How to tell if your USB-C cable is USB only or supports Thunderbolt 3

USB-C introduced simplicity: a simple flat connector with rounded sides that has two correct orientations: the long side can be inserted into a compatible port without checking. It’s used universally for USB 3, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt 3, and other data standards. It can support high-wattage charging and power (see “How to tell whether a USB-C cable can carry high-wattage power and Thunderbolt 3 data.”)

It can be relatively easy to figure out if the port you have supports only what’s now called USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps maximum)—also known as “SuperSpeed+” or “SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps”—or, in addition to the high-speed USB flavor, it also handles Thunderbolt 3.

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