Modded Android phone steals iPhone's Lightning port

Modded Android phone steals iPhone’s Lightning port

By

First Android phone with Lightning port
Why? Why not?
Photo: Ken Pillonel

This Samsung Galaxy A51 is almost certainly the only Android phone in the world that uses a Lightning port. That’s thanks to engineer Ken Pillonel, who hacked the handset to use Apple’s connector instead of USB-C.

The port is fully functional, with support for charging and data transfer — despite the fact that Apple designs its cables to work only with its own devices. Why go through all that effort? Well … why not?

Samsung Galaxy uses Apple Lightning port

This isn’t the first time Pillonel has been tinkering with smartphone ports. He made headlines last year by building a USB-C port into iPhone — something many iPhone fans have been calling on Apple to do for years.

That project was a huge success, despite all the work involved, and resulted in Pillonel selling the modded iPhone on eBay for a whopping $86,000. That got him wondering. Could he reverse the hack to put Lightning in an Android?

The only Android with Lightning

“I just wanted to see if I could do it,” Pillonel told Engadget. “I don’t expect anyone in their right mind wanting to do this to their device.”

It turns out Pillonel could do it, but it wasn’t easy. Lightning technology is designed to work with Apple devices exclusively, so Pillonel had to employ “some out-of-the-box thinking” to get it to work with a Samsung phone.

“I had to find a way to trick the cable into thinking it was plugged into an Apple device,” he said. Once that was done, Pillonel then took on the tricky task of getting everything to squeeze inside the Galaxy A51 so it could be closed up.

The end result was a big success: A Samsung phone with a Lightning port that actually works for everything you need. Sure, it’s not as versatile as a Galaxy A51 with USB-C connectivity (take note, Apple), but it is unique.

An explainer is on the way

Pillonel isn’t sure if he’ll sell this device. It was just an experiment. But if you’re interested in hacks like this — and trying them out for yourself — he is planning another video on his YouTube channel that explains the mod in more detail.