The European Union (EU) has approved the law that will require most portable consumer tech to use USB-C as the charging port by the end of 2024. Following spring 2026, the law will extend to laptops as well.
The Parliament's rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said:
“The common charger will finally become a reality in Europe. We have waited more than ten years for these rules, but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past.
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.
These are difficult times for politics, but we have shown that the EU has not run out of ideas or solutions to improve the lives of millions in Europe and inspire other parts of the world to follow suit”
The law was proposed last year with the intention of reducing e-waste, so that customers won't have to purchase new chargers every time they buy an electronic product. Many OEMs had already made USB Type-C a de-facto standard because of its unified fast charging technology and other benefits.
The devices currently impacted by the legislation are:
- Mobile phones
- Digital cameras
- Handheld videogame consoles
- Portable speakers
- Portable navigation systems
- Laptops (from spring 2026)
The new legislation will impact Apple devices the most, as they still feature the company's proprietary lightning port and cables.
The European Commission says that it will also harmonize interoperability requirements for wireless chargers as well. This will be done to avoid "having a negative impact on the consumers" and to get rid of "technological lock-in" effect where the consumers become dependent on a single manufacturer.
The law also requires manufacturers to put dedicated labels about the charging characteristics of new devices. This is to ensure buyers to make an informed choice about whether or not to purchase a new charging device with a new product.