8 Uses For Apple Lightning Cables Now That iPhone 15 Is Switching To USB-C

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8 Uses For Apple Lightning Cables Now That iPhone 15 Is Switching To USB-C

For more than a decade, Apple has been using the Lightning port to charge and transfer data to its iPhone line — but all that changes with the upcoming iPhone 15. Goodbye Lightning, hello USB-C.

Following the trend of most other manufacturers, Apple is switching the iPhone over to USB-C, which it has already been using for years on MacBooks (not to mention pretty much every other smartphone outside Apple’s ecosystem is already using USB-C).

But the switch now forces Apple users to grapple with a looming post-Lightning world, which means we have to find something to do with the decade of Lightning cables we’ve all accumulated from old model iPhones, iPads, extras, travel cords, car chargers and dozens of other Lightning cords we all have piled around our homes at this point.

So, what can you do with that old Lightning cable — or drawer full — once you upgrade to the iPhone 15 as part of Apple’s next wave of releases? You could always recycle them, but we have a few additional ideas.

Charge an Old iPhone, iPad or AirPods Case

Apple might be making the switch, but of course, that doesn’t mean we all have to do the same right now. Everything up through the iPhone 14, and the current line of iPads and AirPods, still charge on Lightning cables. They’ll still be plenty useful until you actually decide to upgrade all your Apple devices once the next release phase (or two) comes along. Will we need to hang onto all of them? Probably not, but it’s probably not a bad idea to keep a couple on hand until you make the switch.

If It’s a Long Cable, Bundle Up Stuff With It

Sometimes, those 1-2 foot cords just aren’t enough to get the job done. So, maybe you’ve picked up one of those long 10-foot cables (or even the comically over-sized 100-foot Lightning cable that actually does exist), because you wanted to be able to charge your phone while rolling around on the couch or in the bed. But once you make the switch, that long cable is pretty much worthless. So, why not use it as a rope to tie some things up when you’re hauling and securing (not very heavy) things? The cables are pretty tough, and if you tie it off in a good knot, they can be handy.

Tie It In a Knot And Use It To Prop Up Your iPhone 15

Is it the most efficient smart phone prop? Probably not. But if you’re in a bind and need to prop up your new iPhone for a binge session of Suits or to watch the game, tying an old Lightning cable into a tight knot and using it as a prop isn’t the worst way to prop things up in a pinch.

Tie Your Other Cords Together to Keep Them Organized

There are a whole lot of options when it comes to organizing cords, from add-on shelves, cord conduits and zip ties. But if you’re looking for a bare basics solution to keep your mess of cables from falling everywhere, you can always grab an old iPhone cable and use it as a small tie cord to bundle your TV/video game console/computer cables together. It might not be the neatest look, but it’s a lot better than cord chaos.

Donate It

Early adopters might be leaving Lightning cables behind, but there’s a whole lot of older electronics that can keep running on the platform for the next several years. If you want to pass along the good vibes, you can always donate your old chargers and cables. You can check with local charities like Goodwill and other thrift stores, or even check with your local library or school system to see if they have any tech donation programs in your area.

Charge Your Old Lightning Battery Packs

If you’ve piled up some Lightning-friendly accessories over the past few years, it’s probably a good idea to keep a couple of Lightning cables on hand to keep them running until you eventually upgrade. Plenty of battery packs and charging cables have added Lightning functionality for charging, and those batteries and packs will almost certainly still be useful for a while on newer iPhone models.

Turn It Into Art

If you have an artistic side, those old cables could be your next great art project. From wire art sculptures, mixed media art and jewelry using the cables, old charging cables make for a creative media choice if you want to mix up your approach.

A Giant Rubber Band-Style Ball of Lightning Cables

If you’ve accumulated enough old Lightning cables, you can always go full rubber band ball with them and try to tie them all together into a gigantic ball mess of cables. Maybe use it as a desk paperweight? Why? We don’t really know. But also, why not?


Trent Moore is a recovering print journalist, and freelance editor and writer with bylines at lots of places. He likes to find the sweet spot where pop culture crosses over with everything else. Follow him at @trentlmoore on Twitter.

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