14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 30, 2007 8:54 AM by Sherf
Sherf Level 1 (0 points)
My computer's USB port is only 1.1 and the iPhone requires a 2.0 port. Is there an adapter available to convert my USB to 2.0? Or do I have to buy a new computer as well as an iPhone? Any suggestions?

iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.10), Also runs OS 9
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    I don't believe there is an adaptor to change a USB port from 1.1 to 2.0.

    Although the iPhone specs designate a USB 2.0 port is required, you can use an iPhone with a USB 1.1 port for syncing only (I don't believe it can be used for charging the iPhone) but syncing will be a painfully slow process (USB 2.0 is too slow IMO - Apple should have kept syncing via Firewire with the iPod and done so with the iPhone also but went with USB to allow for more Windows users) and you may come across a syncing time out issue on occasion but it can be done.
  • deggie Level 9 (52,105 points)
    You are correct, there is no such adaptor, but a USB 1.1 port on an iMac should have no trouble charging, speed isn't the issue full power is. But I would think syncing photos would be awfully tedious.
  • AndyO Level 6 (17,050 points)
    I use 1.1 to sync my iPhone and it works fine. Speed is not much of an issue in terms of syncing data such as contacts, calendars etc, but is noticeably slow with playlists particularly. Not unmanageably so, but noticeable. Syncing photos from the iPhone to system is not a problem either - these are fairly small files, but syncing larger photos from system to iPhone is slow.

    I also use the same USB1.1 port to charge the iPhone each day - no problem at all, and it takes the same time to charge as via the wall plug.

    What you WILL likely see when you connect is a dialog box stating that you are using a device that isn't iPhone compatible and offering you the option to put the phone into airplane mode. Decline that and it should work fine. You might also see that iTunes doesn't reliably open - however, on those occasions it doesn't, you should be able to open iTunes manually, and have the iPhone automatically discovered and placed in the source list on the left.
  • Randy Fast Level 4 (1,415 points)
    Firewire isn't any faster than USB2.0, it is actually a bit slower.

    USB2.0 = 480Mbps
    FireWire = 400Mbps

    Unless you use firewire 800 but that is still pretty new and not widespread.

    A USB2.0 device will still work with a USB1.1 (or 1.0 I believe) port and the same for a USB1.0 or 1.1 device will work in a USB2.0 port, but not at high speed.

    Message was edited by: Randy Fast
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    Oh yes it is - much faster which is based on much more than just Mbps due to the differences in the architecture.

    Do yourself a Google search for the differences between the two with data transfer testing/timing results for each side by side. There is a significant difference and we Mac users were forced to take a step back due to firewire not being as prevalent on PCs.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)

    Question: If Hi-Speed USB 2.0 is a 480 Mbps interface and FireWire is a 400 Mbps interface, how can FireWire be faster?

    Answer: Differences in the architecture of the two interfaces have a huge impact on the sustained throughput.

    * FireWire, uses a "Peer-to-Peer" architecture in which the peripherals are intelligent and can negotiate bus conflicts to determine which device can best control a data transfer

    * Hi-Speed USB 2.0 uses a "Master-Slave" architecture in which the computer handles all arbitration functions and dictates data flow to, from and between the attached peripherals (adding additional system overhead and resulting in slower data flow control)

    * Read and write tests to the same IDE hard drive connected using FireWire and then Hi-Speed USB 2.0 show:

    *Read Test:*

    5000 files _(300 MB total)_ *FireWire was 33% faster than USB 2.0*
    160 files _(650MB total)_ *FireWire was 70% faster than USB 2.0*

    *Write Test:*

    5000 files _(300 MB total)_ *FireWire was 16% faster than USB 2.0*
    160 files _(650MB total)_ *FireWire was 48% faster than USB 2.0*
  • Randy Fast Level 4 (1,415 points)
    Yea, yea I already knew all that. In actual using of the 2 they will probably be even. But for 90% of the world USB2.0 is the better choice since most PCs do not come with firewire ports, you have to add it in yourself if you want it. When I got my first 3G ipod it was firewire and I had to go out and add a PCI card to be able to use it, on top of that it didn't even use itunes, had to use crappy music match. One test someone did is no measure of how one outperforms, you need dozens accounting for many situations.
  • AndyO Level 6 (17,050 points)
    It's certainly true that USB is far more ubiquitous, and clearly that's the reasoning for opting for it, but the fact remains that technically firewire is a much better interfacing technology, and indeed is far more practical in applications requiring sustained data transfer rates than USB2.0 could hope to be. Even syncing a complete music library via USB while using the system for routine stuff like emailing will substantially increase transfer time, while with FW it would not.

