EU Parliament approves rules for common charger for electronic devices

The change is likely to have a major impact on Apple

Published

Plugging one's mobile phone could soon be less of a hassle for millions of European consumers after EU countries and lawmakers agreed on Tuesday (June 7) to a single mobile charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras in a world first.

The change, which will only allow USB-C connectors, is set to have a major impact on Apple, which will have to change the connector on iPhones sold in Europe by 2024.

Companies failed to reach a common solution on chargers.
Companies failed to reach a common solution on chargers.

The political intervention, which the European Commission said would make life easier for consumers and save them money, came after companies failed to reach a common solution.

Brussels has been pushing for a single mobile charging port for more than a decade, prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.

iPhones are charged from a Lightning cable, while recent Android-based devices use USB-C connectors.

Half the chargers sold with mobile phones in 2018 had a USB micro-B connector, while 29% had a USB-C connector and 21% a Lightning connector, according to a 2019 Commission study.

Laptops will have to comply with the legislation within 40 months of it entering into force. The EU executive will have the power in future to harmonise wireless charging systems.

Apple, which has warned the proposal would hurt innovation and create a mountain of electronic waste, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.