iPhone 12 Legally Required to Come with Earpods in France

Initially I expected this to be about including necessary components with the iPhone, charger, headphones etc. Interestingly its about health concerns. At least they have 5G now but no USB C. There was some controversy as they made the argument they didn't need to include the wall adaptor charger, and only recent iPhone 11 owners actually have a compatible charger for the USB C Cable included, effectively adding $30-$60 to the pucrhase price.


The Cupertino company made the decision to omit EarPods from this year’s iPhones, claiming that it is more environmentally friendly – but is actually illegal to do this in France.

The reason? It’s considered potentially harmful for the brain to absorb radio-frequency energy, and phones emit more of this when they are being used for phone calls. There is considerable debate about the impact of this, but most countries err on the side of caution by setting a legal limit on the radio-frequency power output.

iPhones use the proximity sensor to detect when the phone is being held against the head and reduce RF power to comply with the legal limits.

However, France goes further, arguing that users should be encouraged to use headphones to keep the phone away from the side of their head. For this reason, it requires smartphones to be sold with headphones – or, in legaleze, ‘an accessory making it possible to limit the exposure of the head to radioelectric emissions during communications.’

Poll Options

  • 353
    They should be forced to include earpods and charger
  • 64
    They should be forced to include charger only
  • 3
    They should be forced to include earpods only
  • 130
    They shouldn't be forced to include any accesories

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  • i dont think i've ever used the earphones from an iphone, or any mobile phone in general

    • New Earpods are really plasticky and uncomfortable for me, I preferred the original ones.

    • Same, I always sell my old phones with "new headphones, never used"
      Same with Charger,… never use the one in the box as i have so many lying around.

      • I bought my latest iPhone off gumtree as “new and never used”. And it really was new and never used. Nice price too. But the earbuds were full of earwax. I guess technically the earbuds aren’t part of a phone.
        I irksomely gave the earbuds a really good clean and put them back in the box. They are still in the box after more than two years.

    • Nice to have as a spare, but really I never used it. When I was a kid maybe I would nave needed them, but nowadays I can afford good wireless headphones. Good wireless headphones are better value than spending $80 on "good" wired ones that will just break in six months. Cable always breaks in the same spot no matter what brand.

      • Funnily enough, I ended up ditching my decent earphones in favour of some earpods a friend got with their iphone and wasnt using. At first it was just to have a more open set to use at work to hear surroundings, and ended up being the only pair I'd wanna use in general. Sound was decent enough, and they were just very comfortable.

        From there a short step to actually spending some money on airpods, and ditching the other wireless headphones I had already accumulated.

    • Me either to be honest with the exception of HTC phones (M8 and U12+). The usonic headphones included with the U12+ are impressive.

      But most of the time they sound like airline headphones, cheaply made and just another unnecessary inclusion. Either make something worthwhile or not at all imho.

    • i have, some recent LG and Samsung phones came with some decent headphones, i use them connected to my computer since i dont like the heavy bulky over the ear ones which i do own at least 3 of those as well ranging from 50 to 150 in price that ive stopped using coz it gets uncomfortable after 1 hr

  • but is actually illegal to do this in France.

    which law?

  • +2 votes

    It’s considered potentially harmful for the brain to absorb radio-frequency energy
    but most countries err on the side of caution by setting a legal limit on the radio-frequency power output.

    What if small amounts are actually beneficial ?

    It would mean these countries are being negligent…

    • Radiation is usually only beneficial when used specifically, and for a purpose. And invariably, the more targeted, the better, since it damages good cells just as easily as it damages bad ones.

      In the case of a cellular transceiver emitting EMR, if someone's brain (not just their tumor) was mildly impacted, or they were able to see a halo of their head using an imaging system of some kind rather than using an exotic medial scanner, this would barely provide a benefit, let alone a negligible one.

