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

European Union lawmakers have reached an agreement on legislation that will require all future smartphones sold in the EU – including Apple’s iPhone – to have the universal USB-C port for wired charging by fall 2024. The rule will apply also to other electronic devices, including tablets, digital cameras, headphones, portable video game consoles and e-readers.

The legislation has been on the table for years, but agreement on its scope and details was reached this morning following negotiations between different EU bodies.

The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament has announced the new in a tweet ahead of a press conference due to take place at 12:30 p.m. CEST (6:30 a.m. ET) later today. The legislation still needs to be approved by the EU Parliament and Council later this year, but that appears to be more of a formality than anything else. In a Press releasethe European Parliament said the law would be in place “by autumn 2024”.

“Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe!” European Parliament rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said in a statement. “European consumers have long been frustrated with multiple chargers piling up with each new device. Now they will be able to use one charger for all their portable electronic devices.” The legislation will also include provisions designed to address wireless chargers , as well as to harmonize fast charging standards.

The rules aim to reduce e-waste in the EU by making chargers for electronic devices interoperable. Going forward, lawmakers hope phones won’t need to come with a charger in the box, because buyers will already have the appropriate cable and wall charger at home. The EU estimates the rules could save consumers €250m a year on “unnecessary charger purchases” and reduce around 11,000 tonnes of e-waste a year.

The deal would have the biggest impact on Apple, which is the only major smartphone maker still using a proprietary port instead of USB-C. In 2021, Apple sold 241 million iPhones worldwide, including around 56 million in Europe. The EU press release specifically states that the rules apply to devices “which are rechargeable via a wired cable”, i.e. a device which wireless charging only would not need to be equipped with a USB-C port.

The European Commission has announced current draft legislation last septemberbut the bloc’s efforts to force manufacturers to use a common charging standard go back more than a decade. In the years since, Android makers have converged on Micro USB and then USB-C as the common charging standard of choice, while Apple has gone from offering phones with its proprietary connector to 30 pins to Lightning.

Apple has pushed back against EU attempts to force it to use USB-C on its phones. “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating a single type of connector is stifling innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will hurt consumers in Europe and globally,” said a gatekeeper. word. Told Reuters Last year. It is also argued that forcing a switch to USB-C would be create e-waste rather than reducing it, as that would make its existing ecosystem of Lightning accessories redundant.

Still, there have been reports inside Apple that the company may be preparing to switch its iPhones to charge via USB-C. Bloomberg reported last month the company was testing iPhones with USB-C internally, and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed it could make the switch from next year. Away from its phones, Apple has been a big proponent of the USB-C standard and already uses it on its high-end laptops and iPads.

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