Apple is removing the power adapter and EarPods from every iPhone box

  • Apple confirmed during its iPhone 12 event on Tuesday that the new handsets would ship without power adapters and EarPods in the box.
  • The move is part of Apple’s push to cut carbon emissions and improve the environment. By removing the accessories, Apple can cut the iPhone packaging by 70% and ship more iPhone 12 stock on the same pallet.
  • It’s not just the iPhone 12 that loses the AC charger and EarPods. The change also applies to iPhone SE, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11, which are now sold in compact boxes that only contain the charging cable.

The iPhone 12 is official, as Apple confirmed many of the rumors that had been circulating online all year. In fact, most of the rumors that made their way to the web this week came to pass on stage. One of the leaks that may have upset some Apple fans stated that the iPhone 12 series would ship without power adapters and EarPods in the box. Then the iPad Air and Apple Watch 6 event came around, and Apple revealed that none of its Watches would get chargers going forward.

At the time, I said Apple’s environmental priorities were a clear indication that the iPhone 12 wouldn’t get chargers either. Apple confirmed my suspicions on stage on Tuesday. None of the iPhone 12 models will come with a power adapter or headphones. But it doesn’t stop there.

None of the other iPhones that Apple still sells will have adapters or EarPods in the box either.

Apple made a big deal about the environment during the iPhone 12 presentation as well. Lisa Jackson spoke from the rooftop of Apple’s headquarters to explain the company’s recent moves.

Apple plans to reach net-zero climate impact by 2030, including manufacturing supply chain and product life. The new iPhones feature plenty of recycled materials — 99% recycled tungsten, 98% recycled rare earth materials, 100% recycled tin in the solder, and 35% recycled plastics in several components. The magnets inside the iPhone are made 100% of recycled rare elements.

Apple is removing the AC adapter and EarPods from the iPhone 12 boxes as well. The move serves its environmental endeavors but also helps save money on a device that is more expensive to make, thanks in part to the screen and 5G upgrades.

As a result, the iPhone box is a lot smaller now, and Apple can fit 70% more products on a shipping pallet. A Lightning-to-USB-C charger will still come in the box, and it will work with all USB-C chargers out there, including the ones you might be using to recharge your MacBook, PC, or Android device.

“These changes will cut over 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, equivalent to removing nearly 450,000 cars from the road per year,” Apple said in a press release.

But Apple’s decision to remove the AC adapter and EarPods applies to all iPhones across the board.

iPhone 12
Apple’s 2020 iPhone lineup includes iPhone SE, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro. Image source: Apple Inc.

As seen in the image above, Apple now sells a bunch of iPhones, starting at $399 for the iPhone SE. The more you’re willing to pay, the better the iPhone package you get. Well, technically, the $399 iPhone SE has a faster processor and a better camera than the $499 iPhone XR, as the iPhone SE is basically an iPhone 11 packed in an iPhone 8 body.

But regardless of how much you’re paying, you’re not going to get a free charger and EarPods. The “What’s in the Box” section found on the page of any iPhone model that you can buy from will tell you that you get the iPhone and the same USB-C-to-Lightning cable, alongside a note. Here’s what the iPhone XR page reads:

As part of our efforts to reach our environmental goals, iPhone XR no longer includes a power adapter or EarPods. Please use your existing Apple power adapter and headphones or buy these accessories separately.

Apple links to its environment page in the process where it lists its goals.

During the event, Apple said there are more than 2 billion Apple chargers in the world and more than 700 million EarPods. The last thing loyal iPhone buyers need is another pair of EarPhones they’re not going to use, or a 5W charger they’re not going to take out of the box. Android users who make the switch probably have their own chargers around the house that would work with the iPhone cable. The only people who might be affected by the change are those who buy their first smartphones.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he’s not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.