Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Are there really no earphones or charger with the 2020 iPhones?

There are four new models of the iPhone 12, plus three other iPhones sticking around, and they all share something in common: they don’t come with earphones or a charging brick.

While new iPhones were pretty much a foregone conclusion this week, one thing might not have been expected, as Apple removed a couple of things that have been bundled in with phones for a long time.

In the 2020 iPhone models — the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max — Apple has removed the wired earphones that normally plug into the Lightning port at the bottom, as well as the charging brick for the wall. Customers still get a Lightning cable to charge from, but it’s a more modern take, using the USB Type C to Lightning for newer computers like the MacBook Air, rather than the rectangular USB Type A the older cables relied on.

For many, this is an issue, because it means you’ll either need to bring your own older earphones, or even upgrade to something else, and if you want to charge your iPhone, you may need to bring your own charging brick.

This is a bit of a storm in a teacup, but it’s raising attention very quickly because it’s something going missing from the typical phone package.

It’s not just the iPhone 12 range

The thing about these removals is it’s not just the iPhone 12 range that has to deal with these departures.

In 2020, Apple has removed the earphone and charging brick from all of the iPhones it has available, including the iPhone 11 which is still a part of the range, 2018’s iPhone XR which is just below that, and the iPhone SE updated this year, which makes up the entry-level iPhone, so to speak.

Before the iPhone 12 range was launched, these three models came with the earphones and charging brick, but from October onwards, the free charging brick and set of earphones is missing in action, as noted on the Apple website. You can check it out for yourself, but the specs page for the iPhone 11, iPhone XR, and iPhone SE now don’t list either the charging brick or the earphones in the section marked “In the Box”.

They’re gone, so this issue isn’t just something you need to come to grips with for the new iPhones, but rather an initiative of Apple’s overall.

But is this really a problem? Let’s deal with this thing one at a time.

First: earphones.

No free earphones isn’t a bad thing

Apple AirPods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM3

The loss of EarPods from the iPhone package seems like a frustrating thing for many, because it’s the first time ever that you can’t take out an iPhone and just get to listening to music on it.

Here’s the thing, though: as good as the EarPods are, there are better earphones, and you may already own a pair.

If you already own a pair of EarPods from a previous iPhone, those will still work on a 2020 iPhone, so there’s no loss there, beyond not getting another free pair to use.

Ideally, we’d suggest upgrading to a pair of wireless earphones, but that does cost extra. Then again, if you’re considering buying a phone priced this high, a pair of wireless earphones doesn’t factor too much into the equation, and so if you’re frustrated by the omission of free wired earphones, do yourself a favour and consider a pair of wireless earphones bound to be better, or even a decent pair of wired ones.

It might be a touch convenient, at least initially, but your ears will likely thank you for it, too.

Next up, let’s tackle the loss of the charging brick.

No free charging brick isn’t a big deal

Belkin GaN Boost Charge Packs

The loss of the charging brick can be seen as a little more frustrating, because it means you either need a Type C charging brick or a Type C port on a computer if you want to use the included Lightning cable.

That’s a bit annoying for some, and means the charging brick that came with previous iPhones may not be suitable, as it likely relied on a Type A rectangular USB port, the old school style most associate with USB.

However, the Type C Lightning cable is easy to deal with, too, because you can always plug it into a Type C port or buy an external charging brick, be it one made by Apple or any other company. Depending on what you buy, it might even be smaller and faster, working with laptops too, such as with the recent gallium nitride charging bricks. Apple’s iPad Pro even comes with the exact model, so if you have one of those, you have the charging brick already.

How to charge your new 2020 iPhone

The point of all of this is that a 2020 iPhone has several ways it can be charged.

You can:

  • Plug the included Type C to Lightning port into a Type C port on a laptop and charge it up from your computer
  • Check out a Type C brick from Apple for $29 and charge it up from the wall
  • Plug the Apple Type C Lightning cable into a power brick from a recent MacBook Air or MacBook Pro
  • Buy a wireless charging dock and use wireless charging on the iPhone range

Beyond all of these, you can even get an old Lightning cable and charging brick from an older iPhone, and charge your 2020 iPhone that way. We’re not talking about a new port, just a change to the package that comes with the iPhone, so if you have something old, it’ll still be as good as what’s new.

Ultimately, the loss of the charging brick is just an inconvenience, much like the loss of the earphones themselves.

But it is minor, and not really worth worrying about, and if you’re upgrading from an iPhone, you can likely deal with both issues without giving much thought to either.

The iPhone 12 Pro won't come with anything more than a Type C to Lightning cable, and neither will the rest of the 2020 iPhone range.
The iPhone 12 Pro won’t come with anything more than a Type C to Lightning cable, and neither will the rest of the 2020 iPhone range.
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