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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
Jerry Hildenbrand

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.

15 Comments
  • Only Apple has the courage to remove the charger from the box. God bless that company!
  • I picked up an iPhone SE for my daughter. The charger was a tiny pitiful charger that can barely charge totally drained phone. I gave her one of my old BlackBerry chargers. If that's the kind of crap Apple puts into a box, getting rid of it will be good for the environment.
  • #Hotgarbage imo, pretty stupid.
  • BTW, everytime Apple "removes" something, it's because they have the foresight and guts to be the 1st mover from floppies on an iMac to the audio port a few years ago. THEY ARE ALWAYS CORRECT.
  • Don't forget the cd /dvd drive too. Everything Apple does is already thought /planned way before. Other manufacturers just follow whatever Apple does bec they always been the market leader.
  • Apple is not omnipotent. They are not always "first" to change things or add features nor does the fact that they popularize certain trends means "it's the right move." All it means is that they are popular, which isn't a surprise.
  • Don't think they are "correct"... Just that most people don't care, the ones that do can't do anything about it, just buy the product and pay more for adapters and accessories and keep using. Ihpone users like their phones.. Take away the earphone plug... They don't like it but what are they going to do? Switch to another phone that they don't like? Just suck it up and get new earphones. Doesn't mean Apple is "correct"
  • Not sure how including a charger would reduce E-waste. Even if they include a USB-C charger, the old charger is still obsolete. Personally, I'm okay with no charger. It's nice that it's included, but with so many different USB powered devices now, I prefer to buy multiport chargers to reduce the clutter. Some of my power strips also have usb ports (one of these works really well with my entertainment center as my harmony remote base and nintendo mini systems all use usb power). Not to mention the charging bricks from different manufacturers don't always fit nicely with each other on power strips requiring unused outlets. I have two 25 watt Samsung chargers that I don't use regularly, but I keep them around in case I need to charge up my Note phone quickly.
  • Bull. I have an iPhone XR, haven’t unpacked the charger, cable or headphones. I charge it on the same IKEA pad I used on S10e before it. On both I use some ancient Anker cable I have from no idea which phone. And I have tons of Anker bricks and IKEA microUSB, lightning and usb C cables around, I’ll never unpack a cable again probably, including the iPhone 12 C to Lightning cable, should I decide to sell a kidney and get that phone.
  • You would think that they would have included the adapter in the box. A fraction of the cost of a charger, and it guarantees backwards compatibility.
  • I don’t understand this article, Obviously if someone has a USB A iPhone charger they also already have a USB A - Lightening cable? They don’t have to buy another brick just so you can use the new cable unless you are that stupid lol
  • Indeed, was going to say same thing. Majority of normal users will just use their old charger and cable. They will not know or care if charges slower. No big deal.
  • If you had an iPhone 11 you do have a USB-C charger. If not, a brand new Apple 20W USB-C charger is $19, not $50. (look it up). If you are super cheap, you can get a USB-C to A adapter for $5 at Amazon and use the cable they provide with the USB-A charger you have (though it will be slower). If you had an iPhone before 11, then you have a USB-A charger and a USB-A to lightning cable, so you are covered. This isn't that big a deal for the vast majority of consumers, unless you weren't planning on buying an iPhone 12 in the first place, apparently.
  • You don't even consider that with the iPhone 13 or 14 they are going to have faster and faster charging... That's the trend now... So the 50$ charger you are sugar coating for us to swallow for the iPhone 12 will be basically useless for future phones (meaning they will charge but slower than if you had a the proper charger with the higher watts). So, if you buy the iPhone 13 with super extra fast 35 watt ultra charging, then you will have to buy a new charger (since the iPhone 12 uses 27watts)... It's all just an apple scam to make more money. Thy should have provided a 50watt charger now that would last for a few generations increase in charging tech and not provide charger for those few future phones... Then when the iPhone 18 comes out with 100watt charging, then provide a charger for the iPhone 18 that will handle a couple generations down... Too much crystal ball predicttions there but at least it wouldn't make Apple seem like complete asshats as they are now.
  • By 2025, Apple will sell you only the motherboard, then, you must purchase the rest of the parts, and put it together in order to have a complete iPhone. They are all crooks and we don't care. I'll keep my iphone 6 until it doesn't work anymore, before I move to i7.