It’s official – the EU has ordered all brands to standardise on the USB-C connector for all mobile chargers, including Apple!
EU Orders All Brands To Use USB-C, Including Apple!
On Tuesday, October 4, 2022, the European Parliament voted decisively in favour of adopting the USB-C (USB Type C) port as the new standard for all portable devices.
The directive passed with an overwhelming vote of 602 MEPs in favour, and just 13 against (with 8 abstentions), and now heads to the EU Council for the formality of a final approval.
Once the Council signs off on the directive, it will enter into force 20 days after publication in the EU’s Official Journal. Member states will then have 12 months to transpose the new directive, and another 12 months after that transposition period, to apply the new rules.
Once these new rules are enforced, consumers will be able to use and share chargers since all portable devices use the same charging port.
The EU expects the directive to greatly reduce e-waste, and help consumers save up to €250 million a year on purchasing chargers of different standards.
In the EU, chargers alone account for about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste every year. So this directive will help to cut down on the environmental impact of disposing of so many old or unused chargers.
Details Of EU Directive On USB-C Standardisation
Here is my quick round-up of the new EU directive on standardising portable devices and laptops on the USB Type C charging port.
All Devices Must Come With USB-C Charging Port
What this means is that by the end of 2024, all portable devices sold in the EU must come with a USB Type C charging port.
Regardless of their manufacturer, 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.
Small devices like smartwatches and health trackers that cannot fit a USB-C port are exempted from this requirement.
This directive is more or less directed at Apple which persists in using its own proprietary Lighting connector for its devices – everything from iPhone, iPad, AirPods and even its wireless keyboard and mouse.
The only way for Apple to get around this is to switch their new devices to wireless charging before the end of 2024.
All Devices Must Support USB-C Fast Charging Standards
Also important is the fact that the EU is going to force all brands to adopt USB-C fast charging standards.
While the legislation won’t stop manufacturers from implementing special fast charging capabilities, it will ensure that their chargers and devices support USB-C fast charging standards as a minimum.
All devices that support fast charging will now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
USB-C Mandate To Extend To Laptops In 2026
On top of that, the directive also requires laptops to standardise on the USB Type C charging port by spring 2026.
This new directive will not please Apple MacBook users who just celebrated the return of the MagSafe connector, but it will be a great advantage for consumers.
Once enforced, everyone will be able to use their laptop’s USB-C charger to also recharge their other devices, because they all have the same USB Type port!
The directive also requires brands to use dedicated labels to help consumers decide if their existing chargers will support their new devices, or if they need to purchase a new charger.
This will hopefully prevent consumers from being hoodwinked into purchasing a new charger with every new device, when their existing chargers will work just as well.
Dedicated labels will inform consumers about the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible.
Buyers will also be able to make an informed choice about whether or not to purchase a new charging device with a new product.
Wireless Charging To Be Standardised Too
The directive also commanded the European Commission to tackle wireless charging interoperability by the end of 2024.
It highlighted the risk of brands using proprietary wireless charging technologies to “lock in” users, replicating what Apple did with its Lightning connector for wired charging.
Like with wired charging, the EU wants wireless charging to be interoperable as well.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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