UK won’t follow European Union’s USB-C common charger rule

The British government will not emulate the European Union’s mandate that the iPhone and other rechargeable devices use USB-C as a universal charging standard.

earlier this week, European lawmakers struck an agreement on new regulations mandating a standardized charging port for smartphones and other electronic gadgets.

The new laws will take effect throughout Europe in late 2024, but not in the UK.

According to the BBCthe UK government is not currently contemplating adopting the EUs plans for a universal charging cable.

A UK government spokesperson told the broadcaster, “We are not currently considering replicating this requirement.”

However, officials from both the UK and the EU have said that the need for a single charger would apply to devices that are sold in Northern Ireland.

The current post-Brexit agreement between the two parties keeps Northern Ireland inside the EU’s single market for goods, while the rest of the UK remains outside.

The “new requirements may also apply to devices sold in Northern Ireland under the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit standards, potentially triggering divergence of product with the rest of the UK,” according to a December 2021 parliamentary report.

The EU’s proposed charging cable legislation covers rechargeable mobile devices such as phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, headphones, e-reader devices and portable gaming consoles.

All small and medium-sized portable electronic gadgets sold inside the EU must feature a USB-C charging port, as per the proposed regulation.

Laptop manufacturers must also comply, but they will have an extra 40 months to do so after the new rules take effect.

In accordance with the new rules, buyers will be provided with precise information on the charging characteristics of new gadgets. This will make it simpler for buyers to determine whether their existing chargers are compatible with the new devices.

They will also have the choice to purchase new phones with or without a charger included in the package.

The proposed law still needs to be approved by the EU Parliament and Council, which is planned for later this year.

The move is part of a larger EU initiative to make products in the region more environmentally friendly, reduce electronic waste, and make consumers’ lives easier.

The EU said that it will save consumers up to €250 million (£213 million) each year on needless charger purchases and cut 11,000 tons of waste every year.

Apple has slammed the proposal, claiming that standardising charging would hinder innovation and lead to a mountain of electronic waste.

“Strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” an Apple representative told the BBC in September 2021.

However, industry watchers believe Apple will fall in line with the ruling. Whatever the UK decides to do will make little difference as it is a relatively small market.

With the new EU guidelines in place, Apple will be forced to alter new products such as iPhones, AirPods, and the base model iPad to accommodate USB-C chargers.

As these EU laws take shape, rumours of a USB-C charging connector on the iPhone 15 continue to circulate.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known Apple analyst, has previously said that the iPhone 15, which will be released in 2023, will ditch Lightning in the favour of USB-C.