European Union Says All Smartphones Must Charge with USB-C by 2024

USB C and Lightning cables

In a move that is being called a major blow to Apple’s proprietary Lightning port, the European Union has come to an agreement that will require all smartphone manufacturers that sell in Europe to use the common USB-C port.

The deal that was struck in the European Parliament says that there must only be one single charger for all small and medium-sized portable electronic devices, that charging speed must be “harmonized” for devices that support fast charging, and buyers must be given the choice to purchase a new device with or without a charging brick.

At least two, if not all three, of these rules will have the strongest impact on Apple, which has been reluctant to move to the USB-C port on its iPhones. Additionally, Apple also stopped shipping a charging brick with its smartphones in recent years, but now will be forced to sell a version of new devices that will once again include it.

“Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charging device and cable every time they purchase a new device, and can use one single charger for all of their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices,” the European Parliament says.

“Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles, and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer. Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force.”

The European Union says the main reasons that it has decided to enact this rule are due to a massive amount of e-waste and the unnecessary expenses that are levied on European consumers. The Parliament says that the new obligations will lead to consumers re-using chargers which will help save up to 250 million euro a year on “unnecessary charger purchases.” Additionally, disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to create 11,000 tons of e-waste annually.

The European Parliament will formally approve the agreement later this year, after which it will go into effect in the fall of 2024. By that point, all devices that fall under the law’s umbrella and are sold in the European Union must have USB-C for wired charging.

Apple has notably been against the move to a common charger, and in a statement to Reuters last year said that it remained “concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation.”

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.