Executive Editor, MacworldSEP 13, 2023 2:30 am PDT
It’s been more than 10 years since Apple unveiled its new Lightning port with the iPhone 5 and now it’s on the way out. After the European Parliament voted in favor of a new rule requiring all new phones and smaller electronics that use a cable to charge to be equipped with a USB-C port, the countdown to the death of Lightning began. While the new rule technically only applies to new products sold in Europe, Apple has embraced the rule globally with the launch of the iPhone 15. Here are all of Apple’s remaining Lightning products and when we might see them switch to USB-C:
Last updated: March 2022 (3rd generation)
Next expected update: March 2025 (4th generation)
Now that he iPhone 15 has been updated with USB-C, the only phones remaining with Lightning are the older iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, and the iPhone SE. The latest iPhone SE rumors say Apple won’t be updating the current model until at least 2025, if at all. Granted, it’ll be a few years until Lightning is gone for good since Apple sells older iPhones for several years—the iPhone 14 will likely still be available in 2025—but now it’s just a waiting game until the last remaining Lightning is gone for good.
Last updated: September 2021 (9th generation)
Next expected update: None
When Apple released the 10th-gen iPad in October 2022, it officially retired Lightning from all new iPad models. But there is still one model remaining that still has the port, the 9th-gen iPad from 2021. We don’t know how long Apple will keep it around, but once it’s gone, we’re nearly certain that it won’t be replaced with a USB-C model.
AirPods Charging Case
Last updated: March 2022 (3rd generation)
Next expected update: 2024 (4th generation)
While the AirPods Pro 2 case picked up USB-C support alongside the launch of the iPhone 15, the 3rd-gen AirPods case remains Lightning. Apple updated that model over a year ago, so it’s probably due for an update in 2024. Or maybe Apple will quietly launch a new USB-C cases at some point later this year.
Last updated: December 2020 (1st generation)
Next expected update: 2024 (2nd generation)
When Apple introduced the AirPods Max in December 2020, they didn’t have a charging case. Instead, Apple included a Lightning cable on the side for charging (or wired listening via the optional Lightning to 3.5mm audio cable). It’s been more than two years since the first generation arrived, but a reference to a new AirPods model was found hiding inside the iOS 16.4 code, so it’s possible that the AirPods Max gets a long-overdue update within the next few months (though most rumors say the 2nd-gen model won’t arrive until 2024). Among the expected updates are better noise cancellation, an H2 chip for Adaptive Transparency, and of course, USB-C instead of Lightning, but we’re hoping for something a bit more substantial.
Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse
Last updated: March 2022 (black)
Next expected update: 2024?
Apple hasn’t changed much about its trio of Mac accessories in nearly a decade, but it does introduce new colors somewhat regularly. In 2021, all three accessories—Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Mouse—got new colors to match the new 24-inch iMac, while the Magic Keyboard received a Touch ID sensor. Then in 2022, Apple began offering black versions of the accessories alongside the Mac Studio and Studio Display. While we don’t expect Apple to surprise us with a Magic Mouse that charges properly (meaning you don’t have to flip it over to connect the charger), we assume Apple will update its accessories at some point with USB-C, possibly when the M3 models launch in 2024.
Last updated: June 2020 (new colors)
Next expected update: N/A
While most of Apple’s Beats products use USB-C or micro-USB for charging, there is one—the PowerBeats Pro—that still uses Lightning. We assume that whenever Apple releases new colors or updates the PowerBeats Pro it’ll drop the Lightning port for USB-C—though now that the Beats Studio Buds+ have arrived, it’s possible that the PowerBeats Pro are simply discontinued at some point.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.