Most modern Android smartphones feature USB-C ports, but soon that might be a requirement for all phones sold in Europe… including iPhones.
After announcing a provisional agreement in June to create “a single charging solution for certain electronic devices,” the European Union has finalized that agreement and announced that starting December 28, 2024 all new phones, tablets, eReaders, digital cameras, wireless headphones, and many other gadgets sold in the EUI will be required by law to have USB-C ports. Laptops sold in the EU will also need to support USB-C charging starting in 2026.
The promise of a unified charging solution is that you won’t necessarily need different power adapters and/or cables for all your stuff. Some of us are already living in that world – I already have a laptop that charges via a 45-watt USB-C power adapter, and I can plug that same charger into my phone, tablet, or eReaders.
But I do have a few older devices like wireless headphones and Bluetooth speakers that have micro USB ports, which means I can’t use the same charger for those devices.
Still, by requiring all devices use the same charging standard moving forward, the European Union rule could dramatically cut down on electronic waste, since you won’t necessarily need to discard old chargers and cables when buying new devices and companies can more easily justify shipping products that don’t come with a charger in the box unless you pay a little extra for one.
Of course, not all USB-C cables or chargers are created equal. So you may still want to pick up a new one from time to time if you want support for fast charging, wireless charging, or charging multiple devices at once, among other things.
While the EU’s rules don’t necessarily apply to devices sold outside of Europe, it will likely have a wide-reaching impact. For example, if the rule finally forces Apple to release iPhones with USB-C ports, it’s unlikely that the company will decide to make USB-C iPhones for Europe while continuing to make models with Lightning ports for the rest of the world, as that would mean that accessory makers would have to produce two versions of every gadget that plugs into an iPhone.