How to use a USB-C hub with the 2018 iPad Pro

The only tangible benefit of USB-C over Lightning in the new iPad – so far – is that you can use any USB-C hub and use it with the iPad. Previously, you had a choice if you wanted to connect USB devices to your iPad – Apple's Lightning-to-USBC camera connector .

Announcement The choice is much larger for the owners of the iPad Pro 2018. And although that's not all. it is easy to connect a USB-C hub, there are some things to watch for. Let's see this and see what you can use with this hub.

Why use a USB-C hub with iPad Pro?

A USB-C hub will allow you to simultaneously plug any type of accessories into your iPad. You can connect QWERTY keyboards, piano type music keyboards, any USB MIDI device, an SD card reader, a USB audio interface, Ethernet cables, cameras, external displays up to 5K, and more.

What kind of USB-C hub do you need?

Photo: Charlie Sorrel / Cult of Mac ]

Not all USB-C hubs are equal First of all, USB-C simply refers to the shape of the connector. The other part of the equation is to determine if the hub is using USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 to communicate with the connected iPad. USB 3.1 doubles the data transfer speed of USB 3.0. For the moment, this is probably only of interest to photographers who move huge files, or a lot of files, from their camera to the iPad. If all you're doing is plugging in music or a keyboard, it does not matter. Even USB 2.0 is more than enough for that.

USB-C cables

USB-C cables are another factor to consider. There are several types, classified for different power levels and speeds. The one provided by Apple with the iPad, for example, can transfer data, but only to USB 2.0 speeds. Longer cables are slower: for maximum USB-C speeds, you need a long cable of one meter (feet) or less.

Most USB-C hubs come with a short tail that plugs into your iPad, so you do not have to worry about this part. Just be sure to check the specifications of all the hubs and cables you buy. USB-C cables can all look alike, but that's not the case.

Power supply by USB (PD)

The most important thing to look for in a USB-C hub – outside the port configuration – is a USB (PD) port. This allows you to connect a USB-C charger to the hub, which will then power the connected iPad.

Without this, the iPad will need to power up all connected devices, drain the battery and limit connected gadgets to a consumption of 7.5 watts (the maximum that the new iPad Pro can provide) . You can use the AC adapter and the cable that came with the iPad to power the power.

Which ports do you need?

USB-C hubs are available with the following common ports:

USB 2.0
USB 3.x
SD card
Micro SD card
Mini DisplayPort

These are the most common, but there are more. You can also get hubs with VGA adapters, for example, which looks crazy in 2018.

Obviously, you should choose the hub that has the ports you need. But do not go too far. Since most of these hubs have a short tail, they will hang on the side of your iPad, so you want something too small.

Ask yourself if you will ever use Ethernet or an external monitor. Then balance that protection against the future with what you really need right now.

Do not buy too much hub

I bought a 8-port Vava USB-C hub for my iPad Pro. It comes with three USB ports, HDMI, SD, miniSD, Ethernet and direct power. I use it to connect multiple devices to my iPad, including a USB MIDI keyboard and audio interface. But since you can connect an old conventional USB hub to one of its ports, you do not need three.

Actually, I needed one or two USB and Power Delivery ports. This, and a longer cord for the concentrator to sit on the desk. I could then plug an SD card reader into the hub in the rare case that I needed it.

For a good guide to USB-C hubs, check out the still-amazing Wirecutter . And for USB-C accessories in general, see our own guide .

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