What’s a USB adapter?

Print anything with Printful

USB is a popular port on computers and devices, but older devices may have non-USB ports like serial ports. A USB adapter can connect devices with different ports, including those for charging and wireless devices.

One of the most popular connection ports on today’s computers and peripheral devices is the Universal Serial Bus (USB), and you can recognize a USB port or cable by its characteristic rectangular male or female end. The current version of USB is 2.0; older versions are not compatible. If your desktop or laptop is a fairly new Macintosh, you’ll have USB ports. Older Macs probably have something different. Windows machines moved to USB ports before Macs, but some older PCs still have non-USB ports.

One of the more common non-USB ports is the serial port. This type of cable-port combination typically has varying number pins on the cables that plug into a corresponding number of holes in the ports. Even some of the more recently manufactured computers have serial ports for connecting peripherals such as printers and scanners.

A problem can arise if you buy a newer computer and want to connect it to an older printer. Your computer probably has a USB port, but your printer probably has a serial port. This can be the case even with newer computers. A USB adapter is required to connect the two devices.

The USB adapter connects devices with USB port to devices without USB port. It usually has a USB cable on one end and a non-USB cable on the other. Just plug the correct end into the correct port and you can overcome what would seem like an insurmountable problem. The adapter solves this problem for you.

Another common type of USB adapter these days is one that connects an iPod or other MP3 player to its charger. A portable music player probably won’t have a USB port, but rather some sort of serial port. This is where the adapter comes in handy. The cable that came with your music player will have the serial cable on one end and a USB cable on the other end. The charging device that plugs into an electrical outlet will have a USB port, where you can plug in your charging cable to recharge your music player. In this case, the charging device itself is the adapter.
You can also find a USB adapter that works with wireless devices. A keyboard, mouse, or headset can be connected to the computer using a dongle that plugs into a USB port on the computer but doesn’t need to connect to anything on the other end. This may not look like the same type of device as the ones described above, but it is a USB adapter as it connects a USB port with a device without a USB port.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content