Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting January 24, according to a notice from a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a “hands-free kit”, but the law has now been changed in favor reducing the environmental footprint of digital devices.
Starting with the iPhone 12 in 2020, Apple stopped including EarPods and power adapter from the iPhone box, saying it was doing this partly to reduce its environmental footprint. With both accessories removed, the iPhone box was considerably thinner. Apple also removed both items from older iPhone models that it continued to sell.
Despite Apple’s announcement, the company was required to continue shipping iPhones with EarPods in France. Apple’s legal obligation to include EarPods was based on the precautionary principle, as the risks of exposure of developing brains to electromagnetic waves are not clearly known, according to French law.
Now everything is about to change. According to a new bill passed in the French assembly, smartphone manufacturers will no longer be obliged to include headphones in the box. Instead, they just need to make sure compatible headphones are available separately as an optional accessory. According to a notice from French carrier Fnac, iPhones will no longer ship with EarPods in the box from January 24. A machine translation of the poster reads:
We inform you that our manufacturers are no longer required to provide headsets/hands-free kits with their smartphones in France. This new law, adopted at the end of 2021, aims to reduce the environmental footprint in France.
The Xiaomi brand is affected, for products purchased from the week of January 17, 2022. The same will apply to the Apple brand from the week of January 24, 2022
THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING
Apple’s regional website for France continues to list the EarPods as an item included in the box with the iPhone alongside a USB-C to Lightning cable, although this will likely be updated soon. Despite removing the EarPods from the box, Apple has reduced the price of the headphones to $19 from $29 when the iPhone 12 launched in September 2020.
Apple’s decision to remove the EarPods and power adapter from the iPhone box has also been controversial in other countries. For example, Apple was fined $2 million in Brazil for not including the power adapter with iPhones.