In brief: December 28, 2024, that’s the date when new all iPhones and other wired chargeable devices sold in the EU must come with a USB-C port. That means Apple now has 24 months to switch from Lighting to Type-C in its phones, though we’re likely to see the first one arrive a lot sooner.
After pushing for a universal charging solution for over a decade, the European Commission in October voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that would see all phones, tablets, and other small electronics sold in the region feature USB-C ports by 2024. The European Council approved the mandate a few weeks later.
Now, the USB-C legislation has just been published in the EU’s official journal, revealing the December 28, 2024, deadline. It covers phones, tablets, digital cameras, handheld consoles, and other small electronic devices sold in the region that come with a wired charging option—anything wireless-charging-only, such as some smartwatches, are exempt. Laptops also fall under the rule, though they have until April 28, 2026, to switch to USB-C.
— IMCO Committee Press (@EP_SingleMarket) December 8, 2022
The biggest company most affected by all this is, of course, Apple. Cupertino has long argued against making USB-C mandatory as it says the move would stifle innovation. It notes that European authorities once wanted Apple to adopt Micro-USB and claims that neither Lightning nor USB-C would have been invented if the switch had occurred. Apple also says the move will create more e-waste, not less, due to the number of chargers that people will have to throw away.
After the EU ruling, Apple begrudgingly admitted that the iPhone would have to abandon the Lightning connector, which, unlike USB-C, doesn’t support USB 3.1 gen 2 and is capped at 14W power delivery.
The first of Apple’s USB-C handsets could arrive next year. According to rumors, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will support high-speed transfers (at least USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3), while he two standard iPhone 15 models will max out at USB 2.0 speeds.