What is a lightning cable?
A lightning cable is a small accessory that can carry a digital signal. It was launched on the market for the first time in 2012, and it is used for a wide variety of personal electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, etc. It is different from – and is in fact an alternative to – a USB cable.
A lightning cable connector has a total of 16 pins with 8 pins on each side, and it can connect in either direction. The rows of pins are not connected to each other but work alternately, depending on which side makes contact with the device.
What are the lightning connector’s 8 pins for?
Each of the eight pins in a lightning connector serves a certain function:
Pin 1: ground
Pin 2: data line 0 (positive)
Pin 3: data line 0 (negative)
Pin 4: identification or control signal 0
Pin 5: electric power
Pin 6: data line 1 (negative)
Pin 7: data line 1 (positive)
Pin 8: identification or control signal 1
The connections of pin 1 and pin 5 (ground and power) are equivalent to the two poles of the common charging cord.
Pins 4 and 8, which are responsible for the identification or control signals, are the ones that make it possible to identify what is on each side of a lightning cable and then process the data correctly.
The data lines (pins 2, 3, 6, and 7) transmit information at a high speed.
What are the tasks that a lightning cable can do?
- Charging a device by connecting it to a power supply or another device (such as a computer).
- Sending and receiving digital information. A lightning cable can transmit images, audio, video files, etc., between two devices. It can be used to sync two or more devices.
- Streaming audio in real-time so it can be used to connect an electronic device to a playback device.
Lightning cables can also be connected to all kinds of adapters like HDMI, VGA, USB ports, etc., to extend their functionality.
There is a chip between the connector and the lightning cable that processes all the information and allows its appropriate management, depending on the type of function that both the cable and connector are performing at any time.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the lightning cable over a USB cable?
The main advantage of a lightning cable over a USB cable is the data transfer speed. As for the rest, the lightning cable is less compatible, more expensive, and does not allow fast charging of mobile devices, which is currently a common feature of high-end mobile devices with USB connectors.
Another disadvantage of the lightning cable and connector is that it is more delicate than USBs; it is common for there to be several types of deterioration related to its use and the passage of time. Some of these can be repaired or mitigated, but others require replacing the cable.