USB types – explained in a simple way

The shape of the USB connector has also changed over time. So with each type, new forms of the original standard have emerged. Most of these connectors, including USB type A, USB type B, micro and mini USB cable manufacturing only fit into the associated ports in one specific orientation. The latest hardware specification, USB Type-C, on the other hand, is not only extremely compact, so that sockets of this type can be found in many extremely flat devices such as smartphones, but also symmetrical.

However, the shape of the connection or the USB type does not necessarily indicate the version. For example, USB-A, the rectangular standard connector that most users are familiar with, theoretically supports data rates of up to 20 gigabits per second in version 3.2. However, the actual transfer rate depends on the host device and the peripheral device connected to it.

In principle, more up-to-date USB plugs with connections from older versions can be used. For example, USB 3.0 Type A plugs are compatible with all previous versions of USB of the same type, so older peripherals can easily be connected to new computers. If the plug has a different shape than the socket, a simple adapter can connect them to one another. Note, however, that the data transfer rate is limited by the maximum speed of the older USB device. For example, a USB type A stick cable production in version 3.0, which is connected to a laptop with a USB-C port via an adapter or USB hub, still supports a maximum data transfer rate of 5 gigabits per second.