The European Parliament has voted to make USB‑C the EU common charging standard.
By the end of 2024, all mobile devices (including phones, tablets and headsets) capable of delivering up to 100W in the region will be required to have a USB‑C charging port.
Laptops will need to be replaced by spring 2026. Products launched before these deadlines are unaffected.
The regulation aims to reduce e‑waste by allowing existing chargers to be used as power sources for new equipment. It also aims to eliminate the technical “lock-in” that ties users to proprietary formats.
In addition, this vote has raised expectations for fast-charging compatible devices that achieve 18W or more of the USB‑C Power Delivery specification.
The EU has long sought common chargers, and has succeeded in reducing the types of connectors by promoting standards such as micro USB. However, the federation says the voluntary efforts did not lead to “tangible results” for users.
That led to a formal legislative proposal last September.
It’s no secret that this requirement primarily affects Apple. Apple has stuck with its own Lightning port on iPhones and some other devices, despite an industry-wide shift to USB‑C.
We claimed in 2020 that mandatory chargers would “hinder innovation,” but we’ve reached out to Apple for comment, and we’ll let you know if we hear back.
This won’t limit sales of current Lightning-equipped products, such as the iPhone 14 line and the second-generation AirPods Pro, but will force them to switch to USB‑C in the future.
Rumors suggest that Apple is already testing a USB‑C iPhone that could arrive in 2023, and that the entry-level iPad could adopt the port this fall.
However, there are concerns about the long-term effects. Parliamentary Rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said the law would allow for the development of “innovative charging solutions” in the future, but companies would have to wait for EU approval before switching.
And since the law doesn’t cover hardware above 100W, manufacturers won’t need to adopt USB‑C 2.1 (power delivery up to 240W) for high-end laptops.
Still, those who don’t want to buy new chargers and cables to switch to another mobile platform may welcome the move.