The new iPhone 15 uses a USB C port for the first time. This not only allows you to use universal charging cables, but also transfers data to your PC/notebook more quickly.
At least in theory! Apple Lightning supports a maximum of USB 2.0 and therefore around 30 MB/s. There was a big discussion here, because the normal iPhone 15 only supports USB 2.0 and therefore a maximum of 30 MB/s via USB C.
Only the “large” iPhone 15 Pro has a USB C port according to the 3.2 standard with up to 10 Gbit!
WOW 10 Gbit on the iPhone 15 Pro and only 0.48 Gbit (480 Mbit) on the iPhone 15, that’s a big difference if you want to transfer a lot of data/videos.
But what does it look like in practice? Because 10 Gbit is the speed of the interface. Can the controller or memory in the iPhone 15 Pro actually read data that quickly?
Let’s find out in a test!
USB C on the iPhone 15 Pro with up to 10 Gbit
The iPhone 15 Pro will probably use the USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard. Apple itself speaks of “USB 3 (up to 10 Gbit/s)”.
However, this is the maximum data rate of the interface. That doesn’t mean that this is achieved in practice. Because for this, the controller has to be correspondingly fast, as does the NAND memory in the iPhone, and various software things have to be “right”.
With the included cable a maximum of 30 MB/s
Important, the cable included with the iPhone 15 Pro only supports USB 2.0! So a maximum of 480 Mbit or approx. 30 MB/s.
If you want to transfer data faster, you need a correspondingly faster USB-C cable. These USB C cables have more cores inside for higher data rates. Evil tongues could say that Apple “saved” the included cable.
However, these cables are significantly thicker and less flexible, which makes them less attractive as a pure charging cable.
Unter Windows ca. 177 MB/s
Let’s start with test 1, on Windows. I recorded a video of about 10 minutes in 4K 30, which is 3.27 GB. I copy this to my PC via a USB 4 port using a corresponding USB C cable (USB 4 cable with up to 40 Gbit).
I time it and repeat the process 3 times to be on the safe side.
Result, the iPhone 15 Pro Max was able to achieve a data rate of 176.94 MB/s.
This is well below the theoretically maximum possible +- 1000 MB/s of the USB C 10 Gbit connection.
I also tested two other cables, with a USB A to USB C 3.0 cable I only achieved 114 MB/s (28.6s) and with a USB C to USB C 10 Gbit cable that was included with an external SSD I achieved again +- the same result as with the other USB C to USB C cable with 174.58 MB/s (18.73 s for the transfer).
On Mac approx. 215 MB/s
But could it be faster with a Mac? In this case, I used a MacBook Pro 13 M1 and imported the same video (3.27GB) via the Photos app.
Here I achieved 215.41 MB/s (15.18 s), slightly faster but not significantly faster.
Other smartphones are no faster either
Only a maximum of 215 MB/s, which is only a fraction of the “advertised” 10 Gbit (to be precise, it is 1.72 Gbit) sounds disappointing at first, but unfortunately that is not unusual and is a good result in itself!
In comparison, a Google Pixel 7 Pro manages 141.58 MB/s.
Only tested the 256 GB version
I only tested the 256 GB version of the iPhone 15 Pro Max here. It would theoretically be possible for the larger memory versions to be slightly faster.
Larger SSDs and flash memory modules are usually faster than smaller ones. However, I don’t think the iPhone’s storage is the limiting factor. This should be a lot faster than 215 MB/s.
I suspect it’s a CPU/software optimization story. Your PC/Mac does not have direct access to the smartphone’s memory, but only access to selected data via the operating system, which is then passed on. I suspect this process costs a lot of performance.
The iPhone 15 Pro (Max) has a USB-C port, which could theoretically reach up to 10 Gbit and therefore 1250 MB/s, but in my test we achieved a maximum of 215 MB/s under MacOS and 177 MB/s Windows, when transferring a video.
Certainly a bit disappointing, at least at first glance. However, a Google Pixel 7 Pro, which also has a USB C 10 Gbit port, also only achieved 142 MB/s, which is even worse.
This is “normal market practice”. This is where theory and practice diverge somewhat. Just because you have a fast port doesn’t mean the rest can keep up.
Nevertheless, the 15 Pro is a factor of +- 7 faster than its predecessor with USB 2.0.