Easily replaceable smartphone batteries could be on the way back

The European Union has voted in favour of new rules requiring smartphone manufacturers to make DIY battery replacements easier.

In the latest efforts to give mobile users the ‘right to repair’ the EU wants to mandate easier replacement of batteries, with the new law coming into force in 2027.

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While the likes of Apple and Samsung have started to sell the tools and parts to enable users to pop a new cell into their smartphone, the process is far from easy to accomplish. The self-repairs aren’t recommended for inexperienced tech tinkerers and the bloc now envisions a return to the days where you can easily pop in a new battery rather than heading to a repair shop to get it done professionally.

“With 587 votes in favour, nine against and 20 abstentions, MEPs endorsed a deal reached with the Council to overhaul EU rules on batteries and waste batteries,” the European Parliament announced in a news release. “The new law takes into account technological developments and future challenges in the sector and will cover the entire battery life cycle, from design to end-of-life.”

The vote also covered digital passports for EV batteries, minimal levels of recovered materials from waste batteries and recycled materials in new batteries. For the replacements, the announcement speaks of: “Designing portable batteries in appliances in such a way that consumers can themselves easily remove and replace them.”

However, the rules are unlikely to mean a return to the feature phone days of simply sliding off the back cover and popping out the battery. Smartphones have come a long way in recent years when it comes to protection against water and dust. Part of that durability boost derives from the secure, unibody designs.

The charges will likely to carry over for UK users. For example, Apple is widely expected to shift the iPhone 15 range to USB-C charging to comply with EU rulings on an industry standard charging solution.

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