USB-C Could Become Phone Charger Standard

John Lister's picture

New laws in Europe could mean all phones have to use the same charger plug. It's uncertain if they will take effect but they could force manufacturers to make changes worldwide.

The proposal would mean most portable electronic devices sold in European Union countries would have to have a USB-C charging port. If manufacturers supplied a charger with a power plug, the connection to the phone could be USB-C or USB-A.

The rules would apply to phones, tablets, cameras, portable speakers, headphones and portable game consoles. Specific exemptions would include ear buds, fitness trackers and smart watches where USB-C ports might be too big to be practical. (Source:

Environmental Impact

Although the move could help consumers, the primary goal is environmental. Politicians believe the range of connection formats mean users wind up buying multiple charging cables, particularly when getting a new device. The idea is that although there'd be an initial increase in demand as manufacturers launched new models, eventually anyone buying a new device would not need to replace their existing cables and plugs.

The proposals also call for a common fast-charging speed. That should mean that customers could use any cable to charge their phone rather than have to hunt down one that offered the shortest charging time.

Supporters of the plan hope the rules will pass next year. EU countries would then have two years to pass them into national laws. Manufacturers would then have a two year transition period before they had to use USB-C on all new devices.

Apple Wary Of Change

This isn't the first time European politicians have tried to make such changes. They've previously pushed manufacturers to settle on the micro-USB format but were unable to turn that into a binding rule. (Source:

One of the biggest obstacles is Apple, which has its own Lightning charger format and has been reluctant to change. Besides the argument about whether such laws are appropriate, Apple can argue that the sheer number of its devices already in use mean a switch to USB-C could actually mean more unnecessary charger purchases.

If the rules did come into force, manufacturers might have to decide whether to adopt USB-C in all their products or make special models just for Europe. Around 446 million people live in the EU, so it's unlikely most manufacturers would simply abandon the market.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you find it frustrating that different devices have different charger formats? Is it realistic that all devices could use one format? Is this a matter for laws or is it best left to consumer demand?

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Focused100's picture

Too many chargers and cables. USB C seems to work well and is more and more popular.

kjeldn_6343's picture

Great idea!

buzzallnight's picture

since the beginning of computers
and has been used for planned obsolescence
just like software upgrades.

Just imagine if Win 10 was the last version of windows


It would take laws to rein these buggers in.....

But 4 years is way too long to take effect
they will be on USB-F by then!!!!!!!!!!!!!

capndad_15208's picture

I have USB-C, -mini, & -micro devices. USB-C is great for an old guy, whose eyes aren't so good anymore. I can understand the necessity for the -micro connections on certain devices, like cell phones. My -mini devices are legacy devices and the cables aren't always easy to find. Maybe an adapter is out there somewhere.

Apple's use of proprietary accessories is why I have never owned an Apple product. If they drop the choke hold they have on their users I might change my attitude.