      Trying to come up with a beneficial outcome from any kind of EMR, but can't quite help you prove your point. Maybe 'Phat Silicon' can chuck a few million and do some scientific research on the matter? Oh wait, better not do any research. Just never know when a well-meaning researcher could suggest something unexpected that they aren't paid to suggest.

      • +1 vote

        Radiation is usually only beneficial when used specifically, and for a purpose

        Mankind has always had radiation occurring naturally from the Earth and the Sun from the beginning of time.

        How do you know that is not essential for life?

        • It is an ingredient of it. Not sure it is in any way essential. Certainly effects evolution by increasing the rate of change in DNA, and thus things like physical deformation. Even at the relatively high rate we live with in Oz, it's effects are still negligible given changes take many, many generations to occur

      • Radiation is usually only beneficial when used specifically, and for a purpose.

        Trying to come up with a beneficial outcome from any kind of EMR

        An electric light is very useful, you can see things at night.

        Electric lights emit radiation at a much higher frequency than a cellular phone, and with much higher power output too.

        edit: Also the Sun is kinda useful, keeping the entire world alive etc ;)

        • The context of this was your suggestion that EMR produced by cellphones might actually be beneficial on humans.

          Until cellular transceivers begin producing light, using light to look for beneficial impacts on living organisms is hardly likely to bear any fruit or prove anything.

    • +2 votes

      Only if there was evidence of a benefit. Which there is not.

      • Which there is not.

        Nobody has ever lived in a radiation free environment.
        Just because it's never been proved to you, does not mean it isn't true.

        • I have a one-of-a-kind teapot to sell you…

        • Just because it's never been proved to you, does not mean it isn't true.

          I never made any claim regarding truth.

          You suggested negligence. You cannot be negligent unless there is proof you have done something wrong. There is no evidence that limiting microwave radiation causes harm. Case closed.

  • First thing you should do when you get a new phone is to feed the earphones to the dog or leave them on one of those double decker Big Bus Tour buses for someone.

    • The Samsung AKG earphones were great!!

    • iPods can go straight through a digestive tract, and still work at the other end. Small dogs usually throw them up. Thankfully, they're almost indestructible. Dogs eat them all the time as they smell as tasty as their master's ears. Not sure many people would wash them off and re-use though, but a good wash and clean with isopropanol…

  • It’s considered potentially harmful for the brain to absorb radio-frequency energy - by nutjobs.

  • As long as they are honest about it who cares what accessories it comes with? If you don't like it then buy something else.

    Many people, myself included, have a 6 port charger at home and have no use for a single charger.

    • I'm fascinated by these people. Seems likely they go through mobile phones much quicker than me. But I also wonder if they understand charging technology. We're well beyond a simple cord and socket:


      I do find chargers last slightly longer than their devices and I too have a combined power board USB charger. But I only use the latter for overnight charging. At one point I connected my Google Home Minis to it too (they have one of the biggest and most oddly-shaped power adapters) but they kept glitching out due to insufficient power. I definitely don't have a stockpile of chargers at home - in fact barely enough to meet my needs.

      Since not everybody will answer this thread. What's the 6 port charger you have at home? I have the following and my feelings on it are it is barely satisfactory. Note the description of it. Everyone is writing these days like there's no difference between chargers - but it's not the case.


      • I've tried quite a few chargers, and the Anker ones have been by far the best.. I've got a mixture of the 10 port chargers and a couple of their models with USB-C ports. I've never had any issues with their USB power banks or their 21w solar panels either. They seem to make quality gear.

  • Up next:
    Australian export of Aluminum Foil shot up by 300% today as France minister Jean Castex said the material would protect its citizen from harmful radio waves by turning them into hats.

