EU may soon require smartphone companies to include removable batteries

Removable batteries - Person removing battery from smartphone

A new law could mean that device makers have to bring back this long-eliminated feature.

A new EU law might mean that smartphone companies will be required to make their products with removable batteries.

The law is meant to make it easier for people to keep their product and replace only the battery.

The removable batteries law was created to make it easier for consumers to replace the power packs in their products. This is a part of a broader effort being made in the EU to extend the lifespan of rechargeable devices such as smartphones and tablets, thereby reducing e-waste.

Removable batteries - Smartphone EU flag

For smartphone companies, this could mean that it could become more challenging to continue to sell their products in the European Union, since none of the major brands offer devices with power packs that are simple for a consumer to replace on their own.

Consumers have been struggling with the fact that they must replace their devices every few years, even if they still work perfectly well. The issue is that a rechargeable battery will only recharge so many times before it starts to lose its power and eventually becomes useless. In a smartphone that doesn’t allow that component to be easily replaced, this means that a consumer must buy an entirely new smartphone, generating e-waste.

Removable batteries were once quite commonplace in cell phones, and the EU wants them back.

The new law states that OEMs need to design their devices in a way that will make it possible for the average consumer to be able to easily remove and replace a battery. This means that in order to swap out the power pack, a consumer should not need any special tools, adhesives, other products or skills. Though the law applies to many rechargeable devices, it is mainly targeting smartphones and tablets.

The majority of the European Parliament (587) voted in favor of amending an existing law to require companies to design their products in this way. Only nine voters in the European Parliament were opposed to mandating the removable batteries in all electronic devices. This decision follows one from last year, which is mandating electronics makers to use a universal USB-C charger, instead of proprietary cables.

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