Tech

One charger will replace all others

From the end of 2024, USB-C should be a single charger standard for all new smartphones, tablets and cameras

The European Parliament passed a law on a single charger for all smartphones. From the end of 2024, USB-C should be the common charger standard for all new smartphones, tablets, and cameras.

The measure, which EU lawmakers passed by 602 votes to 13, will force Apple — at least in Europe — to ditch the outdated Lightning port on its iPhones and replace it with USB-C.

Laptop manufacturers will have additional time, starting in early 2026, to follow suit.

EU politicians say the single charger rule will simplify Europeans’ lives, reduce the mountain of outdated chargers, and lower costs for consumers.

It is expected to save at least 200 million euros a year and reduce e-waste by more than a thousand tons in the EU every year, said the head of the competition unit Margrethe Vestager.

This move by the EU is expected to reverberate around the world.

450 million people live in the 27 countries of the European Union, who are some of the richest consumers in the world. Regulatory changes in the bloc often set global industry norms within the so-called Brussels effect.

“Today is a big day for consumers, a big day for our environment,” said Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the issue.

“After more than a decade, a single charger for multiple electronic devices will finally become a reality for Europe and I hope we can inspire the rest of the world,” he said.

Apple, the world’s second-largest smartphone seller after Samsung, already uses USB-C ports to charge its iPads and laptops.

But the company opposed EU legislation to force a change to the Lightning ports on its iPhones, saying it was disproportionate and would stifle innovation.

However, some users of the latest flagship iPhone models complain that the Lightning cable transfers data at a fraction of the speed of USB-C.

In two years, the EU law will apply to all portable mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headsets, portable speakers, portable video game consoles, e-readers, keyboards, mice, and portable navigation systems.

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