  • There was some controversy as they made the argument they didn't need to include the wall adaptor charger, and only recent iPhone 11 owners actually have a compatible charger for the USB C Cable included

    Never understood this 'controversy'. If the premise is that people already have wall chargers then obviously they have the cables to go with them too as well. So why would they give you the older cables you already have instead of a newer cable fewer people actually have…

    All of this is a non-issue anyway. Do agree it's better for the environment and absolutely it's a greed move by Apple too. Most people will get Anker or similar faster & more functional chargers anyway. Never used to the included slow Apple one.

    • Apple could have given away USB C to lightening cables, but that'd kind of fly in the face of not including those things to save money. I bet a lot of iPhone 11 owners already have a fast charging cable. Another one is nice to have, but why do you need another one?

  • Who cares if they don’t include accessories. If it upsets you enough then don’t buy the product.

    I suspect Apple is correct and that most people already have a USB-C wall brick or a lightning to USB cable and wall brick.

    I see it as a win win for both Apples bank account and the environment.

  • Apple User - They shouldn't need this
    Android User - They should be included

    Currently 14 Apple users have voted
    Currently 14 Android Users have voted

    Whats the point other than that, we dont live in France

  • Got a OnePlus 7T Pro the other day. Came with a case and screen protector in addition to a charger (full plug). All phones should come with this.

    • You didn't already have a plug and cable? When you next buy a phone what will you do with the old plug and cable.

      • Plugs and cables are different. If you buy a phone with superfast charging, you usually need the original superfast charger. Moreover, it's a fire hazard to use third party chargers according to most phone manufacturers.

        I could support the idea if all those companies agreed to use exactly the same specifications, but one charger is 2A and 6V, the other is 1.5A and 9V…

        If they care about the environment, they could start by sitting together and agreeing with the standards instead of creating different chargers and connectors.

        • You don’t need the original charger, just any USB charger that supports at least the minimum charge spec. If it doesn’t meet that spec then it wasn’t a fast charger anyway. All apple usb c chargers should fast charge almost any phone.

          • @AustriaBargain: No, that's not correct. I have a Huawei P20 Pro and I only have fast charge if I use the Huawei charger. It doesn't fast charge on "any USB-C", or even the Samsung "fast charger".

            On the other hand, I have Soundpeats phones which came without the charger. They recommend the use of standard USB C ports instead of chargers (because chargers can have different Voltage and Amperage).

            My Macbook Pro is USB-C too and I can only charge using the Macbook charger, for obvious reasons.

            Even if I connect my Huawei phone to the Macbook charger, it doesn't fast charge, despite higher Voltage.

            These companies have to sit and agree with the standard if they will sell their products without a charger.

            • @tderevko: Could be subpar cables not allowing you to charge. All lightening to USB C cables are certified

              • @AustriaBargain: All original cables and chargers. The Samsung original doesn't fast charge Huawei, and the Huawei original doesn't fast charge Samsung. They charge, just not fast.

                *Huawei P20 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S8

                Macbook charger charges Samsung and Huawei without fast charging. Smartphone chargers don't charge the Macbook at all.

                My point is that they are not interchangeable and one USB-C charger not necessarily charges other devices. Even if it does, it's not fast charging as the original. Therefore, they can't suppose that people will have a charger that works perfectly with their devices.

                I'm using "they" because I'm pretty sure the other companies will be doing the same…

          • @AustriaBargain: Oneplus/OPPO phones use VOOC/Dash charging.

            Samsung using Qualcomm quickcharge

            Apple uses USB-C PD.

            There isn't that much standardisation in quick charge protocols at this stage, so it is handy when the devices ship with a charger, especially Oneplus/OPPO who essentially use a proprietary one.

            • @Domingo: Why don’t they all just use PD. That’s the standard on all the adapters and battery packs.

              • @AustriaBargain: That's the question we all have.

                If I plug my 60W PD charger to my Huawei, I get "Supercharge" which is the same speed as the original Huawei Supercharge.

                However, if I plug the charger to my Samsung I get fast charge but not as fast as the original Samsung charger albeit a higher wattage.

