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Actually, there is an iPhone 12 that comes with free EarPods

Published Oct 22nd, 2020 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 12 EarPods
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro ship without free chargers and EarPods in the box. None of the iPhones that Apple sells come with complementary accessories.
  • But there is one exception to Apple’s new rule, and it applies to a whole country: France.
  • Local regulators require smartphone makers to bundle accessories with phones to limit exposure to radio waves, and Apple has to comply.
  • It turns out Apple has not designed different retail packaging for France. Instead, it uses a slightly bigger box to bundle the two products.

Rumors that preceded the iPhone 12 launch event said that the 2020 iPhones would be the first to ship without free chargers and EarPods in the box, which would be a first from Apple. Then the Apple Watch event came in mid-September. Apple revealed that none of the wearables would have power adapters in the box, foreshadowing a similar announcement for the iPhone 12. Apple then made it all official last week, when it confirmed the iPhone 12 units would have slimmer boxes, which will allow Apple to increase the efficiency of shipping and cut down on carbon emissions. By removing the charger and EarPods from the iPhone box, Apple created a slimmer package, as seen above. And it’s not just the iPhone 12 phones that will ship in significantly smaller boxes. The move applies to all iPhones across the board, including the iPhone SE, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 that Apple still stocks. However, it turns out that not all iPhones are losing the free perks, and there is a way to buy an iPhone 12 and get free EarPods.

Removing the charger from the iPhone box will not be a problem for most people who already own smartphones. Many still have chargers that work with USB-C cables, and they’ll work with the iPhones. Older iPhone power adapters are also good, as long as you have the right USB-A charging cable for them.

The same goes for EarPods. The old ones still work, as do any other Lightning-based wired headphones. AirPods and other wireless earbuds also work with any iPhone.

Apple is no doubt saving money by not offering the accessories for free, and both the power adapter and the EarPods are available in stores and online, priced at $19 each, or $10 cheaper than before.

iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 and all iPhones sold in France ship with free EarPods, according to local law. Image source: YouTube

Whether they want free EarPods or not, iPhone buyers in French will get them in the box. As MacRumors explains, French law mandates that all smartphone makers provide an accessory to limit the exposure to radioelectric waves. As a result, the free EarPods will ship with all iPhones sold in France, not just the iPhone 12 versions.

But how will Apple package the iPhone and EarPods together, given the tiny new iPhone 12 box above? French YouTuber TheiCollection unboxed the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, and we have the answer for it.

It turns out Apple has not designed a different retail box for iPhones sold in France. Instead, Apple uses a bigger box for both devices. The EarPods sit at the bottom of the bigger box, and you’ll see them immediately after taking out the iPhone 12 box, as seen in the image above.

The French iPhone boxes are a lot thicker as a result, as seen below.

iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 retail box is placed in a slightly thicker box, with the EarPods found on the bottom on the larger retail package. Image source: YouTube

The full iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro unboxing video follows below, but make sure you turn on the subtitles if you don’t speak French.

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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