Why Apple may not include a charger with your iPhone 12

iPhone 11 Pro
The iPhone 11 Pro with its charger (Image credit: Future)

One aspect of the iPhone 12 that leaks disagree on is whether or not it will come with a charger. In any other year we’d consider it a near certainty that one would be included, but some rumors have suggested there won’t be one in the box, and now Apple has shed some light on why that might be.

In an interview with GQ, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, replied to the suggestion that there might not be a charger with the following comment:

“We’re always looking at ways to minimize the e-waste from our products. It’s a continuous effort and an important one. We’re fortunate that people buy a lot of Apple products, so we know that the decisions we make in this regard are going to have an enormous impact. It’s our responsibility to minimize packaging and minimize what’s in the packaging if it’s not something the customer needs.”

So while he didn’t confirm or deny the rumors, the company’s focus on minimizing e-waste certainly suggests that it’s something that’s probably at least been considered.

The whole interview is focused on Apple’s attempt to be environmentally conscious. While the above quote is in direct response to claims of there being no charger in the box, elsewhere Joswiak explains that Apple wants people to hold on to their iPhones for as long as possible, claiming that it’s the “number one thing you can do”, and is part of why the phones get software updates for so long.

Clearly, if a company wants you to keep using a handset for a long time in order to avoid waste, then it’s going to want the same with a charger – and since many people will already have a compatible charger, that’s why there’s arguably no need to include one in the iPhone 12 box.

By omitting the charger Apple could reduce e-waste and therefore its environmental impact, as well as cutting costs for customers who already have a charger. While those who don’t would still be able to buy one separately.

None of which is to say that the iPhone 12 definitely won’t have a charger bundled with it – including a charger is still the norm for Apple and across the industry, but based on this interview and earlier rumors we wouldn’t be at all surprised if the new phones don’t come with one.

We should find out soon - Apple is holding an event on September 15 (tomorrow at the time of writing) where there's a chance the iPhone 12 will be announced, and failing that we'll likely see the phone in October.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.