'Micro' vs 'Mini USB': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on September 22, 2023

Do you need to know the difference between a 'micro' vs. 'mini USB?' You are in the right place!

Here is a quick answer: 

  • 'Micro USB' is an abbreviation for micro Universal Serial Bus, which is a universal connection system for electronics that is smaller than a standard USB. 
  • 'Mini USB' is an abbreviation for mini Universal Serial Bus, which is a universal connection used for charging devices and transferring data. 

However, there is much more to learn about these terms, like what each enables you to do. So, keep reading!

What is the Difference Between 'Micro' vs. 'Mini USB?'

Knowing the difference between a 'micro' vs. 'mini USB' is important for everyone. These cables are not as frequently used as they were in the past.

However, some device manufacturers still use them for charging and data transfers. So, if you are purchasing electronics, you will want to know which charging system the device uses.

  • A 'micro USB' is a charging and data transfer cable for smaller devices like phones, external hard drives, and tablets.
  • A 'mini USB' is a slightly larger cable connection that you can also use to charge small electronics and transfer data.

One of the significant differences between these cables is the way they look. The 'mini USB' is slightly thicker than the 'mini.'  The 'micro USB' is fairly flat, with one side that is wider than the other.

The 'mini USB' was brought to market in 2005, and manufacturers started using the 'micro USB' in 2007. So, you typically find that older electronics have 'mini USBs' while newer devices are likely to have a 'micro USB' or USB-C type charger.

The reason for these changes is that the newer connections are able to charge and transfer data more quickly.

Definition of 'Micro USB': What Does 'Micro USB' Mean?

There is no official definition for 'micro USB,' according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. However, 'micro USB' is a noun abbreviation of micro Universal Serial Bus, which is described as:

  • A micro or tiny flash drive that is used to store data
  • A connection type that is flatter than previous versions of USBs with one side that is slightly wider than the other and five connection prongs for charging and data transferring
  • Phone and small device charging cord that is smaller than the USB-A, USB-B, USB-C, and mini USB connection that is used for charging and transferring data to and from many digital cameras, tablets, and non-Apple phones

Synonyms and Related Terms to 'Micro USB'

  • Mini USB
  • USB-2.0
  • USB 3.0
  • USB 3.0-B
  • USB 3.0-C
  • USB-A
  • USB-B
  • USB-C
  • Micro USB-B
  • Micro US
  • Lightening charger
  • Speed charger
  • Charger
  • Charging cord
  • Micro USB connection

Definition of 'Mini USB': What Does 'Mini USB' Mean?

Like the term 'micro USB,' there is no official definition for 'mini USB.' Nevertheless, the term is a noun abbreviation of micro Universal Serial Bus, which means:

  • A small storage device that uses a 'mini USB' connection to transfer data
  • A type of connection used for charging many non-Apple phones and to transfer data
  • Cell phone and small device connection that is slightly larger than the relatively square, flares out on one side, and contains five internal prong connections

Synonyms and Related Terms to 'Mini USB'

  • Micro USB
  • USB-A
  • USB-C
  • USB-B
  • USB-A
  • USB-2.0-A
  • USB 2.0-B
  • Mini USB-B
  • Mini USB-A
  • Mini USB drive
  • Mini storage drive
  • Mini zip drive
  • Mini USB flash drive

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Micro' vs. 'Mini USB'

While we are learning about these terms, let's look at the pronunciation. When people are learning about new words, they often overlook pronunciation. However, whether you are learning English as a second language or an experienced writer, you can improve your speech and grammar skills by learning the correct way to say them.

So, here is a guide for pronouncing 'micro' vs. 'mini USB.'

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'micro USB':

mī-krō yu-es-be

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'mini USB':

mi-nē yu-es-be

When and How to Use 'Micro' vs. 'Mini USB'

You learned the difference and definitions of 'micro' vs. 'mini USB,' but it helps to know when and how to use each term. So, here are some tips.

  • Use 'mini USB' when you are talking about the older connection type that is slightly thicker.

So, you can say:

It used to be easy to find mini USBs, but now, it is nearly impossible. 

  • Use 'mini USB' when you are talking about a small external memory drive.

For example, I might say:

If it would be easier, I can put the images on a mini USB for you. 

  • Use 'micro USB' to describe the flatter connection on tablets, watches, cameras, and non-Apple phones.

As an example, you could say:

I need to charge my security cameras, but they use a micro USB charger, and I can't find mine.

  • Use 'micro USB' to describe an external drive that is smaller than a 'mini USB' in size, not necessarily data storage capability.

For example, I might say:

This micro USB is so tiny that I keep losing it in my pocket. 

Sample Sentences Using 'Micro' vs. 'Mini USB'

Before you go, read these sample sentences using 'micro' vs. 'mini USB.' They will help you commit these terms to memory and learn different ways to use them.

Micro USB

  • If you have a micro USB drive, I can save the documents on it.
  • I hate receiving information on a micro USB. I always misplace them because they are so small.
  • Does your new camera use a micro USB charging port?
  • Until recently, the micro USB was the standard connection used on most non-Apple devices. Today, all devices charge and transfer data using a USB-C connection.
  • After 15 years as the primary connection type used for Android phones, the micro USB will likely be obsolete soon because manufacturers must start using the USB-C type charger in 2021.

Mini USB

  • Do you have a mini USB charger? I needed to charge my phone, and I couldn't find one at the store.
  • There are two types of mini USB chargers: mini USB-A and mini USB-B.
  • The mini USB introduced the ability to charge, import, and export data using the same connection.
  • If you need a mini USB-A charger, you will have to order it online. They no longer sell them in stores.
  • I saved the information to this mini USB. So, you can look over it later.

Micro USB/Mini USB

  • If you are purchasing used devices, you should check whether they are equipped with a micro USB or mini USB.
  • The mini USB, micro USB, and lightning cable will soon be obsolete because electronics manufacturers around the globe are supposed to start using the new universal USB-C ports in 2024.
  • Chargers with mini USB and micro USB attachments are convenient if you have devices that require different chargers.

Recap: 'Micro' vs. 'Mini USB'

You made it to the end, but we covered a lot of information. So, let's review what you learned about the difference between 'micro' vs. 'mini USB':

  • 'Micro USB' is a term for a charger or connection type that is relatively flat, with one side that is slightly wider than the other. The 'micro USB' contains five prong connections, which enable it to charge devices and transfer data. 
  • 'Mini USB' is a term for a cable or connection used by non-Apple phones, tablets, cameras, and other small devices for charging and data transfers. 

There are many confusing terms in the English language like these. However, you do not have to worry about using the wrong word or phrase. You can verify the meanings of hundreds of words in the confusing words section here.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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