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Why are the middle 2 pins on a USB always shorter than the outer 2? Answered

If you look at any USB anything, then you will notice the data pins (the middle ones) are always sunken back and shorter than the power pins (outer ones).

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so you can't short all the pins with a quarter? there's some stupid people out there.

because the outer 2 are power pins - they're not as susceptible to Electrostatic discharge - but the inside ones, data, ARE hooked up to sensitive inputs, and can fry important stuff.

'always' sunken back = a design choice.