Home >Technology >Gadgets >Apple dumps power adapter and earbuds in iPhone 12 citing ecological concerns
Apple CEO Tim Cook poses with the all-new iPhone 12 Pro at Apple Park in Cupertino, California (via REUTERS)
Apple CEO Tim Cook poses with the all-new iPhone 12 Pro at Apple Park in Cupertino, California (via REUTERS)

Apple dumps power adapter and earbuds in iPhone 12 citing ecological concerns

  • Leaving out the two accessories also allows Apple to offers the new iPhones in a much smaller and lighter packaging
  • Apple’s approach is understandable considering that all iPhones work with a standard lighting charger and are backward compatible


Apple has decided to leave out free accessories like power adapters and wired earbuds from the boxes of the latest iPhone 12 series. The move allows Apple to achieve its twin goal of offsetting cost incurred on upgrading new iPhones to 5G and reducing carbon emissions by cutting down on ewaste.

The latter is part of Apple’s long term goal to achieve net zero climate impact across entire business and product life cycle, right from manufacturing, supply chain, customer use and charging to recycling and material recovery.

Leaving out the two accessories also allows Apple to offers the new iPhones in a much smaller and lighter packaging. This means they can ship 70% more boxes on a pallet and cut shipping costs too.

According to Apple’s estimates, these changes will cut over 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which is equivalent to removing nearly 450,000 cars from the road every year.

Apple’s approach is understandable considering that all iPhones work with a standard lighting charger and are backward compatible.

“Customers already have over 700 million lightning headphones and many have moved to wireless experience. There are also over 2 billion Apple power adaptors out in the world and we are not even counting the billions of third party adapters. So we are removing these items from the iPhone box to reduce carbon emissions and avoid mining of precious material," Lisa Jackson, VP, environment, policy and social initiatives, Apple said at the Apple Hi Speed virtual event.

According to a 2019 study by European Commission, mobile phone chargers account for around 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of e-waste every year, and associated life cycle emissions of around 600 - 900 kt CO2 emissions. To be sure, Apple shipped 45 million iPhones globally in second quarter of 2020 and each unit came with a power adapter, adding to the e-waste.

The iPhonemaker claims to have reduced carbon emissions by 35% since 2015 and their offices, retail stores and data centres across 43 countries already run on 100% renewable energy. The company also claims that its products are free from harmful chemicals such as mercury, PVC, brominated flame retardants, phthalates and beryllium.

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