USB Color Codes

USB color codes - Which USB version by color?

USB connectors on the motherboard

Detect Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports and speed by color.

Over the years, a wide variety of USB versions have evolved. Most have probably seen the colors black and blue. White and red, on the other hand, is quite rare.

With so many standards, versions and colors, the question quickly arises, which color belongs to which version and which speed.

USB Kabel

USB specification and speeds

USB connections by plug and colors
USB connections by plug and colors
StandardNameColorIntroductionmax. SpeedNominal Speed
USB 1.0Low SpeedWhite19961,5 Mbit/s
USB 1.0Full SpeedWhite1 MB/s12 Mbit/s
USB 2.0Hi-SpeedBlack201140 MB/s480 Mbit/s
USB 3.0SuperSpeedBlue2011300 MB/s5000 Mbit/s
USB 3.1SuperSpeed+Teal / Purple2014900 MB/s10000 Mbit/s
USB 3.2SuperSpeed+USB-C20172000 MB/s20 Gbit/s
USB4SuperSpeed+
Thunderbolt 3
USB-C20194500 MB/s20 – 40 Gbit/s
USB-BC 1.2USB Battery Charging
USB-PDUSB Power Delivery
USB Specifications

White = USB 1.x

Introduction: 1996
Speed: Low Speed – 1,5 Mbit/s to Full Speed – 12 Mbit/s

The white USB 1 plugs and sockets will be familiar to most readers. However, it has to be said that they have also been black before. With 1.5 Mbit per second, the first models were really only suitable for mouse and keyboard.

Black = USB 2.x

Introduction: 2000
Speed: High Speed – 480 Mbit/s

Until a few years ago, USB 2.0 was available on every computer. Even some current computers are still equipped with this port. For many peripheral devices, like mouse or keyboard, USB 2.0 is still sufficient for a long time. With 17 years under its belt, the standard is also unforgettable and known to everyone.

Blue = USB 3.0

Introduction: 2008
Speed: SuperSpeed – 5 Gbit/s

USB 3 has been on the market for over 10 years now. In the early years, however, it was more likely to be found on high-end devices. That was a really slow and bumpy start.
Even in 2021, USB sticks and disks with the much slower predecessor are still coming onto the market.

Teal, Purple and Violet = USB 3.1

USB 3.1 Ports
USB 3.1 Ports

Introduction: 2013
Speed: SuperSpeed+ 10 Gbit/s

The latest USB connection standard is called USB 3.1. With 10 Gbit per second really fast. The jacks and plugs wear the colors teal and often still blue, like the 3.0 version.

The colors purple or violet are used by some manufacturers for USB 3.1 cables and jacks. But also by Huawei Supercharge.

Red, Yellow and Orange = Charging Socket

USB - red connector


Quick charge port, sleep and charge

The colors red, yellow or orange do not indicate a USB standard, but an additional function. Namely, the port is active even when the computer is asleep.
These red USB ports are designed for charging smartphones and are very convenient.

The speed can not be identified here, because this charging cable port can have any USB standard. Here only helps to read in the manual.

USB Typ-C

Introduction: 2014
Speed: SuperSpeed – 5 Gbit/s bis SuperSpeed+ 10 Gbit/s

The latest USB plug and socket type does not require a color marking, as it does not visually resemble any predecessor. The new connector is also technically incompatible with its predecessors. USB 3.1 Type-C is slim and thin. This makes it perfect for mobile devices as well.

Furthermore, the plug cannot be approached to the jack the wrong way around, as it is reversible and thus can be plugged in on both sides. No matter how you are holding the cable, USB-C will always fit.

This standard is also extremely versatile. For example, monitors will probably also be connected via USB Type-C in the future.

USB Type-C will replace all other plugs and hopefully finally introduce a uniform plug shape. Please.

USB-BC 1.2 and USB-PD

These two specifications are for charging devices such as smartphones and notebooks.

USB-BC 1.2 (USB Battery Charging) are the ports most commonly named Quick Charge for fast charging smartphones and tablets. Mostly the sockets have a red color.

USB-PD (USB Power Delivery) delivers up to 100 watts at 5 amps and 5, 12, or 20 volts. By these specifications, it is already clear that this can be used to power hungry devices such as notebooks and hubs.

USB Future

The USB-C form factor is still relatively new and still not used by all new devices. The same-sided connector will be with us for a while yet. Supplied with USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4, this is a reliable and fast data highway for all conceivable use cases. Including external graphics cards and hard drives.

For the future, more and more research is being done on wireless technologies. Not only battery charging, but also for very short distance data transmission.

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