You’ll No Longer Get a Free Charger or EarPods with a New iPhone (But Apple’s Giving Us a Small Break)

Apple iPhone USB C Fast Charger Cable and Power Brick Credit: Abolukbas / Shutterstock
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Although you won’t be getting a charger or EarPods with your iPhone anymore — a change that Apple has applied even to the older iPhone models that it’s still selling — the good news is that if you really do in fact need them, Apple is making it more affordable to buy them separately.

Immediately following yesterday’s release of the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, Apple has dropped the price of both its charging adapters and its EarPods with Lightning Connector by $10 each.

Apple’s EarPods with Lightning Connector, which previously sold for $29 each, are now listed on Apple’s online store for only $19.

And although Apple has discontinued the 18-watt power adapter that it debuted last year, and formerly included with the iPhone 11 Pro, it’s replaced it with a new 20W USB-C Power Adapter that’s also selling for $19, which is a $10 price drop from the 18-watt version that it just replaced.

Of course, while these types of accessories used to come for free with every new iPhone, Apple’s stance is that the vast majority of iPhone buyers didn’t really need them, and to be fair, they’re almost certainly right on that count.

While casual iPhone users may have gone with the EarPods simply because they were in the box, it’s fair to say that a great many more preferred to use their own favourite headphones. Those who actually used the free EarPods weren’t likely to try and sell them with their used iPhone when upgrading, and those who never needed them in the first place.

The situation with chargers for Apple was even weirder however, since with the sole exception of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max last year, Apple has been including 5-watt USB-A chargers in the iPhone packaging for almost ten years, despite the fact that iPhones have supported 10-watt charging since 2014, and Apple introduced USB-C fast charging in 2017. This means that users with the included adapter were stuck with slower charging, while savvy iPhone owners tossed the 5W charger aside and went out and bought a faster charger anyway.

Unfortunately for many iPhone buyers, however, Apple is now only including a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box for all of the iPhone models it’s still selling — from the $399 iPhone SE right up to the $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max. While this is a good step for users who want to take advantage of the fast charging capabilities that all of these models support, there’s a very good chance that the majority of the “two billion chargers” that Apple’s environmental head Lisa Jackson cited yesterday are in fact older style USB-A chargers.

In other words, some new iPhone owners may find themselves needing to actually buy a new charger for the first time in years, although of course if they’re upgrading from an older iPhone, it’s a safe bet that they still have at least one USB-A to Lightning cable handy, and of course this will still work with the new iPhones.

Still, USB-C is the way ahead, and not only is Apple making it more reasonable to jump into 20W fast charging with a $19 adapter, but you’ll almost certainly be able to find even cheaper options online — just be sure you’re buying legitimate accessories that have the proper certifications to industry standards, as counterfeits can be extremely dangerous.

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