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Dock connector

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dock connector on a 2011's HP EliteBook laptop

A dock connector is an electrical connector used to attach a mobile device simultaneously to multiple external resources. The dock connector will typically carry a variety of signals and power, through a single connector, to simplify the process of docking the device. A dock connector may be embedded in a mechanical fixture used to support or align the mobile device or may be at the end of a cable.

The dock connector was originally associated with laptops, but other mobile devices use the concept.


2003's Dell Latitude laptop with dock connector (parallel to top edge)

Classic docking connectors for laptop computers are usually embedded into a mechanical docking station and port replicator devices that supports and aligns the laptop and sports various single-function ports and a power source that are aggregated into the docking connector. Docking connectors would carry interfaces such as keyboard, serial, parallel, and video ports from the laptop and supply power to it.

Current docking connection options usually can be defined as a USB-C port with optional additional functionality.[1]

Mobile devices[edit]

Many mobile devices feature a dock connector.

Dock connectors can be used to interface with accessories such as external speakers, including stereo systems and clock radios. Automotive accessories for mobile devices include charging cradles, FM transmitters for playing audio through the car's speakers, and GPS receivers. There are dock connector cables that offer additional capabilities such as direct integration with the car's audio system and controls.

Apple dock connectors[edit]

30-pin dock connector[edit]

Apple 30-pin dock connector
30-pin connector
Type Data and power connector
Production history
Designer Apple Inc.
Designed 2003
Manufacturer Apple Inc.
Produced 2003 – 2014 (2016 for India)[2]
Superseded by Lightning (September 12, 2012)
General specifications
Pins 30

Apple's proprietary 30-pin connector was common to most Apple mobile devices (iPhone (1st generation), 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S), 1st through 4th generation iPod Touch, iPad, iPad 2, and iPad (3rd generation)) from its introduction with the 3rd generation iPod classic in 2003 until the Lightning connector was released in late 2012. Originally, the Apple dock connector carried USB, FireWire, some controls and line-level audio outputs.[3][4] As the iPod changed, so did the signals in the dock connector. Video was added to the connector. FireWire was phased out of the iPods, which led to a discontinuity in usage of the dock connector.

As a result of the popularity of Apple's iPod and iPhone devices using the connector, a cottage industry was created of third-party devices that could connect to the interface.[5] With the discontinuation of the sixth-generation 160 GB iPod Classic and the iPhone 4S, the last Apple products to feature the original 30-pin connector, the connector was discontinued in September 2014 but the production of 30-pin connectors in India and developing markets still continued until February 2016.[2][6] However, Apple does continue to sell and produce a 30-pin-to-USB cable, [7] as well as a 30-pin VGA adapter compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, 4th generation iPod Touch, and the first three iPads.[8]

Supported iPhones[edit]

Lightning connector[edit]

Apple Lightning connector
Lightning connector
Type Data and power connector
Production history
Designer Apple Inc.
Designed 2012
Manufacturer Apple Inc.
Produced 2012–2022
Superseded by USB-C (November 7, 2018)
General specifications
Pins 8
Pin out
Pin out
Pins on Lightning connector
For pinout details, see Lightning (connector).

Apple introduced an 8-pin dock connector, named Lightning, on September 12, 2012, as replacement of the 30-pin dock connector. The iPhone 5 to iPhone 14 series, the fifth- to seventh-generation iPod touch, seventh-generation iPod nano, first- to fifth-generation iPad mini, the fourth- to ninth-generation iPad, the first- to third-generation iPad Air, and the first- and second-generations of the iPad Pro used the Lightning connector, as do some Apple accessories. Apple Lightning connector pins can be accessed from both sides of the connector allowing reversibility.[9]

Since the release of the 3rd generation of iPad Pro, the Lightning connector is being phased out in favor of the more universal USB-C. The transition was complete for all latest models of iPads since March 18, 2022 and iPhones since September 22, 2023.[10]

