The European Union has reached an agreement on legislation that would require all smartphones sold in Europe, including the iPhone, to be equipped with a universal USB-C port for charging by the fall of 2024. The legislation has been under development for over ten years.

The new requirements will also apply to other electronic devices, including tablets, digital cameras, headphones, portable gaming consoles, and e-books. A similar rule for laptops will take effect later – the transition to a single connector is planned for the beginning of 2026 because laptops have more differences in power requirements.

These changes will have the biggest impact on Apple, which is the only major smartphone maker still using a proprietary Lightning port instead of USB-C. Earlier sources reported that Apple is already considering abandoning Lightning in favor of USB-C. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the transition to a universal connector could happen in 2023.

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The most important announcement was iOS 16, which got a brand new, customizable lock screen, as well as improvements to iMessage, updated maps, CarPlay, and many other changes.

Before these legal requirements can take effect, the bill must be approved by the EU Parliament and Council by the end of this year, but it appears to be just a formality. A press release from the European Parliament clearly states that the law will take effect in the fall of 2024.

The EU estimates that the initiative could save consumers €250 million a year on "unnecessary charger purchases" and reduce e-waste by about 11,000 tons a year.