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EU officially makes USB-C mandatory for smartphones, but here's what's next
- The EU has formally approved legislation to make USB-C charging mandatory.
- Smartphones, tablets, and cameras will need to offer USB-C ports by the end of 2024.
- The EU will also push for a common wireless charging standard.
The EU reached a provisional deal earlier this year to make USB-C mandatory for all smartphones from 2024. Well, that agreement is no longer merely provisional, as the European Parliament has formally approved it today (October 4).
So what does this mean for EU consumers, then? Well, the law will make it mandatory for all mobile phones, tablets, and cameras sold in the EU to adopt a USB-C port by the end of 2024. Laptops will be required to offer USB-C charging from “spring 2026.”
The EU press release also specifically mentions that other devices capable of charging via a wired cable need to have USB-C. These devices include handheld gaming consoles, headphones/headsets, portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, GPS devices, and earbuds.
What does this mean for consumers?
Of course, the vast majority of smartphones sold globally offer USB-C ports. But this means Apple iPhones sold in the market will be required to offer USB-C charging as well. It’s likely no coincidence that rumors abound that the iPhone 15 family will launch with USB-C next year.
The EU press release also asserts that “all devices that support fast charging will now have the same charging speed.” This suggests that the EU is limiting charging speeds. However, a closer look at the original proposal shows that devices will simply need to incorporate the USB-PD protocol if they charge at a faster speed than 15W.
What do you think of the EU's USB-C law?
We’ve asked the European Parliament to clarify the above quote and to find out whether the legislation allows for proprietary USB-C charging standards to exist alongside the USB-PD standard. We will update the article accordingly.
Charger bundling and wireless charging a focus too
In any event, the legislation will also allow EU consumers to choose whether their new phone comes with or without a charger. New devices will also come with labels detailing “charging characteristics,” helping people to figure out whether their existing chargers are compatible.
The EU legislation doesn’t stop at wired charging though, as it also calls for a common wireless charging standard to be harmonized by the end of 2024. This is part of a bid to ensure that device makers don’t have any loopholes to push exclusive, proprietary charging tech. It stands to reason that the current Qi standard might form the basis for harmonization.