IPhone: Europe wants to impose a single USB-C charger on Apple by 2024
The European Commission tabled a draft directive on Thursday, September 24, 2021. With these measures, the EU wants to force manufacturers of smartphones and tablets to adopt a single charger, with the obligation to integrate a USB Type port -C on their devices. In addition, the chargers should be interchangeable.
This is a thorny question which has occupied the European Commission since 2009. At that time, the institution noted with dismay that there were around thirty different and incompatible load standards. In fact, the question of a universal and interoperable charger quickly arrived on the table.
Initial pressure from the Commission made it possible to reduce this number to three, with Apple’s USB Type-C, micro USB and Lightning port. But in the eyes of Brussels, it is still too much. That is why it was decided to put the measurement of the single charger back on the mat. This Thursday, September 24, 2021, the European Commission tabled a draft directive requiring manufacturers of smartphones and tablets to equip their devices sold on the Old Continent with a single, interoperable charger.
Apple will be the manufacturer most affected by these new rules
Apple, which persists in using a Lightning port on its iPhones when it has already switched to USB-C on its other devices, should be the most affected by this measure. The Lightning port was introduced on the iPhone 5 in 2012, replacing the long-standing 30-pin connector. Apple pushes back the adoption of USB-C every year, but Europe could finally force the American giant to use a USB-C port on its iPhones.
More precisely, all the devices in question must be equipped with at least a USB Type-C port, with however the possibility of housing a second port. And as said above, the chargers must be interchangeable, the cables must be able to be used without loss of performance from one product to another. Besides, the project will prohibitalso systematically incorporate a charger in the box of new devices. This will reduce electronic waste by allowing people to use the chargers and cables they already have in their homes.
These proposals follow a vote in the European Parliament in January 2020, where lawmakers voted in favor of new rules on common chargers. In 2016, the amount of electronic waste produced through the block was approximately 12.3 million metric tons. According to a study by the commission in 2019, nearly 50% of phones sold in 2018 had a micro-USB port, 29% of devices using USB-C and 21% Lightning technology. Since, the micro-USB port has been ditched on most devices in favor of USB-C, with the exception of a few entry-level devices.
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The adoption of the single charger from 2024?
On this last point, the European Commission is late, many manufacturers having already started to remove the charger from the box of their devices such as Apple with the iPhone 12, Samsung with the S21 or even Google with the Pixel 6. “More than 2 billion chargers are already in circulation in the world. By not producing them, we will save 2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions ″, explained Lisa Jackson, vice president of sustainability at Apple.
This measure was presented by the teams of Thierry Breton, Internal Market Commissioner. It will concern smartphones and tablets, but also headphones, cameras, video game consoles, cameras and connected speakers. The European executive hopes for a final adoption of the text in the first half of 2022, before consideration by Parliament and the European Council. This device could then enter into force in 2024, this period being necessary to transcribe the measure into the national law of the 27 Member States, then to give manufacturers time to comply. Indeed, Member States will likely have two years to transpose the rules into their national legislation and manufacturers will have 24 months to change their charging ports.