In a significant stride towards consumer rights, the European Union (EU) has voted in favor of new regulations that mandate smartphone manufacturers to facilitate simpler do-it-yourself (DIY) battery replacements.
This proactive measure seeks to address the escalating demand for enhanced repairability and longevity of mobile devices. Anticipated to be enforced by 2027, this legislation has the potential to reintroduce easily replaceable smartphone batteries as the prevailing standard.
Although companies like Apple and Samsung have made limited efforts to provide tools and parts for users to replace their smartphone batteries, the process remains arduous and is not recommended for inexperienced individuals — the EU, on the other hand, envisions a user-friendly approach that empowers users to effortlessly install new batteries themselves, eliminating the need to visit professional repair shops.
With an overwhelming majority of 587 votes in favor, nine against, and 20 abstentions, the European Parliament has announced its support for a comprehensive agreement with the Council to revamp EU regulations pertaining to batteries and waste batteries. This new legislation takes into account technological advancements and future challenges in the sector, encompassing the entire lifecycle of batteries from design to end-of-life.
The legislation also covers digital passports for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, ensuring the utilization of recovered materials from waste batteries and promoting the integration of recycled materials in new battery production. Concerning replacements, the official announcement highlights the necessity of designing portable batteries in appliances in such a way that consumers can easily remove and replace them.
Don’t expect removable back parts
It is important to note that these rules are unlikely to herald the return of feature phones, where users could effortlessly slide off the back cover and swap out the battery — modern smartphones have made significant advancements in terms of water and dust resistance, featuring secure unibody designs that enhance durability and protection.
The impact of these regulations is expected to extend to UK users as well, as manufacturers are likely to adhere to these standards across different markets. Speculation suggests that Apple might transition the iPhone 15 series to USB-C charging to comply with the EU’s standardized charging solution mandate.
By taking this proactive step, the EU is not only advocating for consumer rights but also fostering sustainability in the tech industry. This initiative could establish a precedent for other regions globally to follow suit. The ease of replacing smartphone batteries may soon become a crucial consideration for manufacturers, leading to a future where mobile devices can be easily repaired, reducing electronic waste, and increasing customer satisfaction.