Apple Wants to Know What You’re Doing with Your USB Charger

Apple iPhone USB C Fast Charger Cable and Power Brick Credit: Abolukbas / Shutterstock
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Amidst recent reports that the iPhone 12 won’t include any accessories this year, it looks like Apple has been sending out multiple surveys to recent iPhone buyers to find out exactly what they do with their USB power adapters.

While it’s unclear how widespread the survey is, but so far the reports have been mostly coming from Brazil, suggesting that it may be limited to that country at this point.

Two Brazilian users on Twitter, @Gunstaxl and @bedabb both shared Tweets of the surveys they received, which seemed to ask slightly different questions.

The surveys were also personalized based on the model of iPhone they each had previously purchased, with one making reference to an iPhone XR and the other to a much older iPhone 7 Plus.

It’s not clear whether these users only replaced these models recently, but the survey definitely appears to be targeted at those users who already owned an iPhone and bought a new one more recently.

Specifically, it seems to focus on what they did with their previous iPhone charger, making it clear that it’s referring to the USB brick and not the Lightning cable, with options that include:

  1. Gave it to a family member or friend
  2. Recycle it
  3. Lost or misplaced it
  4. No longer working or not working well
  5. Still using it at home
  6. Still using it outside of my home (e.g., work, school, or other location)
  7. Still have it, but don’t use it
  8. Sold it or traded it in with the iPhone

The survey also appeared to include other questions about how the charger was used prior to replacing the iPhone, and how the current charger is used as well.

What This Could Mean

On the one hand, this suggests that Apple may not yet have made up its mind about removing the charger from the iPhone packaging this year, although with the product launch likely only about 2-3 months away, it seems very late in the game for the decision to not have already been made.

In fact, knowing Apple, it’s just as possible that the company might just be looking for some statistics to back up the decision it’s already made. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Phil Schiller take the stage in the fall and once again talk about Apple’s “courage” in removing the USB charging brick from the box, citing surveys about how the majority of iPhone buyers don’t use the USB chargers that Apple supplies anyway.

To be clear, there are some very valid reasons why removing the charger would be a good idea, not the least of which is reducing Apple’s environmental impact. This would be accomplished not merely by avoiding e-waste, which is already a big concern among European regulators, but also by reducing packaging size and weight, which would also significantly reduce shipping costs.

Many users already have adapters from previous iPhone models that they could continue using, while more users are also opting for wireless chargers these days, often leaving the Apple-supplied USB power adapter sitting in the original packaging anyway. This is especially true as Apple continues to provide only a basic 5W adapter. By contrast, Apple is rumoured to be working on a 20-watt adapter that some have expected could ship with the iPhone 12, but it’s equally possible that Apple may simply sell that one separately.

If Apple does remove the USB power adapter from the iPhone 12 packaging this year — which is by no means a sure thing yet — it’s also possible that the company could adopt some kind of interim measure to allow users who actually want an adapter to obtain one for less than the full retail price when also purchasing a new iPhone, or possibly even use it as a way to encourage users to opt for a wireless charger instead, which would help pave the way for Apple’s completely wireless iPhone.

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