What is Micro USB?

what is micro usb

by Alex Gustman

Updated: February 17, 2022

The Micro USB connector is the first standardized port for phones and various mobile accessories. In this article, you will learn what preceded the appearance of Micro USB, what its features and varieties are, in which devices it is used, as well as its prospects.

The inception of Micro USB

The Micro USB connector is the first standard port in mobile electronics, approved by the EU in 2011. However, major manufacturers at the time, such as Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and LG, began to use the Micro USB connector en masse around 2006-2007.

micro usb in motorola smartphone

The need to come to universal standardization was preceded by the appearance of a large number of different connectors for charging cell phones. And one manufacturer produced devices that used 3-4 connectors for charging and another 2-3 separate types of ports for firmware and data transfer. As a result, there were 5-6 chargers and USB cables in one family. 

micro usb in power bank

Another problem was the increase in the number of recyclable chargers, which users threw away en masse because they were incompatible with a new or different phone model. As a result, universal standardization has helped simplify the use of mobile electronics by users, as well as improve the environmental situation.

This article describes in detail what a Micro USB port is. This standardized connector is used in various mobile electronics. The port is gradually replacing the more functional USB-C connector, which has an expanded number of lines. This allows for the implementation of previously unavailable features in devices. If you have any questions about the topic, leave them in the comments below the article.

micro usb on circuit board

Varieties of Micro USB

The Micro USB port also supports audio transmission to wired headphones. And if the OTG function is available in the phone, then the adapter with USB port support will allow you to connect to its various accessories, such as computer mice, flash drives, keyboards, joysticks.

Micro USB capabilities

There are 5 pins in the connector, which allows charging the mobile device and exchanging data with the PC. Only 4 pins are used for charging and data transfer, 2 for each task, while the fifth pin is mostly free. Some manufacturers, like Samsung, use the fifth pin to transfer video from the phone to the TV. The technology is called MHL, Mobile High-Definition Link. It lasted until 2016. In Motorola smartphones, the fifth contact is often used in service cables for forced firmware.

Micro USB perspectives

In addition to the compact version, which is used in phones, smartphones, and mobile accessories, there is also a Micro USB Type-B version. The connector has an additional five lines, making it possible to use the USB 3.0 version. The connector is not widespread. It is mainly used to connect external drives such as SSDs and HDDs.

FAQ

What is the difference between USB and micro USB?

The difference is in the type and size of the connector and plug. The standard USB port or connector is larger and used in a variety of electronics. Micro USB is smaller and is used in mobile electronics. In addition, micro USB has five contacts, one more than standard USB-A.

Is micro USB the same as USB-C?

No. They are completely different types of connectors. In addition to appearance and size, USB-C has more pins, allowing designers and manufacturers to realise more possibilities in their products.

What is USB micro used for?

Mainly for power and data transmission in various electronics. The standard is widely used in smartphones, tablets, wireless headphones, cameras and low-power household appliances.

How do I know if I have a micro USB?

Most electronics manufactured since 2008 use a micro USB port for connection. Visually, the connector is flat and not symmetrical.

Is mini USB outdated?

The standard is obsolete and has not been used in electronics since 2006-2008. However, devices with mini USB can be found. The manufacturer has probably decided to use leftover connectors or plugs.

Is micro USB for Android?

Yes. Micro USB is the standard connection type for all Android devices. The exception is some devices that have switched to the new USB-C standard.

Can I replace micro USB with USB-C?

Yes. The USB-C connector may not fit in the case, and there may not be enough space on the board to mount the connector.

Is iPhone USB-C or micro USB?

Apple smartphones are fitted with a Lightning connector. The cable for connection to the charger uses USB-C

Can type C fit in micro USB?

USB-C is compatible with microUSB. It is possible to replace the connector or plug if technically possible to replace and use. In some cases it is more practical to use an adapter from one USB type to another.

Can Micro USB transfer data?

Yes, provided the cable or board has the appropriate lines. Cheap cables often have only 2 lines for power, instead of the normal four lines.

Does iPhone use Micro USB?

No, Apple smartphones do not use Micro USB.

What uses A mini USB?

At present, the standard is hardly ever used. You may find mini USB in some obsolete or irrelevant electronics.

Are there different sizes of micro-USB?

Yes, the micro-USB 2.0 and 3.0 versions differ in size. The 3.0 version is wider due to an extra pair of contacts.

What is the standard USB size?

The standard size of USB Type A is 4×12 mm.

Conclusion

The Micro USB connector is used in many mobile devices, including phones, smartphones, tablets, wireless headphones, etc. The connector is gradually being replaced by the more promising USB-C port. The new port allows you to plug the connector into the device on either side, thanks to the duplicated contacts on both sides. The increased number of pins ensures the future of mobile electronics, which is gradually incorporating new technologies such as accelerated power transfer or display on the monitor / TV.

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About the author 

Alex Gustman


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