The most exciting new feature of the iPhone 15 isn’t the rumored curved design or ultra-zoom camera—it’s the switch from Lightning to USB-C. But a new report from a well-known leaker claims the charging port might not be so universal.
According to ShrimpApplePro on Twitter, “usb-c with MFI is happening” and “accessories like EarPods and cables” are already being produced by Foxconn. In a follow-up tweet, he explains that cables that aren’t MFi-certified will be “software limited in data and charging speed.”
Apple introduced the Made for iPod program in January 2005 and expanded it to the iPhone and iPad when those devices arrived. It was officially changed to MFi in 2012 when Lightning arrived on the iPhone 5. As Apple explains, the program gives developers “access to the technical specifications and resources needed to create accessories that communicate with Apple devices using MFi technologies and components.” It currently includes a wide range of accessories, including game controllers, headphones, speakers, and of course, cables.
Apple charges $99 a year for participation in the MFi program and gets an unspecified “royalty” associated with MFi accessories. On the MFi Program website, it states that this information is only available under NDA.
ShrimpApplePro’s claim is that an unsupported cable would result in a slower charging speed that an MFi-certified one. It’s not clear whether this means charging would be slower than the current 20W speeds, or if it would be limited to 20W and the USB-C iPhones would support faster charging. It’s already rumored that the iPhone 15 Pro models will support Thunderbolt transfers of 40Gbps, so the MFi certification will likely be needed to achieve those speeds.
With the current iPhones, accessories that aren’t MFi certified aren’t guaranteed to work with the iPhone and often display a “This accessory is not supported” warning when connected. That same warning doesn’t apply to USB-C accessories on the iPad, and there are no reports about slower charging speeds when using third-party cables.
However, the iPhone is far and away Apple’s biggest-selling device, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Apple expand the program to USB-C. The vast majority of MFi devices are Lightning, and while accessory makers would still need to support Lightning devices while older phones are still being sold, the switch to USB-C will surely be swift.
For all the latest news and rumors about this year’s new handsets, check out our iPhone 15 superguide.