French iPhone 12 buyers get free EarPods — in a ridiculously huge box

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Free iPhone headphones are still a thing in France.
In France, the Apple Store keeps giving free headphones with every new iPhone sold this autumn.
Screenshot: Apple

The Apple Store stopped bundling free headphones with all new iPhones sold this autumn. But that’s not true in France. In that one country, buyers still get a pair of EarPods with their purchase… in a relatively enormous box.

But French consumers don’t get a wall charger in the box. That’s true for every iPhone buyer.

Apple no longer includes a pair of EarPods with Lightning Connector in every iPhone box. That was announced when at the iPhone 12 launch event, but many people might not realize the change also includes the iPhone SE, iPhone 11 and iPhone XR.

Free iPhone headphones live on in France

The exception is France. A law passed there in 2010 requires all phones to come with a headset. The idea is to ensure users have access to a way to make calls without pressing the phone to the side of their head. Lawmakers were apparently concerned about cell phones causing brain cancer, though a decade later there’s no evidence of this.

A reviewer based in France, TheiCollection, posted a video showing that the iPhone 12 series comes with the EarPods headset in a separate box. So Apple didn’t redesign the packaging for its latest handset just for French buyers.

What’s surprising is that the headphones come in a box that’s larger than the one for the iPhone 12. Especially as one of the goals of not giving EarPods to every iPhone buyer is to reduce packaging, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions in the delivery process.

Only in France does an iPhone 12 unboxing include free headphones.
Look at the huge box French iPhone buyers get a tiny pair of EarPods in.
Screenshot: TheiCollection

This isn’t a European Union law. Just France. It seems this is one country is the only one on Earth where iPhones still come with EarPods.