Chinese students sue Apple for ditching iPhone chargers

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Original iPhone unboxing with charger
Apple no longer includes a charger or headphones with new iPhone models.
Photo: Juan Martín López CC

A group of students in China is suing Apple for no longer including chargers with its newest iPhone models. The lawsuit calls for Cupertino to cough up for charging adapters, breach of contract, and court fees.

Apple has already been fined by Brazil’s consumer protection agency since it stopped shipping power adapters with iPhone 12 last fall.

Apple sued for dropping iPhone chargers

Apple still includes a Lightning to USB-C cable in every iPhone box, but it no longer includes the power adapter or EarPods we used to get when bagging the latest iPhone models. The company says that’s for environmental reasons.

Not only does ditching chargers (and headphones) allow Apple to minimize its iPhone packaging, therefore cutting down on the environmental impact of shipping, it also means it has to produce fewer charging adapters.

This reduces carbon emissions and the use of precious materials, Apple says. It also reduces e-waste, with most iPhone buyers already in possession of a suitable charging adapter. But a new lawsuit says Apple’s claims are bogus.

Its plaintiffs, a group of students from Beijing and Shanghai, argue that Apple only ditched iPhone charging adapters to push its MagSafe charging accessories, which use a wireless charging standard that waste more energy.

They also say that the Lightning to USB-C cable Apple ships with iPhone is “not compatible with other chargers in the market,” Vice reports. Therefore, they could not charge their iPhone 12 units as advertised on Apple’s website.

Apple under fire

The lawsuit comes after Brazil’s consumer protection agency fined Apple almost $2 million earlier this selling iPhone 12 units without charging adapters. Many iPhone fans support the pressure Cupertino is now facing for its decision.

Meanwhile, the European Union has proposed regulation that could force all smartphone makers, including Apple, to make USB-C ports standard on all mobile devices to reduce waste and protect consumer interests.

One Apple representative pointed out that it isn’t the only smartphone-maker that has stopped bundling chargers with its devices. But the students argue that others in China are offering packages with and without the adapter included.

Apple and the students are now in the process of providing the court with more evidence after the case was presented at a competition for public interest lawsuits earlier this month.