What the European Universal Charger Mandate means to you

Most of us have many types of chargers to upgrade our devices. That’s because many products, such as Apple phones and Microsoft Surface computers, connect to wires that use special connectors.

Soon, that may no longer be the case.

This month, the European Union will require all new portable devices, such as smartphones, headphones and wireless keyboards, to use a standard charger by 2024 by 2024. Two years later, the same rules apply to new laptops.

Although the law will be enforced across Europe, it could affect consumers around the world. This is probably because it will cost technology companies to make products for different charging technologies only for European countries.

Legislation that says regulators will reduce e-waste is aimed at Apple, whose iPhone, iPad and Mac use a variety of charging technologies. Apple declined to comment in a letter to the European Commission in November stating its opposition to the mandate, arguing that it would drown the introduction of new charging technologies. Terence Zakka, a spokesman for the commission, said the legislation could be updated quickly to ensure it is kept up with new technologies.

It’s a long story, no matter where you live, most of the devices you buy in the coming years will likely have a charging port known as USB-C. The change can be a frustrating transition for many, and perhaps the worst for iPhone customers who have been collecting wires and accessories using Apple’s Lightning connector since it was introduced a decade ago. These products will be unavailable when the use order comes into effect and people start buying new products without a Lightning connection.

So preparing for this transition will help you avoid waste. Here’s what you can do.

First, let’s talk about USB-Ci. Android is an oval connector that works with many modern phones and laptops. It’s not the same as Apple’s lightning flat rectangular connector or large rectangular USB connector, which is an older technology called USB-A.

European law requires all devices to use USB-C by 2026. Therefore, we need to plan to include this connector in the products we use to charge our devices, including power bricks and wires.

When you purchase a power brick that is connected to your computer or phone by a wire, make sure you get one with an oval USB-C port. This will support a USB-C power cable that will connect to your future phone or computer.

Many Android phones and computers already use USB-C power cords; so keep buying if you need to. But suppose you use Apple phones that use the Lightning connector. If your Lightning cable charger for your iPhone breaks, it may still make sense to buy a replacement cable because these wires are relatively inexpensive. High quality third-party Lightning cable costs less than $ 15. The safest bet is to buy a Lightning cable with a USB-C connector on the other side to make sure it connects to your next laptop or power brick.

Another option is to go wireless, said John Bumstead, owner of a company that sells upgraded hardware from Apple to RDKL Incorporated. Most modern smartphones, including iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones, work with a newer wireless charging technology known as magnetic induction, which uses an electric current to create a magnetic field and create a voltage that feeds your device wirelessly.

Wireless chargers come in a variety of shapes and forms, including rugs and docks. Since they don’t need to be connected to a port on your phone, this is a good time to consider wireless chargers.

A more difficult invention is to buy accessories like keyboards and mice, Mr. said Bumstead. Some new products like Apple’s $ 200 Magic Keyboard or its $ 150 Magic Trackpad have Lightning ports.

It would be advisable to wait a couple of years for future versions of these products, Mr. said Bumstead. Therefore, when the USB-C mandate comes into force, it will be difficult to carry a USB-C cable for your phone and computer and a Lightning cable for your keyboard or mouse. It will be more convenient to carry a cable that charges everything. That is the whole point of European law.

However, when everyone uses the same type of connector for a number of years, this does not mean that you should discard devices that use proprietary connections. One more convenient way to use it is to purchase an adapter, like a dongle that allows you to accept a USB-C connection to a Lightning connector. said Bumstead. That way, if you have only one device that uses the Lightning connector, you can use the dongle to continue connecting that device with a USB-C cable.

Dongles are a great solution, however, because they are tiny and easily lost, so you better not buy accessories with proprietary connections. Instead, choose those with USB-C ports.

Pre-thought, this transition will not be so bad. USB-C is a powerful technology that allows you to upgrade your device quickly. And since many products already use the USB-C connector, most of us already have a lot of cables, said Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum, a standard organization that works with companies like Apple, HP and Microsoft to develop USB. technology.

“This train has already left the station,” said Mr. said Ravencraft. He added that USB-C was designed to have a longer life, meaning that by 2026 it should still be a useful technology when the law is fully enacted.

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