One step closer to requiring Apple and other electronics manufacturers to use one charging standard for their devices, such as tablets and phones, is the European Union.
The European Parliament approved new rules on Tuesday. They will apply to small- and medium-sized electronic devices beginning in 2024. The rules will apply to larger devices, such as laptops, starting in spring 2026.
This law, which is the first of its kind, will require that a wide range of new devices sold in the EU use the USB-C standard for charging. Other electronics covered include headphones, rechargeable cameras, and portable speakers, as well as handheld video game consoles.
This decision will in large part mean that the trading bloc will no longer use proprietary charging standards, such as Apple’s Lightning connector which is currently used to charge iPhones.
Legislators around the world have called for similar standards to be adopted from other countries after seeing the EU proposal. Three Democratic senators from the United States asked the Commerce Department for a comprehensive strategy on charging accessories. They cited consumer inconvenience and environmental pollution.
According to an EU Parliament report, Apple stated that the rule proposed by Apple would make obsolete up to a billion accessories and devices that use the Lightning connector.
The same report cites a 2021 study that found that iPhones with Lightning connectors account for 18% of all new phone sales in 2019. 44% used USB-C, while 38% used an older USB connector called Micro-B.
Tuesday’s vote is just one of many formal steps required to implement a policy that EU officials have been working on this summer. With 602 votes in favor, 13 against, and 8 abstentions, the measure received overwhelming support from the EU Parliament.
The European Council will now approve it.