iPhone 12 accessories: what you get in the box, and what you'll need to buy

iPhone 12
iPhone 12 (Image credit: Apple)

One of the biggest iPhone 12 rumors before launch was that Apple could ship the thing without in-box headphones or a charger, and that turned out to be true - mostly.

Apple has opted to drop a few different things from the iPhone 12 box that previous iPhones have come with - but not everything, so you'll still find a little bit packaged with the device.

The claimed reason for the iPhone 12 omissions is to reduce e-waste, and it certainly makes sense - most people opt to buy their own headphones instead of using the cheaper in-box ones, for example, and even if you do use the EarPods, you can simply keep using your old pair (unless this is your first iPhone).

But if you've not been following the tech news it can be hard to know what comes in the box, what you need to source separately, and what extras you might want. That's why we came up with this iPhone 12 accessories guide.

What comes in the box:

The following things come in your iPhone 12 box. Obviously we're not counting the documentation and SIM removal tool here.

iPhone 12 phone

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 (Image credit: Apple)

It would be quite a controversial move for Apple to remove the iPhone from the iPhone box, and we're not sure what the company would put in its place. Of course your iPhone 12 purchase will include the phone in the box, although there's not much else...

Lighting to USB-C cable

Lightning - USB-C cable from Apple

Lightning - USB-C cable from Apple (Image credit: Apple)

The only other thing in your iPhone 12 box is a Lightning to USB-C cable. You can plug the Lightning end of this into your iPhone, but it's worth pointing out that USB-C isn't the 'typical' USB port you might have on your computer, or that you find in some wall outlets in airports, cafes, or similar places. 

Some newer laptops and computers have USB-C ports (including MacBooks), but to charge your phone from the wall, you'll have to get a wall charger with a USB-C port. It won't plug into just any power adapter.

What you need to buy:

The following things don't come in the iPhone 12 box, but you'll probably end up buying them to improve your iPhone experience anyway.

iPhone 12 wall charger

Apple wall charger

Apple wall charger (Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 12 box doesn't come with a wall plug, and you'll need one to connect your phone to the mains.

It's very possible you already have one of these so won't need a new one - but you really should check first. Most wall chargers that come with gadgets have USB-A ports - that's the big, rectangular input - but the iPhone 12 cable plugs into USB-C - that's a smaller input with rounded edges. 

If you need to buy one of these, the Apple website sells one, but it's a touch pricey, so it could be worth searching for an Amazon USB-C wall charger instead.

iPhone 12 headphones

Apple AirPods

(Image credit: Apple)

The new iPhone 12 doesn't come with in-box wired headphones. If you've got some from your old iPhone that plug into Lightning, you can use them, but if not maybe now is the time to upgrade to wireless headphones?

Apple's likely crossing its fingers that you'll want to upgrade to its AirPods or AirPods Pro, but there are plenty of other options on the market (we didn't give the non-Pro AirPods very positive reviews). We'll post prices of some below, but check out our best wireless headphones and best wireless earbuds guides for more information.

Some people may prefer wired headphones, and if that's you, that's totally understandable - wireless options can be pricey and it's nice to have the reliability of plug-and-play wired audio.

You can buy EarPods on the Apple website and there are plenty of Lightning headphones on Amazon - just make sure the pair of buds you're buying connects to a Lightning Port.

What you could also buy:

While these things aren't pivotal to the smartphone experience, they may go some way to improving the way you use your smartphone.

iPhone 12 wireless charger

iPhone 12 MagSafe

iPhone 12 MagSafe (Image credit: Apple)

Wired charging is old school; wireless is the future, though no smartphones yet have come with wireless chargers in the box. The iPhone 12 supports 7.5W wireless charging with all Qi chargers (most wireless chargers are Qi), though with Apple's proprietary MagSafe, which uses magnets on the back, that goes up to 15W.

iPhones have supported Qi charging for a while, and there are loads of wireless chargers sold on Apple's website. You can also check out our list of the best wireless chargers to find other options.

Apple's MagSafe is a new addition to the phones, so it remains to be seen how useful it is, but 15W wireless charging sounds good. Only Apple sells MagSafe tech through its website, though third-party sellers could start soon.

iPhone 12 smartwatch

Apple Watch 6

Apple Watch 6 (Image credit: Apple)

Smartwatches are hugely popular now, and you can use them as mini extensions of your phone to field notifications and control your music - they're also really useful for tracking exercise and health activities.

Apple has plenty of smartwatches - the two newest are the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE, but there are older ones which now cost a little less, at the expense of a few features.

Alternatively, you could buy from another company - Fitbit's devices are great for social exercising and fit with a wide ecosystem of products, Garmin makes smartwatches designed for fitness fans, and Samsung's Galaxy Watch devices usually dominate our list of the best smartwatches.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.