The European Commission wants common mobile charging standard; could force Apple’s hand

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Mobile charging is something nearly every one of us uses every day. No matter if you’re an Android or iOS user, you use some form of mobile charging. For a very long time, Android devices used MicroUSB as their charging standard. In contrast, Apple devices went the proprietary route with the Lightning port.

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There’s no doubt mobile charging has improved leaps and bounds, especially with the ability to use wireless charging. But wireless charging is still not as fast as a wired mobile charging solution, not to mention that not every device has wireless charging capabilities.

So wires are still needed, and the European Commission wants all of those wires to have the same connection at the end. The Commission is preparing to present legislation that could establish a mobile charging standard which would likely be USB-C.

This will affect Apple iPhones and AirPods since they are exclusively using Lightning as a wired mobile charging method. Some iPads are also still using Lightning while the Pro models have switched to USB-C.

The EU executive is currently drafting the legislation, the source said, without giving further details. Lawmakers at the European Parliament last year voted overwhelmingly in favour of a common charger, citing environmental benefits and convenience to users.

Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Nokia signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding to harmonize chargers for new models of smartphones coming into the market in 2011 which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of different chargers and a convergence of the market to USB 2.0 micro-B connections.

The industry and the Commission subsequently tried to reach a final resolution on the issue in 2018 but failed.


Apple has spoken in the past about the EU’s desire for a mobile charging standard, saying it would hurt innovation.

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