EU rules that most gadgets must use same charging cable from 2024

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All phones, tablets and laptops, as well as most other portable gadgets, will soon be required by law to use the same charging cable.

he EU, which has been seeking the measure for over a decade, has finally agreed on the scope and format of the new law and is expected to introduce the regulation this Autumn. Tech giants such as Apple will then have two years to make sure that their smartphones and other devices meet the criteria, which will require the USB-C charging format, or else be banned from selling the devices in Europe.

“A common charger is common sense for the many electronic devices on our daily lives,” Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said in a statement. “European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics — an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.”

Not all gadgets are covered, however. Smartwatches and fitness bands, as well as items such as remote controlled toys or drones, won’t be required to meet the new legal requirements because of their particular charging structures.

Laptops, while covered under the new legislation, will be given an additional year and a half to reach compliance.

And the move only applies to devices that are charged using a wired cable and not to wireless chargers.

The main company impacted is set to be Apple, which is the only tech firm still using its own proprietary charging cable — Lightning — for its mass-market iPhone and AirPods devices. However, while Apple has been critical of the EU’s move, calling it a threat to innovation, it is understood to be trialling a USB-C powered iPhone for likely release in 2024 at the latest. Apple has already switched the charging format of most of its iPads to USB-C, while its just-released MacBook Air M2 can also be charged using USB-C.

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