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Brazil suspends sales of iPhones without chargers and fines Apple $2.3 million

Enlarge / Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro.

Samuel Axone

The Brazilian government has suspended sales of iPhones without chargers, it announced today. Apple also faces a fine of BRL 12,275,500 (about $2.3 million) from the Brazilian Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP). This is on top of a $2 million fine incurred by Apple in 2021 after announcing its first smartphone to ship without a power adapter in the box, the iPhone 12 series. Apple can appeal Brazil’s decision.

The MJSP also ordered the cancellation of the iPhone 12’s registration with Anatel, Brazil’s national telecommunications agency.

In 2021, the Brazilian state of São Paulo’s consumer protection agency, Procon-SP, fined Apple $2 million for the iPhone 12. It said Apple sold what the country considers an incomplete product. Since then, Apple has not worked to “minimise the damage and continues to sell cell phones without chargers,” according to a Google translation of the Portuguese ad.

Samsung faced similar consequences from the Brazilian government, but reportedly decided to provide free chargers to Brazilian customers who bought its new smartphones that were shipped without a power adapter.

At the time of writing, the iPhone 12 and later appear to still be available for purchase from Apple’s website in Brazil.

“If he persists in the offenses, Apple may be considered a repeat offender, with the application of new, even more severe penalties,” said the MJSP in its press release.

When Apple announced in 2020 that it was ridding its new iPhone and EarPod headphones of power adapters, it cited its interest in “further reducing carbon emissions and avoiding the extraction and use of valuable materials, which allows for smaller and lighter packaging and allows 70% more boxes to be shipped on pallets.”

“Taken together, these changes will reduce more than 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year, which is equivalent to taking nearly 450,000 cars off the road per year,” Apple claimed at the time.

In its 2020 iPhone 12 Product Environmental Report [PDF]Apple said that based on “estimated production volumes” it expected that by getting rid of some accessories included with the iPhone 12 series, it would avoid “mining more than 600,000 metric tons [of] ore of copper, zinc and tin.”

However, the Brazilian government refutes this, saying Apple has only shifted the burden onto the consumer.

He also argued that if Apple was so concerned about the environment, it could do more, like make its iPhones support USB-C charging (a move Apple is rumored to be considering). In June, Anatel announced a proposal to make USB-C mandatory for phones sold in Brazil. The European Union has already passed legislation requiring USB-C charging on smartphones and other electronic devices by 2024. Meanwhile, some politicians are pushing for a similar USB-C strategy in the United States.

Finally, the Brazilian Federal Ministry noted that dropping chargers from iPhone cases does not reduce prices.

“Therefore, it is understood that the price is mainly determined by the business strategy instead of corresponding to the production costs,” the announcement reads, according to the Google translation.

Apple is expected to announce an iPhone 14 sold without a charger tomorrow at its Far Out event.

Ars Technica has contacted Apple for comment and will update this article if we receive a response.