Apple stops bundling chargers and headphones with all iPhones

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An Apple charger and headphones don;t with all its iPhones, no matter when they were released.
This is everything that comes in the box with an iPhone ordered today. There’s no charger or headphones.
Photo: Apple

Apple won’t include a wall charger or a pair of headphones with the upcoming iPhone 12 series. And it doesn’t stop there. The company no longer bundles these accessories with any handset ordered from the Apple Store. Even if they came in the box before.

Purchase an iPhone SE on Wednesday from the Apple Store, and the order page devotes a sizable block of space to “What’s in the Box.” And that’s just the handset and a USB-C to Lightning Cable. Nothing else.

A note from Apple on that page says “As part of our efforts to reach our environmental goals, iPhone SE no longer includes a power adapter or EarPods. Please use your existing Apple power adapter and headphones or buy these accessories separately.”

The same is true for the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR. Neither comes with either a power adapter or a pair of headphones, either.

Environmental move or cash grab?

Apple says it’s nixing these items because there’s a glut of them. During the iPhone 12 event, the company pointed out that over 700 million Lightning headphones already shipped. And Cupertino previously shipped over 2 billion Apple power adapters.

Not everyone believes that’s the real reason. Some have been quick to accuse Apple of ripping customers off by leaving out traditional accessories. But Lisa Jackson, Apple’s head of environmental initiatives, laid out her company’s reasoning at the iPhone 12 launch event. “We are removing these items from the iPhone box, which reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of precious materials.” The change also makes the iPhone box smaller, reducing greenhouse gases needed to ship these products.

It’s possible for both reasons to be valid. This change helps keep the price of iPhones down while also helping the environment.

How to charge your new iPhone

Not putting a wall adapter in the box won‘t be a problem for those upgrading from a previous iPhone. The Lightning cable and USB-A charger from that older model still work with the newer one.

And anyone who already has a USB-C charger can power their iPhone from it with the USB-C to Lightning Cable that now ships with all Apple handsets. Any MacBook charger will work. Or an iPad Pro charger.

Or this cable can be plugged into the USB-C port on a MacBook for charging.

Fans of wireless charging won‘t care about this change. Every iOS handset since the iPhone 8 can be replenished without the use of a cable at all.

Plus, plenty of Android devices come with USB-C chargers. Those making the jump to iOS might be able to keep the charger.

Only those that don’t fit into any of these categories need to buy a USB-C charger. These are easily available — even convenience stores sell them. You can pick one up from Apple, and the Apple Store has a range of third-party power adapters too. Or anyone who hasn’t embraced wireless charging might consider MagSafe in the iPhone 12 series the opportunity to do so.