Along with updated logos for its MFi accessories program, Apple is now letting third-party accessory manufacturers to sell 3.5mm-to-Lighting cables, as well as USB-C ports in their products, according to a report from 9to5Mac. That allows users to charge MFi accessories with a USB-C cable and or power adapter they might already have, for example, and also draw power from the USB port on a Mac using the same cable.
With the new specs, companies in the MFi program can now include USB-C receptacles on their officially certified iOS and Mac accessories for charging.
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Apple started allowing manufacturers to use its Lightning port receptacle on MFi accessories a few years ago and it has been adopted by a lot of docks, game controllers, Made-for-iPhone chargers, and other products since then.
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But Apple is still frustratingly limiting the specification: unlike Lightning ports, which are also part of the MFi spec for accessories, USB-C ports can't be used for pass-through charging or syncing on iPhones. Still, Apple does give you other options, as it lists on its official support pages that the fast-charging functionality of the new iPhones is certainly accessible by plugging in certain third-party USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) adapters, and combining them with an "Apple USB-C to Lightning" cable (sold separately for $25 or $35, depending on the length). "Made for iPod, Made for iPhone, Made for iPad, and AirPlay logos communicate to customers that an electronic accessory has been created to connect specifically to iPod, iPhone, or iPad, and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards". Products are also allowed to bundle USB-C cables with the MFi accessories, but manufacturers can opt to not include a cable or adapter and reduce their costs and or price in the process.
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Though, adding a 3.5mm to Lightning, it's a useful addition for older headphones with removable cables or speakers with 3.5mm aux inputs.