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The accessories Apple removed from the iPhone 12 box are now cheaper than ever

Published Oct 15th, 2020 7:31AM EDT
iPhone 12 Accessories
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • Apple no longer bundles free chargers and EarPods with iPhones, whether it’s the new iPhone 12 series or the older iPhone versions that are still available in Apple stores.
  • Apple cut the accessories from the iPhone boxes to meet its environmental goals and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Apple now sells cheaper USB-C chargers and EarPods in stores than before, with each accessory getting a $10 price cut.

Apple launched the iPhone 12 series during a virtual event earlier this week, confirming most of the rumors that preceded the event. Apple also revealed that the iPhone 12 phones would not ship with the usual USB charger and EarPods earphones in the box, just like the rumors said. The move allows Apple to reduce the size of the box and reduce carbon emissions. Apple expects the changes to cut 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions every year, “equivalent to removing nearly 450,000 cars from the road.” The measures apply to all iPhones, including the older iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and the new iPhone SE that Apple still sells.

During the press conference, Apple explained that there are more than 2 billion iPhone chargers in the world and more than 700 million EarPods pairs. Most iPhone buyers will not be affected by Apple’s decision to cut waste. Even those coming from Android to iPhone will own USB-C chargers working with the USB-C-to-Lightning charging cable that ships with every iPhone. Lots of other chargers, including USB-C power adapters that ship with laptops like Apple’s own MacBooks or tablets like the iPad, are also compatible with the iPhones. But Apple will continue to stock chargers and wired earphones in stores, which are now much cheaper than before.

People who buy their first smartphone ever will need to purchase a separate charger if that smartphone is one of the iPhone versions that Apple sells. They’ll also have to buy their own headphones, whether they’re EarPods, AirPods, or any kind of wired or wireless headphones.

The 20W USB-C Power Adapter that Apple sells costs $19, or $10 cheaper than before. You’re not getting a free charger, so you’d still have to pay $19 extra. However, the charger that usually ships with the cheaper iPhones is a 5W one. The 20W power adapter will recharge the battery much faster than before.

The EarPods with Lightning Connector also retails for $19, after a $10 discount. These earphones would come free of charge with every iPhone, and they’re the kind of earphones some people will want to buy.

If you need both accessories, you’ll end up paying an extra $38 for them. That goes on top of the price you pay for the new iPhone, and it will be an inconvenience for some people. But it’s still $20 cheaper than before.

Most people do own plenty of wireless chargers, which is really the only must-have charger from the two. When it comes to headphones, there are plenty of more attractive alternatives, most of them of the wireless variety. And with Black Friday almost here, you can expect plenty of deals on Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro, as well as other wireless earphones from the competition.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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