                So yeah, i agree we should have the chargers supplied each time until everyone agrees what standard of fast charging they're gonna use

    • -4 votes

      Surely a product is not really fit for purpose if it is necessary to have a case and screen protector.

    • We got 16 chargers at home. Do we need another one? Hmmm.

      • I've probably got the same, but a good half of them are half or one amp chargers.Probably 3 of them are Qualcomm quick charge chargers (for newer phones). Rest are 2 amp versions.

        Would I want to buy a new flagship phone and charge it at 0.5/1/2 amps? No. If a phone is capable of faster charging and the manufacturer markets it as a faster charging, I want the charger that will do it, not have to pay extra for it.

        I don't really care about Apple phones though, my Note20 came with a 25w charger.

      • I’ve got lots of old USB chargers. Have never got a USB C charger, but need one for the supplied cable to work

    • That case and screen protector aren’t worth $2 probably.

  • I've personally never really used the earphones that come with most smartphones. It's just a half-assed attempt at value-add and most of the time, the earphones are mediocre at best and are probably considered e-waste for most people.

    Samsung did package some pretty decent 'AKG' earphones which did sound 'above average' with the Galaxy S8, which I did use for awhile before ditching them for Koss headphones.

    I do appreciate the phones that do come with a case though — even if I do plan to switch the case to something sturdier it's nice to have your phone protected from day one when you remove it out of the box, while you wait for your superior Spigen case to arrive on a slow boat from China.

  • I think including the charger can't be optional. Someone who has no charger or other device with a free USB at home won't be able to charge and use the phone. That's just ridiculous. It's like selling a TV, or any other electronic that you have to plug in, without the cable to plug in.

    On the other hand, the earphones are usually rubbish and most people don't use them anyway. If there is something in the French law saying that they can't sell phones without headphones, then they can't sell phones without headphones, in France. The reasoning looks like BS but I am not a specialist to comment. By the way, Apple's reason to remove the earphones from the box seems like BS as well. It's just a reason so they can charge extra for the charger.

    It will be interesting to see what will happen next…

    1. Apple stops selling iPhone in France
    2. Apple adds earphones in France
    3. Apple adds earphones worldwide
    4. Apple fights and judge decides Apple can sell iPhone without earphones
    • +2 votes
      1. Apple stops selling iPhone in France
      2. French Revolution 2020


      • In Europe, it's a bit different to the scorched brown earth of home.

        More of them arc up when forced to consume.

        When I buy something, let alone a phone, I don't want another charger. There's a reason I have 2 boxes full of them. The thought of an extra one produced, let alone thrown away, just so I can upgrade, turns me off the idea of upgrading. More in the box, does not always equal more perceived value.

        Or in the context of a Marketer, give them choice at the Point of Purchase, and get kudos (from some).

        Of course I'd rather an up-front discount, but at the end of the day, the less they make, the cheaper it can all be for everyone.

        Given the number of USB sockets around these days, a cable is more than enough. Devices needing 5V to charge up should have been offered with optional chargers for years already.

    • As per Google search, Apple confirmed they will include the earphones in France. Problem solved, no revolution required.

    • Honestly, people should just be able to decide for themselves what they want to do. And so should companies.

      If Apple doesn't want to include this or that, the consumer should just either buy or not buy it on that basis.

      • I agree with that, but I imagine several people buying the new iPhone, arriving home and spending minutes trying to find the charger that is not in the box, and then noticing that will have to spend extra $ buying a charger. While buyers get used to this new tendency, I think it might be appropriate for companies to add a clear "beware" message on the box.

  • Earphones I wouldn't miss. Like others here I've never used them. Although I see a lot of people on Teams and Zoom using them at the moment so I think mainstream users could be bigger users of them than Apple expects.

    The charger bit shits me somewhat. I have a number of random chargers and cables, most of which last about 12 months at best and most don't charge as fast as they claim. At least my old apple ones last and won't be lying about their capability.

