I found an answer in Is Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 (type C) possible? that appears to solve my problem, but I am not "getting" it. (I tried to add a comment there, but I don't have enough credits to post there)

I have an late 2013 iMac with Thunderbolt 1 ports. I also have Apple's Thunderbolt 3 > 2 adapter (my wife's iMac is newer than mine, and it allows her to use older devices.) I have a J5create JCD383 Memory Card Reader/Writer with a Thunderbolt 3 male plug. I can plug that into my wife's computer, but not mine. What I'm trying to find is a way to plug that card into my computer, but I'm not finding any devices that will allow me to do it. The explanation on that other site says I have everything I need, but I don't see it.


1 Answer 1


The JCD383 is a USB-C device, not a Thunderbolt device. Thunderbolt 1/2 to 3 adapters won't let you connect USB-C devices - only Thunderbolt devices.

A Thunderbolt 3 or 4 port on a PC or Mac will look just like a USB-C port, and indeed will accept USB-C devices. But Thunderbolt is an entirely different interface, it just happens to share the USB-C connector.

  • Nice catch on that! This Type-C connector was meant to simplify things but only succeeded in completely confusing consumers.
    – Allan
    May 13 at 14:16
  • USB itself has been a confusing game since the get-go, especially once we started having all different connectors, OTG, and now with USB-C we have various power standards, cables can be USB-2 only while having USB-C connectors, etc. It's actually great for people who know tech and want universal connectivity (the U in USB is "universal" after all), but the fact is supporting every standard on every port/cable/etc. would cost way more than it's worth.
    – fdmillion
    May 14 at 19:01
  • OP could actually use a Thunderbolt dock via an adapter to possibly get at least USB 3/USB-C device support. But that would probably be overkill just to attach up a card reader... There are a handful of TB1/2 to USB 3.0 devices out there, I had one for my old MacBook Air back in the day. You'd still need to adapt the USB port to a USB-C port, but adapters do exist for that as well.
    – fdmillion
    May 14 at 19:02

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