Why Apple will no longer include free EarPods with every iPhone sold in France

It was good while it lasted! Starting next week, iPhone models sold in France will no longer ship with a free pair of Apple’s wired EarPods earphones in the box.

UPDATE (January 31, 2022): Apple has updated its online store in France to acknowledge that the EarPods are no longer included in iPhone boxes. Now the iPhone box includes an iPhone along with Apple’s USB-C to Lightning cable, just like in every other market.

  • Starting January 24, all iPhone models that are being sold in France will ship without a free pair of Apple’s wired EarPods earphones in the box
  • Previously, Apple and other smartphone manufacturers were required by law to ship every smartphone sold in the country with a handsfree kit
  • But now, the country has updated the law to drop this requirement in favor of protecting the environment

Apple stops shipping EarPods with iPhones sold in France

French-language blog iGeneration.fr was the first to spot a notice posted by a local carrier informing customers of the impending change. The government has now realized that requiring vendors to bundle headphones with phones isn’t the best way of reducing the environmental footprint of digital devices.

A new bill passed in the French assembly now requires vendors to offer compatible headphones as an optional accessory that the owner may choose to buy rather than include headphones in the box.

When is this change taking effect?

On Monday, January 24, 2022.

Apple stopped bundling its EarPods earphones with iPhones in October 2020 to help reduce electronic waste (and upsell people to AirPods). Before that, the company stopped bundling chargers with iPhones.

In France, however, the Cupertino giant would continue bundling EarPods with iPhones in one country, France. The country’s law mandates that all smartphone manufacturers include a set of wired earphones in the box so that owners don’t have to put their phone against their head while on a call. The official explanation was avoiding the potential danger of absorbing radio-frequency energy while using a smartphone.