Apple has removed charging adaptors from iPhone boxes, citing environmental concerns. Photo: Getty Images
A group of Chinese university students have filed a lawsuit against Apple, demanding the company provide a charger for an iPhone they bought.Apple has stopped shipping its new iPhones with power adapters or earphones since 2020. The company said the change would reduce carbon emissions and the use of precious materials, given that consumers already owned too many adapters.
But the students from Beijing and Shanghai sought to challenge the argument in court, according to a report by Shanghai Law Journal. They demanded Apple provide a wall charger for an iPhone 12 Pro Max purchased by one student, pay 100 yuan ($16) for breach of contract, and cover the legal fees. During an online hearing at the Beijing Internet Court, the student argued that the USB-C to Lightning cable that came in the iPhone 12 box was not compatible with other chargers in the market. Therefore, they were not able to charge the phone as advertised on Apple’s website, the plaintiffs said.A representative of Apple said it was common for phone makers to sell smartphones and charging adapters separately, but the students argued that several Chinese phone makers were offering packages with and without adapters for consumers to choose from. The plaintiffs also argued that Apple was only using environmental concerns as an excuse to promote its MagSafe chargers, since wireless chargers waste more energy than wired chargers, according to the report. The two parties were in the process of supplying the court with additional evidence, the report said. The case was presented at a competition for public interest lawsuits this month. Many internet users have expressed support for the students for standing up for consumers’ interests. Some said they had been forced to purchase new chargers and adapters when upgrading to an iPhone 12, but others worried Apple would pass the costs on to consumers if it was asked to give out free adapters. Apple is also facing pressure in other countries regarding iPhone chargers. Earlier this year, Brazil’s consumer protection agency imposed a nearly $2 million fine on Apple for selling its iPhone 12 series without chargers. The European Union is proposing a regulation to have a common USB-C charging port for all smartphones to reduce waste and protect consumer interests. Apple has warned the move could stifle innovation. Follow Viola Zhou on Twitter.