This is why Apple’s charger switch is such a big hassle

This is why Apple’s charger switch is such a big hassle


Apple discontinued its Lightning charger on Tuesday, exactly 11 years to the day it was first announced.

This effort marks a milestone moment for the company with the adoption of USB-C, a universal charging system. This is noteworthy not only because Apple has been resistant to doing this for years but because it is about to make the charging process much easier for its customers.

But, as with most things, there’s a catch: Switching to a global standard means Apple is giving up control of its wired charging system, and determining good chargers from bad ones won’t be clear to many consumers.

At its iPhone 15 event, the company Announce All of its next-generation smartphones will launch with USB-C charging, as will the latest version of the AirPods Pro. Although Apple has previously switched its iPads and MacBooks to USB-C charging, it has remained resistant to making the change to the iPhone until now.

This switch comes less than a year after the European Union voted to approve legislation requiring smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers and other small devices to support USB-C charging by 2024. The first law of its kind aims to reduce the number of chargers and cables. Which consumers have to deal with when purchasing a new device, and to allow users to mix and match devices and chargers even if they are produced by different manufacturers.

Now Apple customers can use the same USB-C chargers to power their iPhones, iPads, and Macs — no longer having to search for the right charger for each device. Charging can also be done between devices, such as connecting a low-battery iPhone to a fully charged iPad, or similarly between different brands.

“This is arguably the biggest iPhone design disruption in many years, but it’s actually not a dramatic move,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.

Last year, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Greg Joswiak, male The value and ubiquity of the Lightning charger, designed to charge devices faster, but he noted that “obviously we will have to comply” with the EU mandate.

“We do not have the option, as we do around the world, to comply with local laws, but we believe the approach would have been better environmentally and better for our customers if they did not have a government. [have] That perspective, Joswiak said at the time.

The EU’s decision is part of a larger effort to tackle e-waste overall, but could it generate more in the short term as they phase out their Lightning cables. Although Apple has expressed environmental concerns about what happens to its older Lightning chargers, it has financial reasons to push back on the change as well.

Apple introduced the Lightning charger alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012, replacing the current 30-pin docking connector with one that enables faster charging and has a reversible design. It has also sparked a related accessories business, requiring users to purchase a $30 Lightning adapter to connect the device to older docks, alarm clocks and speaker systems.

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“For Apple, it was all about controlling its own ecosystem,” said David McQueen, director of ABI Research. “Apple makes good money selling Lightning cables and many related accessories.”

Nick Currie/AFP/Getty Images

The new Apple iPhone 15 Pro, with an EU-ordered USB-C charger, is displayed among other new products during a launch event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, on September 12, 2023.

It also takes a cut of third-party accessories and cables that pass through its Made For iPhone program. “Moving to USB Type C would remove that level of control because USB-C is a more open ecosystem,” McQueen said.

Apple is now selling a new $29 USB-C to Lightning adapter to let people connect existing Lightning accessories to a USB-C-enabled iPhone or iPad to charge or share data. Likewise, Apple introduced a $29 dongle in 2012 to connect the iPhone 5 — the first phone with a Lightning charger — to older docks, alarm radios, and speaker systems.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An attendee looks at the all-new Apple iPhone 15 Pro during an Apple event on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California.

The move to USB-C is unlikely to be an incentive for people to upgrade, but it may impact some consumers who have resisted the iPhone due to charging limitations, according to Thomas Howson, vice president of Forrester Research.

Given that many mobile devices already use USB-C, including Apple’s iPads and MacBooks, access to charging cords shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive.

But fakes abound, and some USB-C chargers are safer than others. Some may save a lot of energy, others not enough. Some can regulate the flow of electricity and data to your phone – others can’t. Among what was confirmed on CNN Top recommendations for USB-C chargers From major brands, including Anker, Belkin, Apple, Amazon, and Google.

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“Given how widely USB-C is used in other devices, it’s hard to imagine that customers will be completely impressed with this switch, and in the long run, it will likely benefit them, with a universal charging system having some very clear features,” Wood said. “Positive aspects.”

Apple also said that the custom USB-C controller will allow transfer speeds up to 20 times faster than the iPhone 15 Pro’s USB-2 technology.

Stopping the use of a Lightning cable can generate short-term damage A wave of electronic waste While iPhone users throw their useless Lightning cables into the drawer. But Apple told CNN it has a “robust” recycling program where you can bring in used chargers and cables. It’s also possible to look to a local e-waste recycling center or Best Buy store for eco-friendly options.

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