TECH: EU to mandate USB‑C charging for mobile devices by the end of 2024

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.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.