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Smartphone Batteries Must Be User-Replaceable by 2027, Says EU
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Smartphone Batteries Must Be User-Replaceable by 2027, Says EU

by Low Boon ShenJune 19, 2023
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Smartphone Batteries Must Be User-Replaceable by 2027, Says EU

Smartphone Batteries Must Be User-Replaceable by 2027, Says EU

Image: iFixit

Good news for right-to-repair: EU’s European Parliament has approved new ruling that “portable batteries”, of which includes smartphones, tablets and cameras, must provides a means for users to “easily remove and replace”, mandating all smartphones manufactured beyond 2027 must contain user-replaceable batteries.

User replaceable batteries were very much a thing among smartphones – but the design slowly faded out of relevance as smartphone makers preferred ingress protection over ease-of-access of internal components, and some has gone with drastic measures to prevent users or even 3rd party repair shops from accessing it (Apple is particularly notorious for this).

The new rule meant that all the methods used to prevent user repairs, such as specialized screws and glues, will no longer be allowed in the design of the device. While there is a valid rationale gluing the chassis shut for better water resistance, phones had achieved water resistance while still keeping the battery removable – Samsung’s Galaxy S5 used to be IP67-rated and still retained removable battery designs. Still, this meant that smartphone makers, including Samsung themselves, will have to rethink on smartphone designs. EU will allow manufacturers more time should the design proved to be difficult, however.

Smartphone Batteries Must Be User-Replaceable by 2027, Says EU 30

Galaxy S5. Image: Samsung

The rule has received overwhelming support in the European Parliament, with 587 seats voted in favor, leaving just 9 against the ruling and 20 abstentions. While this rule applies only within the EU region, it’s unlikely that smartphone makers would create a different design specifically for different markets, as this may cost more to develop with the extra tooling involved. Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15 should demonstrate such transition in design – which also happened to be the result of another EU ruling mandating the use of USB-C, making the proprietary Lighting port obsolete.

Pokdepinion: Big win for consumers. Took a whole continent just to make this happen huh?

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Low Boon Shen
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