Identify USB 3.0 & Charging Ports By Looking At The Symbols Next To Them

All USB ports are not created equal. USB might have become a universally accepted standard of connecting peripherals to your system but all USB ports found on your system aren’t the same. Some are built to do things others aren’t for example; you might have noticed that your phone charges faster when you connect it to a certain USB port and slower when you use a different one. While the slow charge might have to do with a problematic data cable, it might also be that you’re connecting your phone to a slow charging USB port. What you need to do is connect it to the one specifically built to charge a device. Here’s how you can identify the USB 3.0 and USB charging port on your system.

Look for the following symbols next to the USB port you want to connect a device to;

usb port

You might find two of the symbols can occur at the same time i.e. you might find both the USB 3.0 symbol and the USB charging port symbol next to a single port. All this means is that the port is meant for USB 3.0 and can also charge a device faster. Newer systems will likely only have one USB 2.0 port as more and more people prefer USB 3.0 for its speed. There will likely only be one charging port.


Another really quick way to identify a USB 3.0 port is by observing the color. If the manufacturer hasn’t provided symbols, it might instead have made the port blue or it might have done both and the color will make it easier to identify compared to squinting at the symbol.


Ports that don’t have the lightning symbol will still charge your phone. They do have the capability to charge a device but the power of these ports is limited which is what results in the slow charge. If you’ve connected your phone to the right port but it’s still charging slowly, try running these tests to see if you might have a faulty data cable.

  • rannon

    I don’t know if it’s a rule, but the charging usb port on my laptop is the only one that works when the laptop is turned off. Pretty handy.