The EU’s USB-C Phone Requirement Now Has a Deadline


European Union flag with a USB Type-C cable

For the past few years, the European Union and its 27 member states have been debating a rule that would require phones, tablets, and other devices to have a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer. Now the rule has a due date for device makers.

Earlier this year, the EU reached a provisional agreement that established a single charging solution, USB Type-C, for electronics like phones, tablets, eReaders, earbuds, digital cameras, portable speakers, headsets, and handheld consoles. The initial ruling said devices introduced in fall 2024 had to comply with the new rule, but only now has it been entered into the EU’s Official Journal, and now has a slightly later due date: December 28, 2024.

The EU said in its decision, “since 2009, efforts have been made at Union level to limit the fragmentation of the market for charging interfaces for mobile phones and similar items of radio equipment. Although recent voluntary initiatives have increased the level of convergence of charging devices, which are the external power supply part of chargers, and decreased the number of different charging solutions available on the market, those initiatives do not fully meet the Union policy objectives of ensuring consumer convenience, reducing electronic waste (e-waste) and avoiding fragmentation of the market for charging devices. […] This Directive is aimed at reducing the e-waste generated by the sale of radio equipment, and at reducing the extraction of raw materials and the CO2 emissions generated by the production, transportation and disposal of chargers, thereby promoting a circular economy.”

The ruling most notably affects Apple, which continues to release new iPhones, AirPods, and some accessories with the proprietary Lightning port, instead of USB-C. Apple said it would comply with the EU’s ruling, but it’s not clear to what extent — theoretically, Apple could make a USB-C iPhone for Europe and keep Lightning everywhere else. Thankfully, recent rumors suggest all iPhone 15 models will have the newer port, and Pro models may have faster data speeds.

The decision affects all EU member states, such as France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweeden, and others. It may also go into effect for Northern Ireland, since it’s still in the EU’s single market for goods, even though it’s part of the now-independent United Kingdom.

Source: BBC, EU

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