No more proprietary phone chargers. No more grabbing the wrong cable.
That’s the future the European Union is looking toward.
The EU reached an agreement to make USB-C the common charging standard for all small and medium electronic devices, including phones and tablets. The new rules go into effect in 2024, giving manufacturers two years to adapt.
From the European Parliament:
Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer.
The rule also includes laptops, although manufacturers will have 40 months to make the adjustment.
The change would mean Apple’s iPhone, which uses a propriety Lightning connector, would have to switch to USB-C. The company told Reuters last year that forcing USB-C connectors on its devices would “stifle innovation.” Apple has also argued the USB-C standard would add to electronic waste by making its current Lightning cables obsolete.
While the change is part of a broader EU effort to reduce electronic waste, it will undoubtedly make life a little less frustrating. No one likes carrying three different charging cables for three different devices, after all.
The EU said it has reduced the number of phone charger types from 30 to three in the last decade. Now, it’ll be down to just one.
The EU is also making another change that will affect the buying process. Customers will be able to choose if they want to buy a new device with or without a charger. In the past few years, it’s become common for phone manufacturers to ship their products without a charging brick to cut costs, often without customers realizing it.
The new rules go into effect in fall 2024.