My goal is to build a station for my local dancing school with an audio interface for old iPads, iPhones and USB-C devices (Such as the iPad Pro, Android Tablets and Phones and hopefully the next iPhone)

The "station" needs to charge the mobile device and pass through USB-Data. At the moment, it is solved with the Camera Connection Kit (Charging+USB-Port to Lightning), which is plugged into a Power adapter and to the USB-Audio-Interface. However, this solution obviously only works for the old ipads and iPhones, but when a dance instructor comes and wants to connect an iPad pro or - god beware - an android device with USB-C, they completely mess up the system because they unplug all cables and then don't know how to replug them.

The question is: is there a way to have a single cable, preferably USB-C that charges and carries data and then a simple adapter or adapter cable to lighting? Are there any USB-C Docks that would work when adapted to lightning or do we need active components when adapting from lightning to usb c?

  • Depending on your exact requirements there's any number of solutions to this using adapters (there is an adapter for pretty much any combination of ports). I suspect the most elegant solution would be a type of universal cable that has the adapters attached to the cable (mostly so they don't get lost), such as this one from nomad: nomadgoods.com/products/universal-kevlar-cable-0-3m - Most reputable brands offer cables like this, just keep an eye on the specs when selecting one (charging wattage might be low for a 12" iPad Pro and not all of them support data). Oct 4, 2021 at 13:01
  • the problem is that most of these cables usually only pass through power. However, I need ONE cable to the mobile device to SIMULTANOUS charge the mobile device and connect a USB device to it.
    – Tobi
    Oct 4, 2021 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


Here's an expensive option but one that may be worth it since time is money, and I offer to at least give ideas. I connected my iPhone 7 with an Apple USB camera adapter ( https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MK0W2AM/A/lightning-to-usb-3-camera-adapter ) to a Thunderbolt dock ( https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-thunderbolt-dock ), the dock worked as a USB dock for Ethernet, audio, and USB-A ports. This same dock performs the same functions when connected to my MacBook Pro by a USB-C cable and so would presumably do the same with any phone or tablet with USB-C.

I don't typically plug in such a "heavy duty" dock into an iPhone, I merely did so to test the theory. It worked for me so should work for you. To connect a device with Lightning you'd use the camera adapter you have, but to plug in a USB-C device you'd use a "full function" USB-C cable. (I specify "full function" cable because some cables only provide power, you would need a cable with all data lines connected which should come with the dock.)

Plugging in a USB-C dock (USB 3.x or Thunderbolt) by a Lightning to USB-C cable will not work, you have to use the USB 3 camera adapter and a USB-A to USB-C cable. The reason for this is a bit complicated. There is no Lightning adapter with a USB-C female port that will plug into a USB-C dock, again it's complicated on why this is.

To plug USB peripherals into an Apple iPhone/iPad/iProduct with Lightning requires use of the USB 3 camera adapter, USB-C to Lightning cables will not work. Even though it is called a camera adapter it supports many kinds of USB devices, as you discovered. Supported devices includes a USB dock with Ethernet and audio interfaces, as I verified myself.

With an appropriate dock the users need only connect their tablet/phone/whatever to the Lightning adapter or the USB-C cable, then connect the other end to the dock.

I know that's a long answer but this is a complicated issue. Both USB-C and Lightning can act as master or slave to a data bus, and which role it plays is indicated by the cable that is plugged into it. You want the device to be the master on the data bus and so you have to connect the right kind of cable. Not using the right cable means the device is in slave, or peripheral, mode and will not communicate with attached peripherals as they will also be acting as slave devices.

Given my long answer you may find it easier, and certainly cheaper, to keep doing what you are doing.

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