Types and Versions of USB

There’s some confusion on the market in respect to what the different types of USB standards mean. From Type A to Type C, and from USB 1.0 to USB 3.1 the USB landscape is consistantly chopping and changing making it difficult to know what you want and need. Knowing this, I’m about to give you a quick run down of what it all means.


There are three main standards, Type A, Type B (Type B-Mini and Type B-Micro are subsets of this) and Type C, the last of which is now the standard for high speed, quick charging devices. The “Type” relates only to the physical shape and dimensions of the plug (there are some technical differences as well, but we’ll leave that for another time)


The version of USB indicates the speed at which data can be transferred. Generally the higher the number, the higher the theoretical data transmission capability of the cable.

A brief history of the USB standards are listed below:

Release nameRelease dateMaximum transfer rateNote
USB 0.8December 1994Prerelease
USB 0.9April 1995Prerelease
USB 0.99August 1995Prerelease
USB 1.0-RCNovember 1995Release Candidate
USB 1.0January 1996Low Speed (1.5 Mbit/s)
USB 1.1August 1998Full Speed (12 Mbit/s)
USB 2.0April 2000High Speed (480 Mbit/s)
USB 3.0November 2008SuperSpeed (5 Gbit/s)Also referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 1 by USB 3.1 standard
USB 3.1July 2013SuperSpeed+ (10 Gbit/s)Also referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 2 by USB 3.1 standard
USB 3.2September 2017SuperSpeed+ (20 Gbit/s)Also referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 3 by USB 3.1 standard


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