No charger in the iPhone 12 box will lead to tons of e-waste

USB-C chargers
USB-C chargers (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The iPhone 12 comes with 5G, but for the first time, it doesn't come with a charger or headphones in the box. There is a cable, but it's Lightning to USB-C, so if you have a MacBook you're going to finally be happy. Unfortunately, that old charger Tim said you could probably use doesn't have a USB-C port, so you're going to have to toss it and spend another $50 bucks on a new one.

Don't get cocky about having a charger in your box. All phone makers are free to follow Apple's lead now.

Putting anything extra inside the box eats into profit and all phone makers have been looking for a way to maximize profits since, well, forever. It makes sense that Apple did it, even though it inconveniences the consumer initially. However, now that Apple has done it and once the fuss dies down (and it will) they can do the same thing on future releases and get a lot less backlash for it.

Don't believe me? Remember when every phone came with a set of earbuds? I rest my case.

The problem is the way Apple dropped the charger out of the box. There are over a billion iPhone users and most of them have an Apple-certified charging brick with a USB type A (that's the big one) port and a cable that plugs into it with a lightning connector on the other end.

Apple iPhone12 pro

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

That's not going to work with your power brick. You either have to buy an adapter (make sure it's Apple certified!) or buy a new power brick with a USB C port on it. That's not as big of a problem as people like to make it out to be because there are a lot of great high-output USB C wall warts available at great prices. You could also toss the new cable into the junk drawer and use an old cable to charge your iPhone 12 slower than it could charge with new stuff.

The right choice is just to buy a new charger and produce some of that e-waste Apple claims to hate so much.

Even though it'll save Apple some money, these choices all seem really silly. Plus, once all the cables and wall warts are tossed into the bin, new cables and wall warts that need materials coming from countries with practices like child labor or forced servitude dance in to take their place. It sure seems like that two million tons of carbon credits Apple touted are used up. You're back to polluting the planet and dealing with "conflict" metals and elements mined from what amount to African labor camps.

Something tells me we won't hear much about that at the next iPhone launch. But you can bet that we'll all say the same things when Samsung does it. Then we'll buy it anyway.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.