Phones, tablets, computers … Five questions about the universal charger that will soon become mandatory in the European Union

“Do you have a charger for the iPhone? No, sorry, just for Samsung …” This exchange should no longer exist in Europe. And for good reason, the European Union will impose from the fall of 2024 a universal wired charger for smartphones, tablets, consoles and digital cameras. Apple -branded products are also affected. Franceinfo answers five questions about this little revolution that is coming to your closets.

1When will this charger become mandatory?

By the fall of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, headphones, digital cameras, portable video game consoles and portable speakers will need to have a charger.

Laptops will be subject to the same single-charger requirement in spring 2026, according to a policy agreement reached on Tuesday (June 7). This text will be formally approved after the summer by the European Parliament and the European Council, the body representing the State.

2What does it look like?

Surely you already know this. The single device chosen by the European Union is none other than the USB-C charger that already equips multiple devices. No, not the large rectangular plug that you always plug in the wrong way (USB type A), or the thin and still irreversible version (micro-USB), but the newer version of it (type C), smaller and reversible due to its oblong shape.

USB-C, Lightning and micro-USB type chargers.  (DPA / AFP)

Not only that. The text also provides for a harmonic charging speed for devices that allow fast charging, to prevent this from being hampered when using a charger of a different brand. Finally, labeling will be improved to better inform consumers, who can purchase a device with or without a charger.

3What about wireless chargers?

While this universal wired charger should be generalized in the fall of 2024, some manufacturers are a step ahead. More and more electronic devices allow wireless charging, via an induction charger. The European Union is well aware of the subject and ofThe text also paves the way for the future standardization of wireless charging technologies.

Thus, as wireless technology spreads, the Commission will be empowered to develop “delegated interoperability functions of billing solutions”those are regulations that can be applied directly without being subject to a vote of the European Council or the European Parliament.

4Even Apple has to comply?

Yes, this time Apple can no longer play solo. The American manufacturer had to abandon the famous Lightning charger, introduced in 2012. Apple has always refused to use an open and standardized solution such as micro-USB or USB-C, but favored “proprietary “its formats, none compatible. with other brands of electronic devices.

Despite this, an iPhone with a USB-C port would be fine … never existed. unsaon? Just by removing the wired charger from the smartphone. For many years, Apple relied heavily on wireless (or induction) chargers, such as the Magsafe that sold (at an additional cost) the new iPhones. This wireless technology may be the only way to recharge Apple products, according to an expert quoted by Numerama.

5What is the point of this bond?

The goal is twofold for the European Union: to simplify the lives of users and to limit the environmental impact of these devices. “Consumers will no longer need another charging device and cable every time they buy a new device, they can now use one charger for all their small and medium-sized electronic devices”eliminating unnecessary accessories, explains Parliament.

This regulation could allow European consumers, who spend 2.4 billion euros a year to buy chargers alone, which could save at least 250 million euros per year, according to the European Commission. Unused magazine waste, which is estimated at 11,000 tons per year, could be reduced to nearly 1,000 tons.

Politically, this move seems to be united. “Charging systems lock consumers into a brand and force us to assemble cost cables in our wallets and natural resources”, welcomed Green MEP David Cormand. Geoffroy Didier, his counterpart from European People’s Party (ranked by right), salute to “volunteer” in the EU before “Obscene waste dictated by the commercial interests of some industry groups”.

Who would oppose this?

These new rules will not please everyone. And in the first place, Apple. The American manufacturer claims that its Lightning charger supplies more than a billion devices worldwide and estimates that the text in Europe “inhibit innovation” and cut off the EU from the rest of the world because of the standards “old”. USB-C technology can easily become outdated, as can the micro-USB port provided in the first version of the European project. What worries some manufacturers. By disqualifying some of the chargers and smartphones in circulation, Brussels “inflict huge losses on manufacturers, reduce consumer choice and generate e-waste” In addition, Apple insisted on Tuesday.

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