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Why Didn’t My Smartphone Come With A Brick?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Climate change isn’t a new topic in today’s “woke” world, and certainly won’t cease to exist in the near future (sadly). Even with these big summits and promises from world leaders and various companies, nothing is actually achieved from them, with evasion being the main tactic. Unfortunately, that has now breached our smartphone world and will likely envelop the entire industry within the next few years. Beginning with the iPhone 12 series and continuing with the 13 as well as Google’s Pixel 6 series and Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series, tech companies are now excluding the brick from the device box, citing that it’s better for the environment. The only company that this is really reasonable with is Google, and this is why.

The brick is the plug that you plug into the wall outlet to charge your phone, tablet, laptop, or anything else that needs to be plugged-in to work. 

Even though it probably is a good thing Apple took away the brick for their latest iPhones, they did this for the wrong reasons. One of the major features of the iPhone 12 and 13 are fast charging capabilities, which is only possible with specific cables and plugs. However, the reason for the removal of the plug in the box is because we probably already have the plug to at least charge the device at home. Wrong. The new devices use a new charging cable which requires a new plug as well to even work. Instead, they try to entice you with the $25 fast charging brick or the $40 MagSafe wireless charger, even after you spent probably a crazy amount of money already on the device. 

I know, I know, a typical Android user throwing shade at Apple. However, Apple isn’t the only company to do this. Samsung did the same thing with the Galaxy S21 series, and so did Google with their highly anticipated Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. However, they differ from Apple because they at least have been preparing us for the change well before. The S21 came with the same cable from the S20, just minus the plug. Same with Pixel phones, only they’ve been doing that since the original Pixel in 2016. The trend hasn’t slowed down yet either, with Chinese brands Huawei (pronounced “wah-way”) and Xiaomi (“sh-ow-mee”) jumping on the bandwagon. The only brand I haven’t seen follow this trend is OnePlus, which not many people have heard of, but are great devices overall. Though they are only available at OnePlus.com, T-Mobile or Verizon. Sorry AT&T users!

What Can I Do To Prevent E-Waste?

STOP BUYING EVERYTHING NEW! Believe it or not, a renewed device will not harm your social status, your relationships with friends, family or that special someone, nor will it harm you or explode (unless you have a Galaxy Note 7, then you want to get rid of that immediately). Buy refurbished phones from locals, decltuttr.com, phone repair shops, or even the manufacturers themselves. Some carriers also have some refurbished phones available to purchase. For charging cables and plugs, ask your friends to see if they have one you can have first! No shame in using a Samsung or LG plug for your iPhone, or even vice versa. If no one has one, check your local charity shop to see if they have one. If they don’t either, buy a cheap-ish braided one from Walmart or check out VOLTA. What is VOLTA? One cable that can magnetically connect to small pieces you just plug in to your phone, tablet, laptop, or even earbuds. You can save money from frayed chargers and extra chargers for all your devices, thus reducing E-waste and saving the planet! 

Hopefully this will help any tree huggers and techies alike!

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Ky Gough

Oswego '25

Hey, I'm Ky! (he/they). I'm from Wales, UK and I'm a transfer freshman at OU studying Journalism. :)
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