Jun 7, 2022 - World

European Union mandate will require mobile devices have same charger

A USB-C charging plug next to Apple's Lightning charging plug
A USB-C charging plug next to Apple's Lightning charging plug. Photo: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images

The European Union on Tuesday agreed to provisional legislation that will require phone manufacturers to use the same charging port in devices in an effort to reduce electronic waste and increase convenience for consumers.

Why it matters: Once the legislation is fully approved, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will be required to have USB-C charging ports by fall 2024.

  • While many smartphone makers already use USB-C ports, the standardization is a blow to Apple and other manufacturers who have designed their devices around different chargers.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: Apple has a long tradition of preferring to use its own unique connectors, and opposes regulations like this on principle, viewing them as infringements on its design freedom. But USB-C is already standard on Macs and iPads.

  • Newer versions of Apple's iPhone use Lightning charging plug.

What they're saying: “Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics," Alex Agius Saliba, a member of the European Parliament representing Maltese, said Tuesday in a statement.

By the numbers: The EU estimates that discarded and unused chargers represent about 11,000 tonnes (12,125 U.S. tons) of e-waste annually and that European consumers spend around €250 million ($267 million) a year on unnecessary charger purchases.

What's next: The EU Parliament and Council will now have to formally approve the agreement.

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