Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Smartphone news

New EU regulation could mean the return of easily replaceable smartphone batteries

EU Parliament has voted to ban the need for special tools to access phone batteries

Batteries in phones used to be very easy to get at — back in the day, you just had to give your rear panel a slight tug to get at the battery, which then popped right out. This changed over time, bringing us sleeker handsets at the cost of battery accessibility, sealing things up tight with lots of glue and just generally discouraging any attempt at DIY repairs. But now EU Parliament is doing something about that, passing regulation that promises to make batteries once again easy to access and service.


A new EU law will encourage users to replace batteries on their phones themselves by making it easy to access and remove the battery (via The European Parliament voted nearly unanimously to ban the use of adhesives and force companies to make devices that allow users to “easily remove and replace” batteries.

This is just one part of a broader strategy to make batteries not just more friendly to the environment, but also to their users. Not employing adhesive means users can replace batteries themselves. The new law restricts manufacturers from selling phones that require special tools or a training to open the phone to replace or access your battery. It will take some time before all this is ready to be enforced, so don’t expect sweeping change until at least 2027.

There’s a chance we could also see this regulation impacting the use of adhesives in other parts of phone manufacturing. One analysis suggests this could discourage companies from gluing all their display parts together, making repairs more economical — and environmentally friendly. Older battery collection should also improve, with the collection target for portable batteries rising from 45 percent to 73 percent by 2030.

This kind of ruling has the potential to have a huge effect on phones being sold in markets even outside the EU. Rather than spending the money to build phones differently for everyone, perhaps manufacturers will just universally embrace the new construction guidelines. We’ve also been wondering if something similar will happen with the EU’s effort to enforce USB-C as the standard for charging all phones — whether Apple likes it or not.


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