EU warns Apple not to limit iPhone features to MFi-certified USB-C cables


Apple is raising some subscription services costs for the first time.
Apple could find itself in hot water if it places limits on how iPhones work with non-MFi cables.
Photo: Josh Davidson/Cult of Mac

Ahead of Apple’s transition from Lightning ports to USB-C for its devices, the European Commission warned the company not to limit the functionality of charging cables that don’t carry Apple’s MFi certification.

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton reportedly sent a letter to Apple addressing rumors that iPhone charging and data-transfer speeds might be reduced when using non-MFI USB-C cables. Breton reminded Cupertino that such limitations could lead to iPhones being banned from the European market.

EU is not happy with rumors of Apple limiting USB-C speeds on non-MFi cables

An EU law that goes into effect at the end of 2024 mandates that consumer electronics utilize USB-C rather than proprietary ports. As a result, Apple reportedly will transition the iPhone to USB-C with this year’s lineup.

In his recent letter, Breton reportedly warned Apple not to undermine the intent of the law by allowing certain iPhone features to work only with MFI-certified cables.

“Devices that do not meet the requirements for the common charger will not be allowed on the EU market,” Breton wrote. The EU Commission also informed Apple about this requirement during a meeting earlier this year.

Leaks claim Apple could allow faster charging and higher data-transfer rates via USB-C cables that include the company’s proprietary MFi chip. Further, the company could optimize MFi-certified power bricks to fast-charge the upcoming iPhones. Such restrictions could encourage users to buy MFi cables and power adapters from Apple. And such a move would go against the USB-C protocol as well as the EU mandate. Both seek to set a universal standard for charging cables for smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices.

Apple still has more than a year to comply with the impending EU law. The European Commission plans to publish a guide for ensuring a “uniform interpretation of the legislation” by Q3 2023.

iPhone 15 and AirPods with USB-C coming later this year

Rumors indicate iPhone 15 Pro could support Thunderbolt over USB-C. Apple could limit Thunderbolt-based functionality on its iPhones when using a non-MFi cable. But it cannot block regular USB-C functionality when using non-MFi or non-Apple cables.

Besides iPhone, AirPods with USB-C charging cases and EarPods with USB-C connectors also reportedly have gone into mass production. They should launch alongside the new iPhones this September.

Source: Zeit Online


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.