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What’s Going On With the EU’s Common Charger Rules? (Updated)

Since years, the 27 member countries of the European Union had been discussing a law that would require all mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, to use one connector, USB Type-C.

Update, 10/4/22: The European Parliament voted on The new regulations require USB Type-C for mobile phones, tablets and eReaders by 2024. The law will go into effect on October 24, after another approval.

EU Regulation

The European Parliament has reached a “provisional agreement” that establishes a single charging solution — in this case, USB Type-C — for certain electronics. Current agreement is applicable to smartphones, tablets, eReaders and earbuds. It also applies to eReaders. While manufacturers can still sell existing products, they will have to start selling new products in the fall of 2024. You must USB Type C charging is supported

All laptops that are sold within the EU must also use USB Type-C. However, the deadline is not set. Much more We are still a ways off. Since we’re still in the (relatively) early days of Type-C charging with enough power for larger laptops, the requirement won’t go into effect for laptops until fall 2025.

The rules aren’t completely set in stone yet, though. There’s no agreement for a standard wireless technology (at least, not yet), and the EU Parliament and Council still have to formally approve everything.


Apple Problem

Apple has been portrayed as the main target of these rules, since iPhones still use Apple’s proprietary Lightning charging port, and Apple sells a Lot There are over 500,000 iPhones in Europe. Lightning, despite the fact that all MacBooks and iPad Pro/Air have switched to USB Type-C technology, is unfortunately still alive and well.

Apple criticized the EU’s charger rules when they were first proposed in 2021, telling the BBC, “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.” The European Union has said in response that it will update its rules as new technology arrives.

Apple could theoretically side-step the new rules with an iPhone that only charges wirelessly, since (as previously mentioned) there’s no firm proposal for a standardized wireless charger. Apple’s iPhone 12 introduced MagSafe wireless charging and there has been speculation for years about Apple removing the physical charger port. Recent reports however indicate that Apple may remove the physical charging port entirely. Apple is testing iPhones with USB Type-C ports And the company might switch connectors as early as 2023.


What Does the EU Do?

You might wonder, then, why is the European Union concerned about which chargers are being used? As the EU estimated that 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste was disposed in 2018, this number is likely to increase as more chargers are made to handle faster speeds. More electronic waste means more hardware slowly decomposing in landfills, which contributes to climate change — affecting everyone on the planet, not just the people living within the EU’s borders.

You can use the same cables and adapters for longer times if you have one charging standard that you can use for your phones. For example, if your laptop and your phone both have USB Type-C, and your phone’s cable is damaged, you can just charge the phone with your laptop charger. You’re probably also more likely to keep USB Type-C chargers if you know you might use them in the future, while proprietary chargers usually go in the trash once the device they were built for are replaced.

The European Union also says the move will make buyers’ lives easier. “Consumers will be provided with clear information on the charging characteristics of new devices,” the EU said, “making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible. Buyers will also be able to choose whether they want to purchase new electronic equipment with or without a charging device.”

We’ve already seen many companies stop selling devices with chargers in recent years, including Apple’s iPhones, many of Samsung’s Galaxy devices, and most wireless earbuds. That might be more motivated by cost-cutting than anything else — Apple didn’t lower the iPhone’s price when it stopped including a charger — but it still cuts back on e-waste.

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