New iPhone 15 USB-C leak is surprisingly great news

iPhone 15 Thunderbolt
(Image credit: @John011235/@MajinBuOfficial)

Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 15 lineup will include Thunderbolt connectivity with its new USB-C connector. 

According to a report from ChargerLab, leaked images of the iPhone 15 USB-C port show a Retimer chip that is commonly used in Thunderbolt devices, adding credence to previous rumors that iPhone 15 models will switch from Lightning to USB-C. 

Following an EU ruling that forces all smartphones to adopt USB-C charging by the end of 2024, it's been an open secret that new iPhones would have to change charging technology. Leaked images showing that the iPhone 15 USB-C port features a mysterious extra chip have had us fearing Apple was about to limit which accessories would work properly with the new iPhones, but this new discovery instead offers more positive news.

The inclusion of Thunderbolt could bring much faster potential data transfer speeds. Thunderbolt over USB-C supports up to 40Gbps, compared to the USB 2.0 480Mbps speed cap on Lightning and the 10Gbps baseline for USB-C, which could prove a boon for iPhone power users wanting to quickly transfer large files like ProRes video clips.

However, it's unclear if all iPhone 15 models will get Thunderbolt or if it will be limited to the more expensive variants, as Apple has done with the iPad Pro and recent Macs and MacBooks. While the leaked USB-C connector looks identical across iPhone 15 models, earlier this year the iPhone 15 Pro specifically was tipped to get Thunderbolt 3 support

More concrete details should emerge soon, as Apple is rumored to unveil the iPhone 15 lineup on September 12 at an Apple September event. Along with the new charging capabilities, the iPhone 15 Pro may get an action button, while the iPhone 15 is tipped for a major Dynamic Island upgrade.

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Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne
Phones Writer

Elliot MulleyGoodbarne is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide covering news, reviews, buying guides with wit and charm. He has had a keen interest in mobile, tablets, laptops, and everything in between since his first phone, the Samsung U600. Starting at Mobile News, Elliot has been writing about mobile and the business of technology since 2016, and has edited four trade magazines in that time, attending award shows for three of them. He has attended a range of industry events including 5G launches, device announcements, and trade events, where he developed a nose for picking up on trends, interviewing executives, and networking with the tech community. In his spare time, Elliot can usually be found watching, playing, or attending sporting events. With season tickets to West Ham United and Surrey County Cricket Club he often spends weekends in winter in a foul mood and evenings in the summer with a smile on his face. Outside of sport Elliot enjoys cooking, pubs next to rivers, and chilling out with a G&T, Whiskey, or Port after a solid week of excellence.