Executive Editor, MacworldAUG 10, 2023 3:15 am PDT
It’s been more than 10 years since Apple unveiled its new Lightning port with the iPhone 5 in 2012 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 isn’t about to limit the change to Europe and has confirmed that future iPhones will switch from Lightning to USB-C. Here are all of Apple’s remaining Lightning products and when we might see them switch to USB-C:
Last updated: September 2022 (iPhone 14)/March 2022 (iPhone SE)
Next expected update: September 2023 (iPhone 15)/March 2025 (iPhone SE)
The iPhone 14 is likely the last flagship model with a Lightning port. While the next iPhone will come in well under the deadline imposed by the EU, Gurman says the move to USB-C for the iPhone 15 is all but confirmed as the leaks and rumors roll in. Not only will it bring universal charging with your MacBook and iPad, but USB-C also opens the door for faster data transfers, which will be a welcome new feature now that the iPhone 14 Pro can shoot 48MP ProRAW photos. And 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 we have almost certainly seen the last new iPhone with a Lightning port.
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 has it, 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/AirPods Pro charging cases
Last updated: March 2022 (3rd generation)/September 2022 (2nd generation)
Next expected update: 2024
While the AirPods and AirPods Pro cases picked up MagSafe charging last year, they still use Lightning to charge with a cable despite having ample room for a USB-C port on the bottom of the case. Apple only recently both AirPods models, so they’re unlikely to receive another major refresh until 2025, but it’s possible Apple quietly launches new USB-C cases for the existing models alongside the iPhone 15.
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: ??
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.
Last updated: September 2016 (1st generation)
Next expected update: September 2023
Apple began bundling EarPods with a Lightning connector with iPhones back when it removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. These days you’ll have to buy them separately for $19 if you want a pair with a Lightning port, but Apple is rumored to be making an updated pair with USB-C to release alongside the iPhone 15 in September.
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 with the new Beats Studio Buds+ arriving earlier this year, 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.