EU sends Apple stark warning over USB-C charging on new iPhones

The Apple iPhone 14 charging on a green background
(Image credit: Apple)

We’re all but certain that Apple will be equipping the iPhone 15 and its siblings with USB-C charging ports come September, and a new European Union (EU) directive suggests the company will be forced to level the playing field when it comes to charging speeds. 

The tech giant is reportedly planning to implement MFi (‘Made for iPhone’) certification on its range of USB-C accessories, which had led many – including us – to speculate that these Apple-produced chargers would enable faster charging speeds on the iPhone 15 than third-party chargers from other manufacturers. 

The EU, however, has warned Apple against imposing such limitations. According to Germany newspaper Die Zeit, EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton has told the company that it will prevent iPhones from being sold in member countries (such as France, Germany and Spain) if it attempts to skirt around the EU’s new USB-C charging policy.

“Devices that do not meet the requirements for the uniform charger are not approved on the EU market,” Breton reportedly wrote in a letter to Apple, having already reminded the company of the new rules in March.

Owing to the significant amounts of electronic waste caused by unused chargers and the inconvenience suffered by Android and iPhone users who need different cables for different devices, European policymakers have been keen to implement a single mobile charging standard for more than a decade.

A Lightning charger and USB-C charger next to an iPhone 14

Apple must add USB-C charging to all new iPhones sold in EU countries from 2024 (Image credit: Shutterstock / charnsitr)

The EU finalized its common charger regulation in October 2022, with companies – including Apple – expected to include universal USB-C charging ports on all new technology products sold in EU countries from the end of 2024. 

As such, there’s no legal obligation for Apple to follow the rules before that date, meaning the iPhone 15 line – and possibly even the iPhone 16 line – may still arrive with charging ports optimized for Apple-produced accessories. 

That sounds like good news, but since Apple no longer includes chargers in the box with iPhone purchases, you’d almost certainly have to fork out extra cash for one of the company’s proprietary charging accessories if you want to get the most from your iPhone 15. 

To be clear: if Apple does decide to go its own way until 2024, you’ll still be able to use third-party USB-C chargers to power your iPhone 15, but these accessories won’t work their magic quite as quickly as comparable first-party chargers bought directly from Apple.

That said, it wouldn’t be a great look for Apple to knowingly circumvent legislation that it knows is coming into effect in the near future, so we’re expecting the company to swallow its pride – or rather, tone down its desire for profit – with the iPhone 15 line. 

We’ll be keeping abreast of all the latest iPhone 15 news, rumors and leaks as and when they surface, so stay tuned to TechRadar for the most up-to-date info on what's likely to be 2023’s hottest smartphone launch.

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.