The first USB-C iPhone won’t be the iPhone 14. In fact, the worlds first USB-C iPhone is a modified iPhone X. While the EU pushes legislation to force a common charging port and Apple resists that, an robotics engineering student decided to take matters into his own hands.
Replacing Lightning with USB-C on an iPhone X
Ken Pillonel, an engineering graduate student in Switzerland, has successfully put a USB-C port in his iPhone X. The modded iPhone’s USB-C port works just as Apple manufactured it that way, allowing both charging and data transfer.
The engineer created a prototype connector and showed it on YouTube in May. Unfortunately, that connector was too big and bulky to fit inside the iPhone. Pillonel was undeterred, and went back to work to find a way to fit all the components into his iPhone X.
Pillonel reverse-engineered Apple’s custom C94 connector, the Lightning port found in modern iPhones. He replaced it with his own flexible PCB (printed circuit board) design, which connects to a standard USB-C port for power and data transfer to the iPhone. After months of prototyping, Pillonel has an iPhone X with a USB-C that almost looks like it was always there.
The YouTube Preview and a Future Full-Length Video
Pillonel is studying for his masters degree in robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL. He’s developed his USB-C iPhone project in his spare time. He shows off the final product in the video below. However, he says that he is in the middle of editing the full-length video detailing the entire process.
It isn’t clear yet if Pillonel will release the details needed for others to replicate his project. However, the engineer has been known to do just that. After modifying a Xiaomi Mi Wireless Car Charger to work with the Galaxy Fold, Pillonel released the 3D printed mod and instructions for folks to make their own.