EU passes law forcing Apple to put USB-C on the iPhone

By the end of 2024, any new iPhones produced by Apple must include the USB-C port to be sold in Europe.

That’s the directive that has been overwhelmingly voted for by the European Parliament as a way to reduce electronic waste.

It will require all manufacturers to adopt USB-C as a common charging port for European customers.

Most phone and laptop makers have already made the switch to USB-C. The main holdout is, of course, Apple – which has used its own proprietary Lightning connector on all iPhones since 2012.

The EU’s directive received 602 votes in favour, 13 votes against, and eight abstentions.

‘Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charger every time they purchase a new device, as they will be able to use one single charger for a whole range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices,’ the European Parliament said in a press release today.

‘Regardless of their manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port.’

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EU industry chief Thierry Breton has previously said the move would save around €250 million (£213 million) for consumers.

Apple has fiercely protested the move.

‘We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole,’ it said in a statement back in 2020.

‘We do not believe there is a case for regulation given the industry is already moving to the use of USB Type-C through a connector or cable assembly.’

In an interview with, former Apple engineer Tony Fadell said the adoption of USB-C is actually confusing for consumers.

‘USB-C looks awesome on paper, but if you actually try to use it and the different types of cable, it becomes confusing,’ he said.

‘They all look the same, but there are different charge rates. Is it data or not data? Does it do power distribution? It [USB-C] is so bad. 

‘It may look the same but it actually is this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink specification. It makes it incredibly confusing for the customer.’

Regardless, it appears that Apple will have to get in line in the next couple of years if it wants to continue offering the iPhone to European phone users.

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