Legislators in the European Union have achieved an agreement on proposed legislation that would require all future devices, including Apple’s iPhone, to charge via the universal USB-C connection. In addition to phones, the laws will apply to other electronic devices such as tablets, digital cameras, and e-readers. In addition to agreeing to adopt the universal charging connector, a consensus was established to harmonize fast-charging standards.
The agreement was announced via a tweet by the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, ahead of a news conference scheduled for 12:30 CEST (6:30 AM ET) later today. We’ll update this story as more information from the conference becomes available.
The deal would have the greatest impact on Apple, the only major smartphone manufacturer that continues to utilize a proprietary port rather than USB-C. In 2021, Apple sold 241 million iPhones worldwide, with approximately 56 million sales in Europe.
The guidelines are an attempt to reduce e-waste in the EU by making electronic device chargers compatible. Legislators anticipate that in the future, phones will not need to come with a charger because buyers would already have the necessary cord and wall charger at home. The EU estimates that over 12 million metric tonnes of electronic trash were created across the EU in 2016.
The European Commission presented the current legislative intentions in September, but the EU’s efforts to compel manufacturers to utilize a unified billing standard date back more than a decade. In the years afterward, Android manufacturers have settled on micro USB and subsequently USB-C as the preferred charging standard, while Apple has transitioned from supplying phones with its proprietary 30-pin connector to Lightning.
Apple has resisted the EU’s efforts to compel it to utilize USB-C on its phones. “We continue to be worried that rigid legislation mandating only one type of connector stifles rather than encourages innovation, which would affect consumers in Europe and around the world,” a spokeswoman said. It’s also been argued that mandating conversion to USB-C will increase rather than decrease e-waste because it would render its existing ecosystem of Lightning accessories obsolete.