The iPhone comes with a charger

Smartphone without charger: is that allowed?

Anyone who buys a smartphone must be able to charge the battery it contains. Otherwise the device is simply not usable. With this principle, cell phones have always been sold with an enclosed charger and charging cable. As a result, multiple chargers and cables have now accumulated in numerous households - whether they are being used or not. In addition, high-priced smartphones also support wireless charging via the Qi standard. You can read more about this at, the online youth magazine of the NRW consumer center.

But there is a change: Apple no longer wants to put chargers in the boxes of new iPhones. The manufacturer also dispenses with the included headphones. This was announced for the sale of the new iPhone 12 models. But Apple also flipped the switch on the previous iPhone 11 model: On October 16. In the online shop, in addition to the iPhone, only one cable was listed as scope of delivery.

That is entirely in the interests of the European Union. Because resources should be conserved and waste should be reduced. That is why the EU has been calling for a uniform standard for chargers and connections in a directive since 2014 so that older chargers can also be used with new smartphones. Out more ecological We also welcome the fact that no chargers are included in the packs of new smartphones.

And how does it look legally out? According to the aforementioned EU Directive 2014/53 / EU and the German implementation in Section 4 Paragraph 3 No. 1 FuAG (Radio Equipment Act), mobile phones must be "compatible with accessories, in particular with uniform chargers". Against this background, one must criticize Apple: While most providers build USB connections in their devices and thus promote the idea of ​​uniform connections, the Californian company has always used its own connection, the so-called Lightning port. Customers who have not yet owned an Apple device will definitely need a special cable. At least that should be found in the sales package of the new iPhones.

However, a charging cable is of no use without a device that supplies power. However, since chargers should be standardized and most households have at least one, Apple would, in our opinion, meet legal requirements with a cable for the Lightning port and enable users to charge their phones.

If it weren't for the connection to the charger. Because the new Apple charging cable should have the Lightning connector on one side and a USB-C connector on the other. Most common chargers (including those for the previous iPhone 11 model) have a USB-A port. USB-C is only now slowly gaining ground, among other things because it enables higher charging currents. So if you have a charger with a USB-A connection, but don't have a suitable cable with a Lightning connector, you have to buy an adapter, a new cable or a charger for the iPhone 12. Legally, however, one cannot speak of a defect in the product against which legal action could be taken - unless the sales box gives the impression that the smartphone can only be charged with the included accessories.

As consumer-friendly solution we would like to see customers receive the cables and chargers they need free of charge if they do not have the right accessories - for example the vouchers included. In addition, one of the EU's requests should also reach customers: that the so-called interoperability helps to reduce costs.