iPhone 12 ditches charger — Apple defends controversial decision

iPhone 12 Magsafe
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 12 is one of Apple's biggest phone upgrades in years, but it also ditches two accessories customers have gotten out of the box for more than a decade: EarPods headphones and a dedicated charging block.

Apple briefly explained the reasoning for this move at the iPhone 12 event earlier this week, but the company's VP of iPhone marketing Kaiann Drance just added further context to Apple's decision.

Speaking to ABC News contributor Becky Worley on Good Morning America, Drance explained that the decision to drop EarPods and the charging block came from a combination of sustainability concerns and the fact that many iPhone users already own these accessories.

"People often already have all that, it's sitting around in their house," said Drance when asked about the move. "Maybe they have multiple ones. It was kind of not the right thing to do in terms of the larger environmental goals."

Apple spent a decent chunk of time talking about these environmental goals at this week's Hi, Speed event. The company aims to eventually make its products and packaging out of 100% recycled materials. 

The removal of EarPods and a charging block has made the iPhone box smaller, which Apple says will allow the company to get 70% more units on a single shipping pallet to reduce shipping-related emissions. These steps all go towards Apple's ultimate goal of its products being completely carbon neutral by 2030.

That's an admirable goal, though Apple's recent change to the iPhone's included accessories does come with a caveat. While the iPhone 12 does include a new high-speed USB-C to Lightning cable, you'll need a specific USB-C charging block in order to use it. 

If you don't already have one of these from your iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, you'll have to buy a 20W USB-C Power Adapter for an extra $19. There's a good chance the iPhone charging adapter you own is an older USB-A model.

If you decide to go the wireless charging route and opt for a MagSafe adapter, that will cost. you $39. That gives you 15W of power.

While it ditches some long-standing pack-ins, the iPhone 12 is shaping up to be Apple's most feature-rich handset yet. It's the first iPhone to support 5G connectivity, packs a blazing fast A14 Bionic processor, and includes some serious camera upgrades — especially on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models.

We look forward to putting Apple's new phones through their paces — including the charging times — so stay tuned for our full reviews.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.