Brazil says Apple can’t keep selling iPhones that don’t come with a charger

The Brazilian government isn’t happy about Apple’s decision to stop including chargers starting with the launch of the iPhone 12 and has responded by suspending local sales of iPhones that don’t come packaged with chargers. In addition to halting some iPhone sales, Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security also ordered Apple to pay a fine of R$12,275,500 (about $2.3 million USD) and canceled the iPhone 12’s registration with Anatel, Brazil’s telecommunications agency that is similar to the FCC.

Brazil’s ban comes just one day ahead of Apple’s Far Out event, where it’s expected to reveal the new iPhone 14 (which likely won’t come boxed with a charger). According to Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, the iPhone 12 still remains on sale in Brazil via Apple’s website.

Apple said it would appeal the decision in a statement issued to Reuters. “We have already won several court rulings in Brazil on this matter and we are confident that our customers are aware of the various options for charging and connecting their devices,” said Apple.

Brazil’s consumer protection agency, Senacon, argues that Apple’s decision to ditch the charger is a “burden” to customers and that Apple could find other ways to reduce its environmental impact — such as switching to USB-C. It adds that the lack of a charging brick makes the device “incomplete” and forces customers to make an additional purchase on top of the iPhone itself. The country hit Apple with a $2 million fine last year for not including chargers with its iPhone 12 devices and says the company “has taken no measure to minimize the damage and continues to sell cell phones without chargers.”

Apple first announced its plans to drop the charging brick and earbuds — and include only a USB-C to Lightning cable — with its iPhones in 2020, citing environmental concerns. The company said excluding the two accessories would reduce the iPhone’s environmental impact by allowing for a smaller box that offsets carbon emissions. However, some experts believe that this move benefits Apple’s finances more than the environment. The iPhone 12 was, notably, the first device to come with 5G — and Apple may have been looking for other ways to cut costs to offset the pricey new radio frequency components to enable the connectivity.

This isn’t the first time Apple has faced issues in other countries over its decision to stop bundling earbuds and charging bricks with new iPhones. A French law previously required Apple to include earbuds with all devices released in the country, but France passed a law earlier this year that no longer requires mobile companies to include earbuds with their phones. The European Union, as a whole, is going after Apple’s use of a proprietary charger and is implementing a new law that will require phone makers to use USB-C ports by 2024. Brazil is also mulling a similar change that would make USB-C chargers mandatory.

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