Apple Won't Like New EU Rule on Charging Cords

USB-C cable will be required for devices, from phones to headphones to GPS units, from 2024
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2022 10:30 AM CDT
Apple Won't Like New EU Rule on Charging Cords
Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, is seen during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Sept. 23, 2021.   (AP Photo/Thierry Monasse, File)

(Newser) – Forget rummaging through the junk drawer. Soon, Europeans will need to reach for just one cable to charge their smartphones and other devices, the AP reports. European Union officials said they inked a provisional agreement Tuesday that will require a uniform charging cord in the 27-nation bloc. The new rules, which will take effect by the fall of 2024, mean EU consumers will only need to use a common USB Type-C cable for small and medium-size rechargeable, portable electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, hand-held video game consoles, keyboards and mice, portable speakers, and navigation devices. Laptops also are covered, but manufacturers will have extra time to comply.

It's part of a wider effort to make products sold in the EU more sustainable and cut down on electronic waste. "European consumers were frustrated with multiple chargers piling up within their homes," Alex Agius Saliba, the European Parliament's lead negotiator, said at a press briefing in Brussels. The rules apply only to devices sold in the European single market, which consists of 30 countries. However, like the EU's strict privacy regulations, they could end up becoming a de facto standard for the rest of the world. While many electronics makers have started adopting USB-C sockets into their devices, Apple has been one of the main holdouts.

Apple, which didn't respond to a request for comment, has previously said it's concerned the rules would limit innovation and hurt consumers. The company's iPhones come with its own Lightning charging port, though newer models include cables that can be plugged into a USB-C socket. The EU rules also outline standards for fast charging technology and give consumers the right to choose whether to buy new devices with or without a charger, which the EU estimates will save consumers $266 million a year. The EU estimates disposed or unused chargers account for 11,000 metric tons of e-waste in Europe every year. The European Parliament and European Council are expected to give formal approval to the agreement after the summer break. (Read more European Union stories.)

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