I can see this question has been broached before but I want to clarify if anything has changed with the MBP 16", which is a 96w device.

Does this have any special additional standards / features that are required in the usb-c to usb-c cable?

I wanted to get a second backup cable. I am a big fan of Anker so I was thinking I would get theirs over the official cable. However, both Anker and Apple seem to be coy about fully supporting the MBP 2019 16".

For example, on the official Anker website the product listing doesn't mention the MBP 16" outright, and seems like it doesn't fully support it:

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And even the official Apple store listing stops short of declaring support:

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It's about six months since the MBP 16" came out.

Is everyone just behind updating their listings, or is it some special tech in there that is going to need a faster rated cable of some kind?

Update - Apple's Recommendation

It seems that Apple has a page which says you do in fact need the correct usb-c cable to get the 100w charging:

For the best charging experience, you should use the USB-C charge cable that comes with your Mac notebook. If you use a higher wattage USB-C cable, your Mac will still charge normally. USB-C cables rated for 29W or 30W will work with any USB-C power adapter, but won't provide enough power when connected to a power adapter that is more than 61W, such as the 96W USB-C Power Adapter.

Update 2 - Thunderbolt 3

It also seems that USB-C is only a physical form and if you start looking at active thunderbolt 3 cables then they speak of being able to make use of the full 100w charging.

Anker have a product which says:

High-Speed Charging: Supports rapid charging currents of up to 100W, with a compatible charger.

And the offical app store sells a 2m Belkin branded one which says:

Take advantage of up to 100W power delivery

But as yet I have not found anybody discussing this, and if there is a real improvement, for charging, between a usb-c 3.1 cable vs an active thunderbolt 3 cable.

The price is certainly much higher, but is that just because it supports 40gb/s transfer instead of 10gb/s, and the high speed 100w charge is the same as a usb-c cable or is it really an improvement?

2 Answers 2


Even if we just contain this conversation to cables with USB-C connectors on each end this is a complex subject. There's some good information on this from Wikipedia but this can get confusing real quick. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB-C#Cables

First let's start with power. All cables that meet the USB-C specification must support at least 3 amps of current at 20 volts. There are cables capable of up to 5 amps at up to 20 volts. I am not aware of any markings on a cable to indicate the current carrying capacity. Any cable rated for 5 amps must have an identifier chip in the connector to tell the connected devices that it is safe for the cable to carry 5 amps. So, you might not be able to tell but the computer and power supply can. Looking at how the computer reports the power available will tell you the ampacity of the cable. The ampacity of a cable should be in the product description if that concerns you before you buy.

So, there's two power ratings of USB-C cables, 3 amps and 5 amps. Now there's the bandwidth of the cable to consider. There's five different rated bandwidths. There's 480M, 5G, 10G, 20G, and fairly recently 40G. There's typically going to be visible markings to indicate the bandwidth the cable supports.

The 480M cables are USB 2.0 cables with the new USB-C connector. While they are certainly capable of data transfer they are often advertised as "charger only" cables. If they have any markings on the connector it will be the same USB stylized "trident" as seen on other USB 2.0 cables. Because they don't have to adhere to the stricter length limits of higher bandwidth cables they tend to come in 1, 2, and sometimes 3 meter lengths. This makes them convenient to plug in a laptop on a desk or table and have the power brick on the floor to warm your feet. If you are not in a hurry they can be used to connect a cell phone or hard drive to your computer to move files.

5G and 10G cables will be limited to 1 meter in length if passive. Active cable lengths are limited by the size of your bank account. These are often marked with the USB trident, the stylized "SS" to mark their super speed support, and often a number 5 or 10 to indicate the speed. If there's no number then it's likely only going to support 5G speeds. Even though these cables are marked only for USB they can often support Thunderbolt at lower bandwidth. There is no harm in experimenting if you are in need of but lacking a proper Thunderbolt cable and have only USB cables.

20G and 40G cables will always have a number to mark it's bandwidth next to the "SS" and trident. Passive cables will be less than a meter long, and because they are functionally identical to Thunderbolt cables they will likely have Thunderbolt markings too. Active cables can be longer, again limited by how much you are willing to spend. Take care when buying active cables that advertise 20G and 40G speeds if USB speeds concern you. These cables may support only Thunderbolt at these speeds, not USB. The USB speeds might be only 480M. If there are active USB cables that support more than 10G then I have not seen them.

The bandwidth of the cable says nothing about the ampacity of the cable. To keep things simple for myself I only buy long (2 or 3 meter) 5 amp 480M cables, 1 meter 3 amp 10G cables, and short (anything under 1 meter) Thunderbolt cables. These are easy to identify at a glance, are all passive (and therefore inexpensive). If I find a need for something outside those three kinds of cables then I'll try to buy one that's a unique color to keep it separate in my mind.


A USB-C cable is a USB-C cable. Period. Full stop.

It’s not going to be different for each different device. The marketing material that you’re seeing is for SEO or search engine optimization. There’s no compatibility differences.

The USB-C port on your MacBook Pro 16” isn’t any different from the USB-C ports on any of those Mac laptops in the “specification page.” Any cable with the the USB-C logo on it must support 10Gb/s transfer rate and support up to 100 watts of power. Since the highest capacity charger Apple makes is 96W, any USB-C cable will work.

This is why you buy from reputable brands like Anker. In order to put the USB logo on their products, they must pay the licensing fee and have the product tested that it meets the standards. Yes, they cost more, but you can be assured they meet all the specifications.

Are there USB-C charge only cables or cables that don’t support alternate mode video or some other USB standard? Yes, there are. None will be USB “certified.”

  • 1
    That's a Thunderbolt cable - you don't need that to connect to your charger. Get the Anker USB cable that says it "supports high speed charging" or is "rated to 100W"
    – Allan
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 21:10
  • 2
    @Allan "Any cable with the USB C logo... must support up to 100W of power". I'm pretty sure this is wrong. This Anker cable supports only up to 60W and is USB-IF certified.
    – Oion Akif
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 22:20
  • 2
    @Allan did you ever figure this out? I believe your answer is wrong—there are USB C cables (that are USB IF certified) which can only provide up to 60W of power.
    – Oion Akif
    Commented Jun 18, 2020 at 17:06
  • 2
    Not really sure what you're trying to get at, but here you go. If you don't feel like digging around the USB spec, here's a blog post. Cables are rated at 3A (60W) or 5A (100W).
    – Oion Akif
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 0:39
  • 4
    " A USB-C cable is a USB-C cable. Period. Full stop. " Completely wrong. There are two power ratings for cables, 3 amps and 5 amps. There are four speed ratings, 480M, 10G, 20G, and 40G. The USB logo on the cable should have a number indicating the maximum supported speed.
    – MacGuffin
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 18:39

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