EU Parliament Passes Bill for Replaceable Phone Batteries

Ten years ago, we could still use cell phones with replaceable batteries. At that time, spare batteries were sold in stores as an accessory. However, with the arrival of the iPhone, everything has changed. Apple set completely new rules for the game, and some things changed for the worse. Still, the return of replaceable batteries might be on the way.

At some point if time, Apple introduced a practice of gluing materials to attach components. That helped to make the device as thin as possible, but the first sacrifice was the battery. The new ones cannot be replaced, at least not by the average user. To change it in virtually any cell phone today, you have to go to a service center. Or possess special tools and skills to make the job done.

Return of replaceable batteries

However, it seems that this practice will soon change. At least if you ast the European legislators. They’ve been working on regulations in the field of technological products, and succeed in their new plan.

As a part of the broader right to repair program, there is a discussion about forcing manufacturers to return replaceable batteries. That is, the device needs to be built in such a way that no special tools or skills are needed to replace them.

Why is this EU regulation actually good?

This decision was almost unanimously accepted in the European Parliament yesterday. More precisely, it is a decision that prohibits the use of adhesive materials in joining components. This will automatically make the repair easier.

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This means that the battery will have to be inserted into the case in some other way. Because practically all of them are glued to the back of the display panel. If you recently took your cell phone to the service because of a cracked screen, you probably noticed that you got a new battery within. This is acceptable and even convenient while the device is under warranty. When it expires, replacing the screen will cost you almost half the value of the entire device, though.

This will certainly have an impact on the environment as well since fewer devices will be scrapped just because of exhausted energy sources. The return of replaceable batteries may help this problem as well. On the other hand, it will certainly make life harder for manufacturers. After all, no one forced them to further complicate the way mobile phones are made. According to some research conducted at the time, many users stated that they would sacrifice a few millimeters of device thickness for a replaceable battery.

Considering that only the EU makes this kind of regulation, it’s questionable how they will respond to this decision. Returning the production technology to the level of 10 years ago is not acceptable. So you should not expect that we’ll get mobile phones with a classic back cover again.

Is the return of replaceable batteries likely?

Anyway, manufacturers have enough time until 2027. to adapt their production plans and facilities to this decision. This means that we will most certainly be using mobile phones as we know them today. For at least another four years. What could phones look like in the future, remains to be seen. After the set deadline, manufacturers will have to find a way to face this challenge.

Maybe they invent some new concept of injecting and ejecting batteries as we do with SIM card slots now. Otherwise, they will certainly have to find some other way to obey pretty strict EU regulations.

It is not likely that manufacturers will produce different types of phone casings only for the European Union. So it’s logical to conclude that they will work hard to meet these requirements. Those might include a completely new approach to the casing system, which is obviously yet to be invented.


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