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Here we go again: Current rumors suggest that Apple might be planning to throttle data and charging speeds on USB-C cables that don't have the MFi badge. The certification is Apple's way of ensuring devices and accessories are safe to use with iPhones. There is no official indication that it will hinder uncertified devices, but the European Commission isn't taking any chances.
In 2022, the EU enacted legislation requiring electronic devices supporting wired charging to come equipped with a USB-C port. While lawmakers didn't name Apple explicitly, it is the only OEM still hanging on to a proprietary charging system. Apple has until the end of next year to comply, but the company will likely switch from Lightning to USB-C with the upcoming iPhone 15 later this year.
However, reliable leaker, ShrimpApplePro tweeted in February that the tech titan is planning to throttle charging speeds and data transfer rates on USB-C cables unless they are certified MFi (made for iPhone). The rumor seemed credible since Apple has long had a chip in iPhones that detects whether or not an accessory is MFi-certified.
Cables w no MFI will be software limited in data and charging speed– ShrimpApplePro ðÂÂ¤ (@VNchocoTaco) February 28, 2023
A month later, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo confirmed that Apple is "optimizing" the speed of MFi chargers for the iPhone 15.
"I believe Apple will optimize the fast charging performance of MFi-certified chargers for the iPhone 15," Kuo wrote in a March blog post.
Yeah usb-c with MFI is happening– ShrimpApplePro ðÂÂ¤ (@VNchocoTaco) February 28, 2023
Foxconn already in mass production accessories like EarPods and cables pic.twitter.com/1ka9CRlY93
Apparently, the European Commission pays attention to rumor and speculation because Commissioner Thierry Breton reportedly penned a letter to Apple cautioning the company that it is not permissible to restrict the functionality of USB-C cables. Failure to comply with this requirement would make iPhones ineligible for sale in the EU when the new law goes into effect on December 28, 2024. According to Die Zeit, German press agency DPA, who obtained a copy of the letter, mentioned that the EU had already advised Apple about this matter during a meeting held in mid-March.
However, Apple has over a year to ignore Breton's warning. In the meantime, ShrimpApplePro claims that the company already has MFi-certified USB-C chargers and cables in mass production with Foxconn. Theoretically, Cupertino can spend the last quarter of 2023 and nearly all of 2024 pushing its MFi chargers while throttling uncertified cables. Then when the deadline hits, a simple – probably already prepared – software update can go out to EU users that lifts the restriction on uncertified cables.
As always, take this with a grain of salt. Everything, including Breton's letter, assumes the rumors are valid. Apple has not acknowledged receiving the warning nor officially announced plans to throttle non-MFi devices. That said, it's not outside Apple's playbook to pull a stunt like that.
Image credit: iPhone USB-C by Yalcin Sonat