Apple’s Lightning Connector may finally be dead. Thanks to European Union RegulatorsAll phones, tablets and cameras are required to use the USB-C charging stand, meaning the iPhone is dragged kicking and screaming to the adoption of the USB-C port.
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, reluctantly admitted that “we have no choiceBut to move away from a proprietary charger to the more universal USB-C plug. While we’re still a long way from a fully USB-C compatible iPhone, it’s never too early to get ready for the switch over and learn how to charge your phone when it happens.
The European Parliament confirms(Opens in a new window) that USB Type-C will become the new standard for portable devices, both for charging and data transfer, to reduce e-waste, provide faster charging speeds and give users the choice of a new device with or without charger.
Regulators also want to eliminate the “lock-in effect” that keeps users dependent on one company. For example, iPhone owners are currently dependent on Apple to provide them with Lightning Connector charging.
By mandating USB-C, customers have more choice when it comes to the power accessories they buy for their devices. You could buy one fast charger or a power bank from any company and it would be compatible with your device. The USB-C chargers those already out there would also work without the need for an adapter.
Why hasn’t Apple switched to USB-C yet?
When you buy a new iPhone, you only get one charging cable. (Credit: Apple)
Android devices, and even Apple’s own iPad, have embraced USB-C. Why doesn’t the iPhone have that? First of all, Apple still has some time before the mandate takes effect. Despite setting the new standard in October 2022, the mandate will not become enforceable until the end of 2024. But Apple has reason to resist the conversion before then.
While Apple has never directly stated that profit is the main driver to fight USB-C standardization, Apple has created its own. MFi Certification Program (Made for iPhone)(Opens in a new window), which regulates the quality of cables and accessories from third-party manufacturers and gives a sales commission to Apple. One can surmise that using USB-C would shut this program down and eliminate a valuable revenue stream.
Apple has also mentioned(Opens in a new window) that sticking to the Lightning port in the iPhone has more to do with the amount of waste that could potentially be created if millions of iPhone users are forced to throw those cables away. The company has already ditched the packaged power adapter and EarPods with new phones, starting with the iPhone 12, in the name of environmental awareness.
Today, only a Lightning to USB-C cable comes in a new iPhone box, meaning customers will have to use their old Lightning to USB-A adapters or buy new chargers from Apple. The company claims that many people already have power adapters and don’t need new ones to create a mess, but removing that power adapter, yet charging the same price for the phone, may be more of a cash grab for some than a sustainability measure.
When will Apple release the first USB-C iPhone?
EU rapporteur Agius Saliba Alex declares a USB-C charger the future of technology in Europe. (Credit: European Union)
As the EU mandate comes into effect at the end of 2024, Apple’s release schedule could mean the iPhone 16 will become the first USB-C iPhone. The iPhone 17 in September 2025 is also a possibility if Apple can get another model before the law takes effect.
But again, just because there’s an expiration date doesn’t mean Apple can’t release a USB-C iPhone before then. It should be noted that there is already a rumor that the iPhone 15 will be Apple’s first USB-C phone in 2023.
Before you get too excited, it’s important to note that this mandate only covers European Union countries. There is no regulation forcing Apple to make such a device in the US. The same goes for global customers outside the EU. However, it may ultimately make more sense for Apple financially and logistically to create a single, single-port iPhone model rather than a USB-C model for Europe and a Lightning port model for the rest of the world.
Prepare for a USB-C iPhone
Apple’s 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a USB-C port. (Credit: Molly Flores)
Now that it’s a solid assumption that a USB-C iPhone is at least one to two years away, you have time to prepare. However, since many android phonesheadphones, portable speakers, and other devices that support the standard, you may already have everything you need at home.
If you own certain iPad or MacBook models, the USB-C charger that came with your device will also work with your iPhone. These are the models with USB-C charging:
iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation or later)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later)
iPad Air (4th generation or later)
iPad mini (6th generation)
MacBook Pro introduced in 2016 or later
MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
Since current iPhone models come with a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box, it’s safe to assume that the USB-C iPhone will include a USB-C cable, which allows you to connect your phone to can connect a computer to attack.
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Apple’s USB-C chargers for its line of iPads should also charge a phone. (Credit: Apple)
If you don’t have any USB-C devices in your home (or don’t have extra cables lying around), you’ll need to purchase a USB-C power adapter and/or cable to charge your iPhone from a wall outlet. Apple already sells a number of USB-C power adapters and cables:
Since Apple’s current charging cables are Lightning to USB-C, it should be USB-C to USB-C when the switch happens. This may mean you need a dongle to fit in your laptop that may only have USB-A ports.
What about MagSafe and wireless charging?
Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack sticks to the back of the phone. (Credit: Steven Winkelman)
If you don’t want to mess with wire compatibility, many people have opted to charge their smartphones wirelessly. Allows you to place your phone on a wireless charging surface to start charging the device. Since the iPhone 12, MagSafe wireless chargers, such as those from Apple battery pack and Duo charger– can be magnetically attached to the back of your iPhone.
Wireless charging makes figuring out which cables connect to which adapters even less of an issue, but there are still reasons to have a working USB-C cable and adapter nearby.
While there are some wireless fast chargers on the market, a wired connection is generally faster across the board. You can also take advantage of Apple’s higher wattage power adapters specifically designed to charge your device faster.
Plus, wireless charging accessories can’t transfer data from one device to another, so you’ll want a cable to make an encrypted connection anyway. backup your iPhone to your computer. If you have an older home theater receiver or car stereo, you’ll also need to physically connect the two with a cable.
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