The European Commission has announced plans to force electronics companies to adopt USB-C as a universal charger on all devices – meaning Apple would have to abandon its Lightning chargers, or add a second port to smartphones.

Announced in a press release, the plans have been announced as a means of reducing e-waste “caused by the prevalence of different, incompatible chargers for electronic devices.” The Radio Equipment Directive will mean that devices sold in EU countries will need to include USB-C as standard “for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles.”

The directive would also force manufacturers to sell devises without bundled chargers, allowing consumers to keep using their existing USB-C cables. Fast charging would also become standard, meaning manufacturers couldn’t artifically limit the speed of USB-C charging, presumably in the hope of making proprietary chargers more attractive.

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The directive itself has yet to pass a vote, but European Parliament has already voted in favour of the idea of bringing in a standardised charger, meaning it’s expected to be approved. Manufacturers would be given 24 months after the directive passes to make changes to their devices.

The company most obviously affected by this change would be Apple, which uses USB-C on many of its devices but continues to use its own Lightning chargers on smartphones. Apple has not yet commented on the plans.

Of course, the timescale involved means that current Apple devises will continue to use Lightning cables – but it’s feasible that the newly-announced iPhone 13 could be one of its last products to use the proprietary charger.

Thumbnail image by Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images.

Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].



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