USB-C will be mandatory for phones sold in the EU by fall 2024

EU legislators reached an agreement on legislation that all future smartphones sold in the EU – including Apple’s iPhone – will be required to be equipped with a universal USB-C port for wired charging by fall 2024. The rule will also apply to other electronic devices including tablets. and digital cameras, headphones, portable video game consoles and e-readers. Laptops must comply with the rule at a later time.

The legislation has been in development for more than a decade, but agreement on its scope was reached this morning after negotiations between various EU bodies.

“Today we made Shared Charger a reality in Europe!” European Parliament Rapporteur Alex Agios Saliba said in a press statement. “European consumers have long been frustrated with the backlog of multiple chargers with each new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices.” The legislation also includes provisions designed to deal with wireless chargers in the future, as well as harmonizing fast charging standards.

The legislation still needs to be approved by the EU Parliament and Council later this year, but this appears to be a formality. in press releaseThe European Parliament has clearly stated that the law will be in effect “by the autumn of 2024”. By this date, all devices covered by the law and sold in the EU will have to use USB-C for wired charging.

The introduction of the “combined shipper” is an attempt by the European Union to reduce e-waste and make life easier for consumers. Lawmakers hope that in the future, phones and similar gadgets will no longer need to be equipped with a charger in the box, as buyers will already have the appropriate accessories at home. The European Union estimates that the legislation could save consumers €250 million a year on “unnecessary shipper purchases” and reduce about 11,000 tons of e-waste annually.

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The agreement will have the biggest impact on Apple, which is the only major smartphone maker to still use a proprietary port instead of USB-C. In 2021, Apple sold 241 million iPhones globally, of which about 56 million were sold in Europe.

When asked during a press conference whether the European Union was specifically targeting Apple, Thierry Breton, EU Internal Market Commissioner, said that was not the case. “The rule applies to everyone and is diverse. We work for consumers, not businesses, and we have to give these companies the rules,” said Britton. Clear rules for entering the internal market.

Rapporteur Saliba added: “Within two years, if Apple wants to sell its products within our internal market, it must abide by our rules, and its devices must be USB-C.”

However, the EU press release says the new legislation applies to devices that are “rechargeable via a wired cable”. This means that Apple may be able to avoid adding USB-C to its devices by creating a phone Wireless charging only (As was previously reported). but, Recent Reports Says company is testing iPhones with USB-C internally, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple could make the switch Early next year. Apple already uses the USB-C standard on laptops and some tablets.

The European Commission has announced its current plans for this legislation last septemberbut the bloc’s efforts to force manufacturers to use a common charging standard go way back more than a decade. In the years since, Android manufacturers have converged on micro USB and then USB-C as the common charging standard of choice, while Apple has moved from offering phones with its own 30-pin connector to Lightning.

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Apple has backed away from the European Union’s attempts to force USB-C on its devices. “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating only one type of connector stifles rather than encourages innovation, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” a spokesperson Tell Reuters last year. It’s also been said that forcing a switch to USB-C will be too Create e-waste rather than reduce it, as it would make its current ecosystem of Lightning accessories redundant.

Critics say the new legislation will stifle innovation by eliminating incentives for manufacturers to develop improved charging standards. The European Union denies this is the case, and says it will update the legislation as new technology is developed.

“Don’t think we’re putting stone on stone for the next 10 years,” Britton said at the press conference. “We have a standard under development, and we have a dedicated team that monitors all of this closely and adapts over time. We will evolve.”

One aspect of the law that has yet to be settled is the standard for charging laptops. While phone makers will have 24 months after legislation is passed this summer to adapt their devices, that deadline is longer for laptop makers: 40 months. EU lawmakers say this is due to the difficulty of creating a standard charger that applies to laptops with different power requirements.

“We don’t have this technological certainty about a standard that can meet laptops between 100 and 240 watts,” said Rapporteur Saliba. “Our line of thought was to extend the deadline for laptops to have a clear standard.”

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Update June 7, 7:25AM ET: The article has been updated with information from the press conference announcing the agreement.

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