    Given that FW is more expensive to implement it's not surprising that USB is more popular with manufacturers, always keen to save a buck or two, but we're buying poorer performance by saving a small amount on manufacturing cost.
  • macjmillsx Level 2 (310 points)
    When I got the video iPod when it first came out I was disappointed to find out firewire was no longer supported. It seemed crazy to me because firewire was noticeably faster, especially when syncing 30+ gigs of content.

    As Allan so succinctly put the differences between the two, firewire is a steady throughput, while usb is up to 480mps there are dependencies and latencies that mean it isn't a steady stream at that bandwidth.

    I began to poke around the web trying to find an explanation as to why Apple would make such a stupid move as to cut out firewire from their latest iPod. What I read (and this is not gospel, just one thing I read) is that usb utilizes the system processor to manage the transfer as in the aforementioned master slave setup... firewire allows the devices to communicate and facilitate the transfer directly thereby cutting out the middle man.
    Apple was preparing to switch to intel processors, and it seems that catering to a connectivity standard that cuts Intel's chips out of the loop (despite it's superiority) was not advantageous for intel, so usb was favored in light of Apple's new partnership with intel.
  • AndyO Level 6 (17,050 points)
    ...so usb was favored in light of Apple's new partnership with intel.

    I suspect it was far less complicated than that. It seems most likely to me that the reason Apple (sadly) dropped FW support was that it was selling the vast majority of iPods to PC users for whom FW was not available without buying additional hardware, while USB was present in everything. Given that syncing an iPod generally doesn't demand highest consistency of throughput, I suspect they realized the shift to USB would not cause the majority of users any noticeable detriment, but would also remove a potential obstruction to sales volume.

    Of course, that's supposition on my part.
  • Dogan Level 1 (135 points)

    Some Intel retail motherboards have had firewire since around 2002 and the 845E model. Other motherboards for Intel processors and other x86 processors have as well. However, the majority of prebuilt Windows-based PCs don't.

    It's probably more likely that USB was used in iPod and iPhone because they are marketed to Windows and Mac both.
  • Nathan C Level 5 (6,260 points)

    A USB 1.1 might be high-powered and charge the iPhone or iPod. The USB 1.1 standard didn't require ports to be high-powered. The USB 1.1 ports in Macs are high-powered USB ports with the exception of the keyboard.

    A USB 2.0 port should be high-powered, but on devices running on battery might not be. If its not a high-powered port it won't charge the iPod or iPhone.

    As for the original poster's question if the port coming from the computer is USB 1.1, any device plugged into it will be limited to USB 1.1 speeds. A USB 2.0 hub connected to a USB 1.1 port works as USB 1.1 hub. You can put racing slicks on a subcompact car, it doesn't make it go any faster though.

    Hope this helps,

    Nathan C.

    Message was edited by: Nathan C
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 (123,395 points)
    Yea, yea but if you already knew all this then you wouldn't have stated that USB 2.0 is faster than Firewire 400 because it is most definitely not faster so either you didn't know this or don't understand the differences between the two which has nothing to do with many PCs not including a superior data transfer technology and architecture.

    The data transfer rates between the two architectures ARE NOT IDENTICAL. I guess the documented evidence provided with the same available in many other places are lies and in addition I performed my own tests with an iPod in the past.

    Apple has included a Firewire port or ports in addition to USB ports with all their computers for a good while now - way ahead of any PC box assembler just as with most everything else with Apple leading the way and the others following. No different when Apple was including an Ethernet port with all computers way before anyone else and before the majority of people had any idea what it was for.

    Yes USB is more common but is definitely a step back to Firewire 400 in regards to transfer rate speed - and with adding video to the iPhone and iPod with video, I sure do miss it as do many other Mac users.
  • Sherf Level 1 (0 points)
    My thanks to all who responded to my question about a USB 1.1 port for an iPhone. I'm greatly relieved to learn that I can use this port even though is may be slower, and I won't have to consider buying a new computer at this time. One of the upgrades to iTunes said it required a 2.0 USB port, but the 1.1 seems to work fine with iTunes. However before I paid $500-$600 for an iPhone, I wanted to be sure it would work with my current USB.
    Thanks to all who responded,