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EU common charger rule means big changes ahead -- including for the iPhone

One cable wire for all your devices means less wire tangles and hassles, but it also means the end of the lightning cable.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Associate Editor on
EU usb-c port
Image: NurPhoto/Getty Images

In an effort to make the tech industry more environmentally conscious and make consumers' lives less of a hassle, the EU on Thursday officially published their new common charger rules. 

As a result, the rules will enter into force before the end of the year. 

That means by the end of 2024, all mobile devices sold in the EU will have a USB Type-C charging port -- including Apple devices

Also: Don't waste your money on these Apple products: December 2022 edition

Under the common charger rules, all small and medium-sized devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, speakers and cameras, will require the same charger, making it easier to find the right cable and reducing the amount of chargers you need to purchase and carry around. 

Beginning in spring 2026, the requirement will also apply to laptops. 

EU calls for common charger laws began about 10 years ago as part of its efforts to reduce e-waste and enforce more sustainable practices. The long-awaited common charger law was first approved in October but was officially published in the EU Official Journal this week, setting it into actual enforcement. 

"We have waited more than ten years for these rules, but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past," said Parliament rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba.

"This future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future, and it will benefit everyone -- from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment." 

Many manufacturers, such as Samsung and Google, have already transitioned to making devices with USB-C charging ports. However, manufacturers that haven't -- like Apple, which has its exclusive Lightning port -- will be forced to meet the new requirements since the law will apply to all manufacturers without exceptions. 

Apple's SVP of marketing, Greg Joswiak, told the Wall Street Journal that the company would comply even though "we [Apple] think the approach would have been better environmentally and better for our customers to not have a government be so prescriptive."

Also: How to recycle your old electronics into Amazon gift cards

The implementation of this policy is estimated to save consumers €250 million a year ($263 million). It will also help reduce the 11,000 tonnes of charger e-waste found in the EU in a year. 

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