Many of us would like to see an iPhone with USB-C port in place of Lightning, so that we can finally have a single charger type for all our main Apple devices: iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

The European Union is trying to pass a law that would make this mandatory, despite the fact that it would be completely pointless…


Way back in 2009, Apple was one of 14 tech companies to agree to switch to a common charging port. At the time, that would have been everyone’s least-favourite port, microUSB.

That agreement came to nothing, so in 2018 the EU announced it was was going to look at making a common charging port a legal requirement for smartphones.

EU regulators plan to study whether there is a need for action in the push for a common mobile phone charger following a lack of progress by phone makers towards this goal, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

The European Commission has been pushing for a common charger for nearly a decade as it cited the more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste yearly from old chargers as well as the inconvenience to consumers.

EU still wants an iPhone with USB-C port

More than three years later, Reuters reports that the European Commission finally plans to legislate.

 The European Commission will next month present legislation to establish a common charger for mobile phones and other electronic devices within the 27-nation bloc, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The move will affect iPhone maker Apple more than its rivals. IPhones and most of Apple’s products are powered by its Lightning cable, whereas Android devices are powered by USB-C connectors.

The EU is well-intentioned, but I’ve previously explained why a law would be completely pointless due to the timeframes involved.

Assuming the law is finally passed, and it does adopt USB-C as the standard, it won’t come into effect immediately. Manufacturers plan their new products sometimes years in advance, so they will need to be given an appropriate notice period before the law becomes binding. That period will be measured in years.

By which time, one of two things will have happened in Cupertino. Either Apple will already have adopted USB-C, just as it did with the iPad Pro, or it will have moved to the position we all expect it to reach eventually: a port-free iPhone which supports only wireless charging. Either way, a European charger standard will be completely irrelevant by the time it comes into effect.

Render: Concepts iPhone

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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