Google is rolling out an update to Chrome OS this week that comes with a very handy new feature. As reported by our colleagues on 9to5GoogleChrome OS 102 includes a new “USB-C cable alert” feature, and it’s a feature that Apple should definitely replicate across the board for its products…
This new feature in Chrome OS warns you when a USB-C cable you’ve plugged in doesn’t support certain features or “isn’t performing optimally for your laptop.” The warning explains whether the cable “doesn’t support the powerful USB4/Thunderbolt 3 standards that your Chromebook does”. The full list of warnings includes:
- Cable may not support displays
- Your USB-C cable may not connect properly to displays
- Cable can affect performance
- Your USB-C cable does not support USB4. The performance of the device may be limited.
- Your USB-C cable does not support Thunderbolt.
- Your device supports a higher data rate than your cable.
Why Apple should copy this feature
As we have written so often here on 9to5MacDespite selling on a universal connector, the world of USB-C cables is still very, very confusing. This is especially the case for regular Mac and iPad users who aren’t quite as tech-savvy as many of you reading this are.
A simple search on Amazon reveals a wide variety of different USB-C cables, many of which support different data transfer rates, display support, and charging speeds. Your mileage will vary significantly depending on the cable you choose. This is also true at both ends of the spectrum; some of the cheaper cables don’t fully support the features USB-C offers and others will overpay and consider themselves premium than they actually are.
The USB Implementers Forum, or USB-IF, has promised brand changes intended to clear up some of the confusion surrounding different USB-C cables and standards. However, these changes don’t seem to be rolling out any time soon. And they still don’t solve the problem of accessory manufacturers not meeting full USB-IF standards.
As the confusion surrounding USB-C standards, speeds and features continues to grow, Google has chosen to take matters into their own hands with the new “USB-C cable alert” feature. The warnings provide users with a simple explanation of the function of the USB-C cable they are using, including why it may not work for certain connectivity needs.
In addition to Thunderbolt 4, Apple has also applied USB-C to many of its products. As it increases its reliance on USB-C and Thunderbolt 4, it should also add some sort of USB-C cable alert feature on both Mac and iPad. This feature would greatly reduce the confusion around USB-C and Thunderbolt cables and give users a clear explanation of which cable they are using and which cable they might need to unlock more features.
Theoretically, Apple could even take this one step further and add a similar iPhone charging feature. In the Settings app, Apple could explain the fastest charging speed of the cable and power brick combination the iPhone is connected to, and explain how that speed could get faster with a new power brick.
What do you think of this new Chrome OS feature? Is it something that Apple should apply to all of its products and operating systems? Let us know in the comments.
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