The EU has given final approval to a law that would require iPhones to use USB-C.
The EU has given final approval to a law that would require iPhones to use USB-C
The European Council today approved the European Parliament’s single charger regulation, completing the legal process that would make a USB-C connection required across a wide range of consumer electrical products, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The directive has now been legally adopted and will be published in the European Union’s official journal. It will go into effect 20 days after publication, with the rules taking effect precisely 24 months later. Products that are on the market before the application date are exempt and can continue to be marketed beyond that date.
USB-C as a legally mandated “common port” is a world-first regulation that would certainly harm Apple in particular, as the Lightning connection is extensively used on many of its gadgets rather than USB-C. According to MEPs, the move would decrease electronic waste, address product sustainability, and make the usage of various gadgets more convenient.
All new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds, and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable and have a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, regardless of manufacturer, must include a USB-C port. Exemptions will be granted for gadgets too tiny to have a USB-C connector, such as smart watches, health trackers, and some sports equipment, but the legislation is anticipated to be expanded to include other devices in the future. Companies must also guarantee that dedicated labels properly educate consumers about the charging characteristics of the products they purchase.
Furthermore, the EU intends to guarantee that wireless charging systems are compatible as technology improves. The directive gives the European Commission the authority to create delegated acts by the end of 2024 that require companies to make their custom wireless charging solutions more open and meet interoperability standards, allowing consumers to avoid becoming locked into proprietary charging solutions while preventing fragmentation and reducing waste. Because it is based on the Qi wireless charging standard, it is unclear if this would include Apple’s MagSafe charging mechanism for the iPhone and AirPods.
The European Commission sought to obtain a definitive settlement on this topic in 2018, but it did not become law. Apple cautioned at the time that imposing an universal charging connection on the industry would hinder innovation and produce electronic waste by forcing people to switch to new cords.