iPad Pro switching from Lightning to USB-C unlocks new capabilities like charging your iPhone or importing photos and videos directly, but only if you have the right cable with you. My go-to solution is a USB-C to Lightning cable that lives on my keychain and will always be with me when I’m away from home.

Apple’s solution is the USB-C to Lightning Cable ($19 for 1 meter, $35 for 2 meters) which is great if you carry a bag of cables everywhere you go. I often leave home with just my iPhone and iPad, however, so the benefit is lost on me in a lot of situations.

For the USB-C benefit to work for me, I need to have the right cable on me even if I only have my iPad, iPhone, and car keys. Nomad’s USB-A to Lightning Key cable ($24.95) has hung on my keychain for years and served me well in situations where I could recharge if I just had a Lightning cable — most recently in a rental car with USB-A ports.

Third-party USB-C to Lightning cables are expected to hit the market sometime next year due to Apple’s Made For iPhone certification program, so there’s no USB-C to Lightning Key cable yet. The good news is that a simple USB-A to USB-C adapter can bridge the gap for now.

This combination is also more flexible as you carry a USB-A to Lightning and USB-C to Lightning cable on your person — not to mention a removable adapter that lets you turn any USB-A cable into a USB-C cable — which is arguably more functional than a theoretical USB-C to Lightning Key cable.

The adapter that I used with the Nomad Key cable costs under $10 from Nonda, but you can find even cheaper adapters that color-match the black Nomad Key. Just make sure you don’t accidentally purchase USB-C to USB-A adapter as you want the male end of the adapter to fit into the iPad Pro.

Frankly, I was skeptical that the setup would work when I ordered the adapter for Nomad Key, but the solution totally works.

Nomad Key is flexible so you’re not fixed to a specific angle, and it can easily be removed from your keychain so your keys aren’t dangling between both devices. The connection between the USB-A connector and the USB-C port on the adapter is very snug, too, so there’s no concern of the adapter falling off.

Charging speeds may be slower due to USB-A being involved, but the combination of Nomad Key and a USB-A to USB-C adapter is the perfect solution for charging your iPhone from your iPad Pro if you’re in a pinch and have your keys with you.

It’s also ideal if you’re shooting photos and videos in the field and want to transfer media directly from the iPhone to the iPad for editing and publishing — just launch the Photos app on the iPad and give the iPhone permission to share photos and videos. Highly recommended if you have the new iPad Pro with USB-C.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created SpaceExplored.com.