Tuesday, February 20

One Charger for Phones and Laptops in Two Years

New phones and other devices should be able to be charged in more than two years with the same charger. USB-C adapters will then become the standard in the European Union, negotiators from the Member States and the European Parliament have agreed.


Laptops will also fall under this, although manufacturers are given a little more time for this. And iPhones and other Apple products, despite opposition from the US company.

The new rule should make it easier for consumers. Now they often have to buy a confusing number of different chargers and they sometimes miss out at inopportune moments. It also saves a mountain of waste, and advocates hope.

The deal is a blow to Apple, the only major phone maker that still works with its own charger. Some Macbooks and iPads already have USB-C input, but iPhones require a Lightning plug.

USB-C will not only be mandatory for phones, but also for other small and medium-sized devices such as laptops, tablets, digital cameras, e-readers and earphones. Because many laptops require more power and therefore often use a different adapter, manufacturers of heavier ones have three years and four months for the transition. In the original plan, laptops were completely out of the question, but parliament was not satisfied with that.

Manufacturers are no longer allowed to force customers to buy a charger with a new device, the negotiators say. They should be able to thank them for this, for example, because they already have one lying around. If that doesn’t work satisfactorily, the EU may force devices and chargers to stop being sold together, said European Parliament negotiator Alex Agius Saliba.

The negotiators have yet to submit the agreement to the full parliament and to the governments of the EU countries. If they agree after the summer, the rules could come into effect in the fall of 2024.

The EU has been working to reduce the number of chargers for more than a decade. She previously hoped that manufacturers would choose a joint plug themselves, but that never happened.

The agreements can save consumers 250 million euros in costs and 11,000 tons of electronic waste annually, estimates responsible European Commissioner Thierry Breton. Fear that the new standard will hold back innovation is superfluous, he says. According to him, the EU continues to watch closely whether it is time for USB-C to make way for a newer plug.

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