Recall when we brought to your attention plans by the European Commission to propose legal measures that would force phone manufacturers to use a common charging standard like USB-C in other to reduce e-waste and consumer inconvenience. At the moment Apple is the only manufacturer still not using USB-C for its smartphones. Although the new iPad mini is the latest Apple product to make the transition, iPhones are yet to jump in that direction. Apple has about two years to add the connection to the iPhone.
While Apple is yet to announce compliance, a robotics engineering student has proven the possibility of the iPhone modifying its Lightning connector into a USB-C port. Ken Pillonel has an electronics background and is working on a Master’s degree in Robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). The robotic engineering student in a video titled “World’s First USB-C iPhone,” on his YouTube channel, explains how he modified an iPhone X into one with a USB-C port. In a recent blog post, Ken Pillonel explained the project of how he reverse the Lightning connector, then built a prototype PCB connector to prove the concept. In the video, Ken Pillonel showcased the phone receive power via the connection he installed. He also showcased the ability of the USB-C cable to handle data transfers.
Before he embarked on the project, Ken Pillonel first stumbled on the discovery that Apple devices are manufactured with a Lightning connector that has an integrated circuit (IC), known as C94. He however managed to get one out of a third-party cable, then remove the metallic part and expose the PCB. With that done, he pulled the female Lightning port from an iPhone and soldered wires from the bare C94 board to a PCB with USB-C connectors. Pillonel says “Once that was done I had my first working prototype,” he added that “Lightning is gone and only USB-C is left.”
In the video, Pillonel says he reverse-engineered Apple’s C94 connector, in order to make a PCB with a female USB-C port fit in. However, it became a challenge to shrink it down and install it back into the iPhone but somehow he manages to fix the challenge. Few iPhone users have expressed optimism about having their phones come with the USB-C port as they believe the USB-C ports give room for faster charging. They also believe it is evidently feasible for Apple especially given that the latest iPad Pro was launched with a USB-C port. It’s not clear if this has been done before, however, we advise that regular iPhone users do not try this project as it could result in numerous harmful uncertainties. That’s without mentioning that it would obviously void your iPhone’s warranty.
According to Apple’s Repair Terms and Conditions, unauthorized modifications could deem an iPhone to be considered as “Out-of-Warranty” when in need of repair, if they prevent Apple from addressing the reported issue with the device. Such additions could incur additional costs, or prevent Apple from performing a repair at all says Apple Insider.