existing USB 3 and USB-PD (Power Delivery) compliant cables, chargers, and accessories, just like Apple’s other devices. 

As evidence for this, it points out that Apple has updated the compatibility tables for existing Mac and iPad USB-C chargers and cables to state that they are also compatible with the iPhone 15.

Those existing chargers and cables are themselves 100% standards-compliant, and do not contain authentication chips, meaning that – just like Macs and iPads – the USB-C port in the iPhone 15 cannot require any authentication.

We’ll have to wait a little longer for reviewers to provide the final confirmation, when testing with third-party chargers and cables, but certainly Apple itself has provided a solid pointer to the rumors being wrong.

You’ll still need to ensure that your cables have the necessary capabilities. If you want to take advantage of the 10Gbps data transfer speeds of the iPhone 15 Pro models, for example, you’ll need a USB 3-compliant cable; the supplied cable in the iPhone 15 box won’t do the job (that particular rumor appears correct). But at least you won’t need to pay an Apple tax for MFi cables.

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