Samsung 30-pin dock connector[edit]

Samsung 30-pin dock connector
Type Data and power connector
Production history
Designer Samsung
General specifications
Pins 30

The Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note 30-pin dock/charging connector is very similar to – although not identical with – the non-proprietary PDMI connector. It is unrelated to the Apple 30-pin connector.[11]

Korean standard cellular phone 24-pin and 20-pin dock connectors[edit]

Korean standard cellular phone dock connector (TTAS.KO-06.0028)
Type Data and power connector
Production history
Designer Korean Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA)
Produced 2001
General specifications
Pins 20 (24 pre-2007)

The 2001 Korean Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) "Standard on I/O Connection Interface of Digital Cellular Phone" defined a 24-pin electromechanical interface specifications for cellular phone charging, wired data communication, analog audio, etc.[12] The 2007 updated version has only 20 pins but added composite video output support among other changes.[13]

Portable Digital Media Interface (PDMI)[edit]

Portable Digital Media Interface (PDMI)
Production history
Designer CEA
Designed February 2010
General specifications
Length 22 mm
Width 2.5 mm
Hot pluggable Yes
External Yes
Audio signal Analog stereo, digital DisplayPort (1–8 channels, 16 or 24-bit linear PCM; 32 to 192 kHz sampling rate)
Video signal Digital 2-lane DisplayPort 1.1, 4.32 Gbit/s data rate
Pins 30 pins
Data signal USB 3.0 SuperSpeed + 1 Mbit/s for the DisplayPort auxiliary channel
For pinout details, see PDMI (Portable Digital Media Interface).

The Portable Digital Media Interface (PDMI) is a 30-pin interconnection standard for portable media players. It was developed by the Consumer Electronics Association as ANSI/CEA-2017-A, Common Interconnection for Portable Media Players in February 2010. The standard was developed with the input or support of over fifty consumer electronics companies worldwide.[14]

Sony WM-PORT[edit]

Type Data and power connector
Production history
Designer Sony
Designed 2006
General specifications
Pins 22

The WM-PORT is a 22-pin dock connector from Sony, used for the majority of Walkman digital media players since 2006. It provides a data and power connection including to peripherals.

Other dock connectors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nadel, Brian (2020-10-22). "USB-C explained: How to get the most from it (and why it keeps getting better)". Computerworld. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  2. ^ a b Johnston, Casey (2014-09-09). "iPod classic is dead, and the 30-pin connector along with it". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  3. ^ Tan, Darell (2012-06-25). "The Apple 30-pin Dock Connector". irq5.io. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  4. ^ "Apple iPod, iPhone (original and 3G), iPad Dock connector pinout diagram @ pinouts.ru". pinouts.ru. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  5. ^ Gideon, Tim (2008-01-07). "Altec Lansing Unleashes First Certified iPhone Dock". PCMAG. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  6. ^ Apple iPhone 4s discontinued, iPhone 5c becomes cheapest option
  7. ^ "Apple 30-pin to VGA Adapter - iPad Accessories". Apple. Retrieved 2023-12-01.
  8. ^ "Apple 30-pin to VGA Adapter - iPad Accessories". Apple. Retrieved 2023-12-01.
  9. ^ "iPhone". Apple. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  10. ^ "Apple unveils new iPads, Macs and Mac Minis at event in New York". NewsComAu. October 30, 2018.
  11. ^ "Samsung Galaxy Tab Connector pinout".
  12. ^ "Standard on I/O Connection Interface of Digital Cellular Phone" TTAS.KO-06.0028 released in March 2001. Later updated in 2002 (/R2), and in 2007 (/R4)
  13. ^ TTA certifies first 20-pin battery charger for mobiles, Telecompaper.com, 2008-07-25
  14. ^ "CEA-2017, Common Inerconnection for Portable Media Players". Consumer Electronics Association. Archived from the original on 2012-03-07.

External links[edit]