You can get the iPhone 12 with EarPods — but there's a catch

Apple EarPods
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has come under fire following the iPhone 12 launch, after it became clear that the phones wouldn’t have a charging block or a pair of EarPods. Except in one country where things are a little bit different.

There’s no way to get an iPhone 12 with the charger in the box, but you can get a pair of EarPods, provided you buy the phone in France.

As spotted by MacRumors, the French Apple store is still bundling iPhone 12 handsets with a pair of EarPods. Naturally it’s not because Apple has any affinity for France, but because of a French law that says Apple has to.

According to French law, all smartphones have to include a “hands-free kit” suitable for children under the age of 14, in order to protect them from any possible risk of electromagnetic radio waves. Apparently this law was put in place as a precautionary measure, apparently since the risk of exposing developing brains to electromagnetic waves are not clearly known. 

iphone 12 earpods

(Image credit: Apple)

Failing to provide a hands-free kit is also punishable by a criminal fine of €75,000.

Apple’s official reasoning for not including power bricks or EarPods with the iPhone 12 is environmental. It claims a lot of customers already have those accessories in their house, so including them “was kind of not the right thing to do in terms of the larger environmental goals.” It also means the iPhone 12 packaging can be made smaller.

Of course there is some scepticism there. Obviously Apple saves money by not including those products for free, and stands to gain extra sales from people who don’t have them. Specifically with the USB-C charging block, since those were only ever bundled with the iPhone 11 range, and older charging blocks have a USB-A port. So they aren’t compatible with the iPhone 12’s bundled USB-C to Lighting cable.

There’s no way to get an iPhone 12 that includes charging brick, as far as we know, but if you must get yourself a pair of wired EarPods without having to pay $19/£19 all you need to do is move to France and buy your phone there.

A new 20W USB-C charging block is going to cost you the same price, no matter where you live.

While such changes in bundled box contents might annoy some Apple fans, at least the iPhone 12 range is promising a significant upgrade over its predecessor. There are four models to choose from ranging from the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini to the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. All four iPhones come with the new A14 Bionic chip and a new flat-edged design, as  well as MagSafe wireless charging

There are differences in the rear cameras though, with the mini and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 getting just two on their back. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will sport a trio of upgraded cameras as well as a LiDAR sensors, promising a big photography upgrade over the iPhone 11 Pro

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.