When I unboxed my new MacBook Pro I booted it up and followed the prompts to connect my old MacBook Air to transfer my old files across. For some reason it did not recognise my old MacBook Air. I used the USB-C cable that came with my new MacBook Pro to connect the two computers together. It didn’t work.
The next day I tried again, this time with a different cable, and it worked. The USB-C cable that is supplied with new MacBook Pro is NOT a thunderbolt cable. So you cannot use it to transfer data. Apple saved themselves some $$$ by throwing in a cheaper cable that you can only use to charge. Read on and I’ll explain the differences.
A not thunderbolt cable.
This is NOT a Thunderbolt cable. It’s very similar to a thunderbolt cable. Some of Apple’s cables USB-C cables are Thunderbolt and some are not. The cable looks the same shape, but the Thunderbolt cables made by apple have a thunderbolt symbol on one side. This cable will charge your computer, but not transfer data.
Have a look at these 2 items in the Apple Store:
These cables are both USB-C. (That refers to the shape of the connector on the end). But one is a ‘Charge Cable’ and one is a ‘Thunderbolt Cable’. If you look very closely you can see the Thunderbolt symbol on one side of the connector of the Thunderbolt cable.
The one on the left will charge your computer. That is all it will do. The one one the right will charge your computer and it will also allow you to connect to another computer, or a SSD drive, iPad or any other Thunderbolt device. Guess which one Apple included when you purchased your new MacBook Pro? The cheaper one. They will both charge your computer. But the cheaper one will not transfer data from your old MacBook to your new one.
I have no problem with Apple including the cheaper charge cable, but it would have bene nice to have a note about this, or option to upgrade at the time of purchase.
Here’s a screenshot from Apple’s support pages:
It gets even more confusing if you head down to JB HiFi and but another USB-C cable because it’s possible to get a USB-C data cable that has a slower charging rate!
When you buy a USB-C cable you can get ones that charge fast, charge slowly, transfer data fast, transfer data slowly, or don’t transfer data at all. Apple’s charging cable does not transfer data at all.