What is the proper name/number of the proper cable to get the fastest charging and data transfer for the new MacBook Pro?

Obviously it came with a wall charger and a cable but I am looking to purchase a 3rd party cable/adapter and I am finding it very confusing between all the USB-3, USB-C, USB 2.0 Type-C, Thunderbolt 3...

Which cable and wall charger is the right kind/type to get the fastest charging and data transfer? If you could recommend or link to some it would be appreciated.

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    Thunderbolt 3 will offer fastest transfer (something like 40Gbps) – NoahL Jan 9 '17 at 2:00
  • Thanks. So that would be "Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 3," correct? And what is the next down the line? Isn't there one that does about 5Gbps? What is a USB 2.0 Type-C Male to Male? Or USB-C 3.0? I can't make sense of it all!!! – Sizzle Jan 9 '17 at 2:12
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    @NoahL is correct if, and only if you are connecting to a Thunderbolt device. If you are connecting to USB, your max throughput will be 10Gbs if USB 3.1 and 5Gbs if USB 3.0, I've written a good primer on USB-C/Thunderbolt on this site for a different question. Please review. – Allan Jan 9 '17 at 2:46
  • Sizzle, you're confusing terms. USB: USB-A is the classic connector and has a few different protocols including: 2.0,3.0,3.1. USB-C is the new version of USB. It uses THE SAME PORT as Thunderbolt 3. However, Thunderbolt is not the same as USB. USB-C has a transfer rate of 10 Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 has a 40Gbps transfer rate. Let me know if you have any questions. – NoahL Jan 9 '17 at 4:25
  • One wire says "USB-C 2.0 Type-C Male to Male"...is that referring simply to the data speeds? – Sizzle Jan 9 '17 at 15:34

What is the proper name/number of the proper cable to get the fastest charging and data transfer for the new MacBook Pro?


Charging has more to do with the adapter than it does with the cable.

The new MacBook Pro uses an 87W/61W (15" and 13" MacBook Pro respectively) power adapter. So, if you use a 60W power adapter it will charge, but slowly regardless of the cable. To get the maximum speed, you need a charger equal to or greater than the specified power adapter rating.

As of the time of this writing, there are no USB-C power adapter greater than 61W available. Unfortunately, you have to use the Apple supplied power adapter until 3rd party adapters are released onto the market. That said, the 87W power adapter will work just fine on the MacBook Pro 13" (61W).

Any USB-C cable will be able to handle up to 100W of power. My recommendation is to get a good cable from a reputable manufacturer. I have always had good results with Anker products

Data Transfers

If you have a USB-C cable (it conforms to the USB 3.1 specification) it will handle transfer speeds of 10Gbs. Period. If it's a USB-C cable, that's the maximum you will get.

If you have a Thunderbolt device (storage) then you need to get a Thunderbolt 3 cable. Belkin makes a high quality Thunderbolt 3 cable. The data transfer rate is 40Gbs. While it uses a USB-C connector, and carries the USB signal, unlike a USB cable, it also carries the Thunderbolt signal thus the price difference.

Important: You will not get higher data transfer rates by plugging in a USB-C type Thunderbolt cable into a USB-C device. You will get USB-C speeds of 10Gbs

What cable do you get?

The question is, what are you connecting?

If you are connecting a USB device, then get the USB cable. If you are connecting a Thunderbolt device, then get a Thunderbolt cable. Regardless, both cables will charge at whatever rate your power adapter can deliver and will transfer data only as fast as your device will allow.

  • According to Apple: The Apple 61W (for 13-inch models) or 87W (for 15-inch models) USB-C Power Adapter – Sizzle Jan 9 '17 at 2:59
  • I was using the 15" model specs...but I also can't find a charger with greater than 60W with USB. Leave it to Apple to come up with a requirement 1W above what's on the market. – Allan Jan 9 '17 at 3:07
  • "Any USB-C cable will be able to handle up to 100W of power" is not a true statement. There are plenty of USB-C cables that are only rated for 3 amps. – Wavy Crab Jan 31 '17 at 21:00
  • @WavyCrab - You are incorrect. USB-C implements the USB 3.1 specification which calls for up to 20V, 5A and 100W for power and charging. If you have a USB-C cable (not a charging cable with USB-C connectors - big, big difference), you have a cable that conforms to USB 3.1 Specs which means - it will handle up to 100W. – Allan Jan 31 '17 at 21:14
  • Interesting. I've seen several USB-C to USB-C cables that advertise as 3.1 speeds but only support 3 amps. Are these just non-complaint cable? Example amazon.com/Belkin-USB-IF-Certified-USB-C-Meters/dp/B00WJSPCSG ("This USB-C cable supports up to 60W/3A of power and can be used for charging and powering USB-C devices") – Wavy Crab Feb 1 '17 at 15:58

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