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Alternate Mode

(Alt. Mode)

An optional feature of the USB-C specification that allows a USB-C connection to carry signals for a completely different connection specification, that would normally require a different cable and connectors.

See: USB-C

Specifications that can be used with USB-C Alt. Mode include: DisplayPort, HDMI, and Thunderbolt.

It's common for higher-end phones to support DisplayPort and/or HDMI over USB-C Alt. Mode as a way to physically connect the phone to an external television or monitor.

Making such a connection typically requires a special adaptor cable that has a USB-C connector on one end (to connect to the phone) and an HDMI, DisplayPort, or Mini DisplayPort connector at the other end. The adaptor cable has small circuitry in it that communicates with the USB-C device (a phone, in this example) to initiate Alt. Mode.


See: DisplayPort

Last updated Nov 14, 2019 by Rich Brome

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

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