Is there any way for me to be able to recognize if a micro USB cable is good for data transfer as opposed to just charging?

I have quite a few micro USB cables but not all of them allow me connect my Android device to my computer (I've tried both on linux and Windows). Most of them (the majority) charge the device but don't recognize it when connected.

Would appreciate any insight on this so as to avoid buying the wrong cable in the future.


  • Most, if not all, charge only cables that I have seen are clearly labeled as such—at least at the point of sale, it’s likely the label can be removed. I’ve also seen TONS of el cheapo cables that just don’t work correctly-maybe that is the real problem. – Tyson Nov 18 '17 at 3:29

No. XKCD made a good cartoon about how frustrating this is.

enter link description here

When you identify a cable that works well, you could mark it so it's easier to find next time, maybe by wrapping it with a piece of electrical tape.


I know this question is a little old, but I figured it out last night, I believe.

On the ends of a USB cable, there is normally the USB logo:


However, this is apparently missing on the "charge only" cords. After looking at 2-3 of them last night looking for a data cable, I realized that "fact". I don't know if that's a standard for all manufacturers, but I seriously doubt the random ones I was looking at were the same brand.

One of the cords with the missing logo had a paper flag/label that said it's only a charging cable, further qualifying that it does not transfer data.

Please post as a comment if you find this to be wrong. I'd like to hear other's results.

  • You mean it's missing on the "charge only" ones? – dirkt Dec 2 '17 at 21:15
  • Yup, um, I'm going to edit that. Sorry! – computercarguy Dec 2 '17 at 22:28
  • 1
    @computercarguy I checked your theory but not consistent with all my cables. It appied to most of my cables but I have one that is "charge only" and does have the USB logo on the end. Guess since this is not standardize across all manufacturers... – natral Dec 7 '17 at 16:24
  • 1
    @natral, that's too bad. I was hoping this would make it easy to identify these cables. I guess it might be a "rule of thumb", but not something to be fully relied on. :-S – computercarguy Dec 7 '17 at 16:50

You have 2 types of cables,

-one is a charging cable and this contains inside it only Two Wires (Positive & Negative) It Can't Transfer Data,

-and the other is a Data Cable and this Contains Inside it Four Wires (Positive, Negative, Data transfer & Data Receive),

So when you go and buy a cable ask for a "Data Cable" Not a Charge Cable, That's It.

  • are there any visual cues I can use to tell them apart? Or do I have to trust that the person selling them knows what (s)he is talking about? – natral Nov 17 '17 at 20:31
  • It's usually listed on the package. I haven't run into any that say it on the cable. I usually end up by sitting there for +5 min waiting for the drivers to come up before I realize what happened... grr... :-P – computercarguy Nov 17 '17 at 20:33
  • Well i don't know what to tell you with that, Why he would lie to you about such a thing? Just Buy it from a Trustworthy Store that's it, its simple as a spoon in your hand. – Mohamed Amin ElTagoury Nov 17 '17 at 20:37

protected by Community 2 days ago

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.