Now There’s USB-C On The IPhone SE

As confusing as it can be, USB-C is actually pretty good, and certainly has its fans. [David Buchanan] must be one of them, for he did a great job putting a USB-C port into his iPhone SE.

[David] didn’t want to ruin a pristine example, so set about hacking the cheapest first-gen iPhone SE he could find on eBay. His approach was simple: get a USB-C to Lightning dongle and hack it into the phone’s body.

The first step was to strip the adapter down and melt off the Lightning connector. He then de-soldered the Lightning port from the phone, and found a bunch of test pads on the motherboard corresponding to its pins. Soldering leads from the adapter to the test pads got things up and running, once he properly hooked up a connection-detect pin to ground.

With a bit more trimming, some hot glue and some enameled wire, [David] was able to cram everything inside the iPhone. Paired with a new screen and home button, and he had an iPhone SE with a working USB-C port. It works for both charging and USB data, too.

If you’re rocking an iPhone SE, you might dig this conversion as it gives you access to more chargers out in the wild. Plus, you’ve still got the regular headphone jack. Be sure to check out the iPhone 13 with a USB C port, too. It’s the hottest new hack until the new EU regulations hit Apple in coming years.

36 thoughts on “Now There’s USB-C On The IPhone SE

    1. It’s the best or worst phone in the world.

      They should just make two flavors. Lighting and USB-C. The trick comes now when you want to sell it as used. Does the buyer want the one you have or are you ending up with a paperweight.

    1. Strawman! No one says it can’t. It’s whether users actually want it (will the EU replace all the lightning cables I’ve bought?), but more seriously, whether it’s right for the EU to mandate the port on devices made and owned by private companies and individuals. If they’d passed this 10 years ago, all our phones would have mini-USB (urgh!), and manufacturers wouldn’t be able to innovate. And they’d come after this guy’s hack for making a non-complaint phone.
      We’ll now be stuck with it for decades, long after when USB-C would have been replaced.

      1. Apparently you are too young to remember what a complete mess phone charges were before the EU mandated some common connector.

        You are also wrong in about any orther regard. The Micro USB connector is from 2007, so 15 years old now:

        , and from what I remember it was specifically designed as a result of the EU mandate for phones because the Mini connector was deemed to not survive the enough insertion cycles.

        You “lack of innovation” is also a completely bogus argument. I don’t know about the fruit brand, but other brands have already switched to USB-C connectors.

        So you’re either too young to remember, completely ignorant, blinded by bling bling, living in blinders in a closed off world or deliberately trolling.

        1. “You “lack of innovation” is also a completely bogus argument. I don’t know about the fruit brand, but other brands have already switched to USB-C connectors.”

          Had the EU actually mandated USB Micro (they didn’t), then you wouldn’t have many of those USB-C devices today. Anything needing more than 5v 2a that fell under such a mandate wouldn’t be legal to sell.

          You can see clearly how innovation would be stifled had that happened.
          Without usb-c on my phone it would take hours to charge instead of minutes. Without usb-c on my tablet it would use more power than available over micro just to run, never mind charge.
          Had laptops been included, those would simply not exist in the EU.
          That with the usb-c mandate, laptops had to be legally classified as non-mobile stationary devices should show how bad of an idea this is.

          Mandating usb micro would have destroyed todays industry before it started.
          Mandating USB-C is less bad, as it will take some time before the 240 watt limit causes those problems, but this isn’t an ‘if’ but a ‘when’
          I just hope by that point the EU can update their legally mandated restriction faster than it has taken them to make it.

      2. Yes let’s go back to the days of every damn device having it’s own silly proprietary connector (each with their own different critical flaws) because that was much innovation, very futuristic! Seriously at this point I don’t really care which standard is selected, but just select one already and stick with it till a better solution is selected from amongst some standards lab testing.

        1. Poe’s law, are you sure? Or were you being sarcastic? … wait am I being sarcastic!?!? **a blackhole is created which begins to consume the fabric of space and time**

      3. Apple has made all their products USBC except the iPhone. USB-C is amazing. I would love to have all the same chargers USBC is the future and Apple needs to swallow its pride and let iPhone get on board

    1. My last phone lived in my quite linty pockets everyday for just under 4 years and I only had to clean the port out once towards the end of that phone’s tenure. Most of the time before inserting the usb cable a quick blow into the port would clear it out well enough to charge.

        1. I’ve dented a few, never mattered to function. Lifespan of my usb c cables is considerably longer than my lightening cables though. I have had to clean usb c ports a little more often than lightening, but I also found the usb c ports harder to clean.

          I know it’s just my personal experience, but that’s at least 1 data point for you.

    2. I wouldn’t know how much lint gets in anything anymore, I use wsken magnet connectors on all my devices. As a bonus the lightning, micro and USB C all fit the same magnet cords.

      Downsides include no OTG support and collecting ferrous dirt in the connector. Also the phone side magnet is clipped on and can get loose. but some disassembly and epoxy fix that one.

      I unfortunately have to order direct from China because they aren’t available in the US anymore.

      I just don’t want to take any devices apart unnecessarily to replace their internal connector. Even though I have a cheap hot air pen and have done multiple times, if I don’t have to it is better.

      Kudos on this hack, looking forward to when we can buy an off the shelf flex PCB for any product to change it over. I’d even be interested in the new 240w standard for my Clevo desktop replacement running a Pascal GPU and a socket 1151 i7 9700, or Lenovo P70, been snapping those up for ~$230 because they need a minimum of 170w supply to work.

  1. I got the new LE because I am too old to figure out all the swipes and gestures needed when the button got eliminated. It has wireless charging. For $12 from a large online rainforest themed vendor I got a charging pad and haven’t worried much about connectors since. Sure for the odd travel and what have you I’ll wired-charge but otherwise nope. So kinda a moot point. Really rad hack BTW

  2. Long overdue! Good effort to make this happen as a POC and great that the EU is forcing Apple to stop ring fencing Apple products into their own hardware ecosystem – given the rest of the world converted to the same platform 5-7 years ago, it seems the only reason was for their own profit. It’s an environmental crime that Apple took so long to join in! Soon EVERY device will be on the same charger + cables! Unless of course Apple embed some electronics in their cables to block the phones from using generic cables and chargers.

  3. Funny thing is the iPhone is the only Apple product NOT already USBC! I have a current gen iPad mini, had to have an iOS device for a specific application, to my surprise it was USBC. It even supports bi directional charging with my android phone and it’s power adapter is detected as a complaint fast charger also by my android phone (Asus ROG 2) MacBooks have also been USBC for a couple years. The lightning connector is WAY past it’s lifecycle and should have been retired years ago!

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