EU requires USB Type-C charger for all phones by 2024

usb type c

European Union (EU), Parliament and Council negotiators agreed on Tuesday on the text of a proposed EU law that would impose a single charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in a world first.

The agreement came after companies could not agree on a common solution. The European Commission had pushed for a single mobile charging port more than a decade ago.

The new rule imposing a common charging port is part of a wider EU effort to make products in the EU more sustainable, reduce electronic waste and make life easier for consumers.

By the fall of 2024, all new portable cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, portable video game consoles, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems and earbuds that are rechargeable via a wired cable must be equipped with a USB-C charging port regardless of manufacturer. The deadline for laptops is 2026.

Under the new rules, consumers no longer need a different charger and cable every time they buy a new device and can use a single charger for all their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.

The text of the proposed EU law also paves the way for future standardization of wireless charging technologies. It even harmonizes the charging speed for devices that allow fast charging, to avoid limiting it when using a third-party charger.

Furthermore, the labeling will be improved to better inform consumers, who can decide whether to buy a new device with or without a charger.

“This new law will make life easier for European consumers and will be better for the environment,” the European Parliament said in a statement. “It’s time to end the piles of cables we all have in our drawers and save some 11,000 tons of electronic waste a year.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said the deal would save consumers around €250 million (€267 million) annually.

“A regular charger is common sense for the many electronic devices in our daily lives. European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste,” he said.

“It will also ensure that new technologies such as wireless charging can emerge and mature without innovation becoming a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience.”

With USB Type-C becoming the official EU charging standard, this move comes as a major blow to Apple, which opposed a single phone charger. The Cupertino giant is the only major smartphone manufacturer that still uses its own port (lightning) for charging and data transfer instead of the universal USB-C port.

If Apple wants to continue selling in the EU, it needs to change the connector on its iPhones to USB Type-C. The company has not yet commented on the new rule decision.

The new rule must be formally approved by the European Parliament and the European Council, the body that represents the states, after the summer recess, and then published in the Official Journal of the EU.

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