Apple may finally be ordered to make chargers just like everyone else

Electronic devices like cell phones will be required to have a common charger in the European Union by fall 2024, officials agreed on Tuesday.

Negotiators from the European Parliament and Council released a provisional agreement that said USB Type-C would become the common charging point for small and medium-sized portable devices in the bloc.

Affected devices include cell phones, tablets, earbuds, digital cameras, hand-held video game consoles and headphones, all of which will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port—regardless of their manufacturer.

The move is a blow to tech giant Apple, whose devices are currently only compatible with its own Lightning chargers.

Laptops are being granted a longer deadline to comply with the EU’s new rules, and will need to be adapted to meet the requirements within 40 months of them coming into force.

The changes are part of a broader attempt to make products more sustainable and reduce electronic waste, with officials arguing they will also make consumers’ lives easier.

Consumers in the EU will save as much as €250 million ($257 million) per year on “unnecessary charger purchases” once the rules come into force, officials said.

Discarded and unused chargers are estimated to create around 11,000 tons of e-waste every year, according to the European Parliament.

The agreement still needs formal approval from both the European Parliament and the Council, with a vote expected after the summer recess.

If approved, it will come into effect 20 days after being published in the EU Official Journal, and its provisions will begin to apply 24 months later.

The rules would not apply to products that entered the market before the rules begin to apply.

Alex Agius Saliba, a lawmaker in the European Parliament, told a press conference on Tuesday that consumers had been frustrated with a buildup of multiple chargers, and that there had been consensus among policymakers on much of the proposed legislation.

“The proposed legislation can achieve important objectives on consumer choice, reduction of costs and reduction of e-waste,” he said.

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