EU passes law forcing Apple to switch to USB-C by 2024
The European Parliament voted in an overwhelming majority to enforce USB-C as the standard charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices. The law will come into effect by the end of 2024.
With the legislation passed, Apple has a year to transition its product lineup to USB-C. The company continues to use the Lightning port on iPhone and its accompanying official accessories for charging purposes.
USB-C will become the ubiquitous charging port in the EU
The European Union legislators passed the proposal with 602 votes in its favor, 13 against, and eight abstentions. The lawmakers believe the directive will benefit the environment and consumers and reduce e-waste. In the EU, old and disposed chargers generate 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.
The law requires “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, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port.”
By the end of 2024, all smartphones, tablets, and cameras sold in the EU must transition to USB-C for charging. From spring 2026, this mandate will extend to laptops. The rules will not apply to products launched before the directive goes into force.
With a standard charging port, consumers will no longer have to buy a separate power adapter when they buy a new smartphone or camera. It also ensures that devices with fast charging support charge at the same speed, irrespective of the power adapter used.
The EU first proposed using USB-C as the standard charging port in September 2021.
The European Parliament also wants to standardize wireless charging solutions, so they are interoperable. It has set 2024 end as the deadline for this.
It’s time to say goodbye to Lightning
The ruling mainly affects Apple, as its devices continue to use a proprietary charging port. The Cupertino giant was among the first to go all-in on USB-C with its 2016 MacBook refresh, but it has stubbornly stuck to Lightning on iPhones and their accessories. With the law now passed, Apple has no other option but to adopt USB-C. Expect AirPods Pro 2, MagSafe battery pack, and other Mac accessories with a Lightning port to transition to USB-C as well.
Since the directive comes into effect at the end of 2024, the company could technically launch next year’s iPhone with the Lightning port. But there are already rumors of the iPhone 15 switching from Lightning to USB-C next year.