Apple reportedly wants India to exempt older iPhones from USB-C charging rules

The company says news regulations could make it miss production targets.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

Apple is reportedly lobbying India to delay the implementation of a rule that requires all smartphones sold in the country to have a USB-C charging port. While Apple has already started shifting away from the Lightning port in the iPhone 15 lineup (and other products), the regulation differs from a similar one enacted in the European Union in that India may press Apple to switch to a USB-C port on older iPhones.

Other manufacturers, including Samsung, have agreed to India's plan to have a universal USB-C charging port on their smartphones by June 2025, which is six months after the EU's deadline (such OEMs have long been using USB-C charging ports anyway). Apple, however, is said to have pressed India to delay the implementation of the rule, or at least to exempt older iPhones from the requirement.

According to Reuters, Apple executives told Indian officials late last month that were the rule to be applied to older iPhones, the company would not be able to meet production targets as set out by the country's production-linked incentive (PLI) program. Under this scheme, India grants electronic manufacturers financial incentives to make new investments and generate incremental phone sales each year.

Apple suppliers such as Foxconn are said to have taken advantage of the program to boost iPhone production in India. Estimates suggest that between 12 and 14 percent of iPhones made this year will be manufactured in India. That proportion could rise to as much as 25 percent next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Apple is said to have told officials that it can't change the design of earlier iPhones to include a USB-C port. The company reportedly argued that, unless it gains an exemption for pre-iPhone 15 models, it will need 18 months beyond the end of next year (i.e. until mid-2026) to comply with the regulation. That's presumably to give Apple enough time to phase out Lightning ports on older iPhones, which Indian consumers tend to prefer since they fall in price when the company releases new models.