    If they really wanted to show their good intentions Apple could have the phones come with a voucher that you can either exchange for a charger or tick a box and they donate the cost of that charger to a charity.

  • No, they should just give a $10 voucher so we can get some decent earphones or something else from Apple.

    • $10 would get you a cardboard box from their Genius Bar's detritus

      • They can partner with Beats or an audiophile brand and produce decent wired headphones for $50. But nooo, they want people spending $300 on stupid wireless earbuds that look stupid and fall out. I honestly just use my Samsung AKG earphones with the iphone and they work wonders.

  • Good law. Should have been implemented here, and further.

    Environmental reason are just excuses to cut cost but not passing it and instead, increasing them.

  • People are willing to accept it/pay for it so why should Apple care? There are some that would still buy even if it came with no phone.

  • I think providing a USB-C cable when all the old iPhone charger's have been USB-A was a huge middle finger to consumers but no, I don't think they should be forced to include accessories.

    But anyone that thinks Apple did it for environmental reasons is a moron.

    • They absolutely did do it for environmental reasons and then used that as a veiled excuse to profit further.

      I still don't understand the expectation of getting a USB-A cable which presumably you would already have since you already have a wall charger.

      A USB-C cable being included does make more sense as fewer people have those, while more gadgets, laptops (and their own Macbooks etc) are moving in that direction.

  • I think that any product sold, should include all items required to operate the product.

    Therefore, I think that a charger should always be included, but that earphones could be left out as they're not required to operate the product (even when considering the safety aspect).

    For example, I wouldn't expect a helmet to be sold with a bike, and they're mandatory in Vic… but when you buy a bike with electronic shifting, it comes with the charger.

    • A lot of camera are sold body-only so, if that is to become a law, it would affect heaps of industry.

      • But the camera still includes the charger and battery? That's more comparable to say the iPhone doesn't come with a Apple Leather Case as standard. You can't compare two different products like that.

        • I don't think a camera lens is comparable to a phone case. A camera body without lens is not operable, while a phone is perfectly usable without a case. You cannot use a camera for its main functionality, which is taking photos, without lens.

          Also, most DSLR and Mirrorless does not come with memory cards either which one could say is essential to its use. Hell.. some camera doesn't even come with a battery.

      • Yes, and you'd identified the problem. DSLR cameras (Canon 90D for example) is sold both with lenses and body only. The version with lense is cheaper than buying the lense seperately… be good if Apple offered the same.

        Also, people will have different 'usage cases' for a given camera body… there is no 'usage case' that doesn't require a charged iPhone.

        • Cameras that are sold without lens, which is an essential component to make the camera work, is sold on the basis that the customer is free to purchase any lens they would like for said camera, or use the lens they currently own given that it is compatible, instead of receiving one that they will not use.

          One could argue that this is the same for Apple. There are a lot of people out there who, like me, doesnt use the charger that comes in the box, but of course there are many that do too. Also, it is not like the charger is not available to purchase at the time you purchase your phone either.

          It could be said that the phone without the charger is equivalent to buying a camera body for cheaper, and the more expensive camera that comes with kit lens is equivalent to buying the phone with the charger.

          I don't really feel any way about this, I know it sucks for a lot of people but personally it doesnt affect me. I think its a moot point, things are as they are, you either buy it or you dont. If comes this time next year, their sales remains the same or increases, it means that it didnt negatively impact them, conversely if sales plummet significantly, then they will likely make a change.

          No one is forced to buy Apple's product, just as Apple shouldnt be forced to sell their product a certain way.

  • If the environment is their concern, and not profit, then they should offer the charger for half price on purchase of a new phone.

    This would provide enough (price) barrier to those not needing one, not punishing those who do, whilst showing Apple is genuine in it's environmental concern.

    And, once they've collected data on the number of purchases, re-evaluate removal of the charger, because there is more packaging required when you purchase this item separately…