What is USB 2.0?

USB 2.0 Details & Connector Information

Photo of a USB 2.0 Type A to Mini-B Cable
USB 2.0 Cable (Type A to Mini-B). © Cable Matters

USB 2.0 is a Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard, released in April 2000. Almost all devices with USB capabilities, and nearly all USB cables, support at least USB 2.0.

USB 2.0 is often referred to as Hi-Speed USB.

Devices that adhere to the USB 2.0 standard have the ability to transmit data at a maximum speed of 480 Mbps. This is faster than the older USB 1.1 standard and much slower than the newer USB 3.0 standard.

Note: Older USB 1.1 devices and cables are, for the most part, physically compatible with USB 2.0 hardware. However, the only way to reach USB 2.0 transmission speeds is if all devices and cables being connected to each other support USB 2.0. USB 2.0 devices and cables used with USB 3.0 devices and cables, assuming they're physically compatible, will operate at the lower USB 2.0 speed.

USB 2.0 Connectors

Note: Plug is the name given to the male connector on a USB 2.0 cable or flash drive, while the receptacle is the name given to the female connector on a USB 2.0 device or extension cable.

  • USB Type A: These connectors are technically called USB 2.0 Standard-A and are the perfectly rectangular USB connectors you'll find on most non-mobile devices. USB 2.0 Type A connectors are physically compatible with those from USB 3.0 and USB 1.1.
  • USB Type B: These connectors are technically called USB 2.0 Standard-B and are square except for a small notch on top. USB 2.0 Type B plugs are physically compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 1.1 Type B receptacles but USB 3.0 Type B plugs are not backward compatible with USB 2.0 Type B receptacles.
  • USB Micro-A: These connectors, especially the plugs, look like miniature versions of USB 2.0 Type A connectors. USB 2.0 Micro-A plugs are compatible with both USB 2.0 Micro-AB receptacles and USB 3.0 Micro-AB receptacles. However, newer USB 3.0 Micro-A plugs will not fit in USB 2.0 Micro-AB receptacles.
  • USB Micro-B: These connectors are small and rectangular but two corners on one side are slanted instead of square. USB 2.0 Micro-B plugs are compatible with four receptacles: both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 Micro-B and Micro-AB receptacles. Newer USB 3.0 Micro-B plugs are not backward compatible with either USB 2.0 Micro receptacle.
  • USB Mini-A: These connectors are small and mostly rectangular with one very rounded side. USB 2.0 Mini-A plugs are only compatible with USB 2.0 Mini-AB receptacles.
  • USB Mini-B: These connectors are small and mostly rectangular with noticeable indentions on the short sides. USB 2.0 Mini-B plugs are compatible with USB 2.0 Mini-B and USB 2.0 Mini-AB receptacles.

Note: Only USB 2.0 supports USB Mini-A, USB Mini-B, and USB Mini-AB connectors.

See my USB Physical Compatibility Chart for a one-page reference for what-fits-with-what.

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