Phone Batteries Must Be Replaceable

John Lister's picture

Phone manufacturers may soon have to offer replaceable batteries in handsets. The rules have been approved by European politicians but could create enough hassle for manufacturers that they follow the measures worldwide.

The change, approved overwhelmingly by the European Parliament, is part of an overall package to reduce the environmental impact of batteries. Other measures include minimum requirements for the levels of recycled material in new batteries along with the amount of material that can be recovered when the batteries go to waste.

The precise wording has yet to be finalized, but the announcement of the vote referred to a requirement of "Designing portable batteries in appliances in such a way that consumers can themselves easily remove and replace them." (Source:

Move Follows Charging Port Changes

The vote was on a regulation meaning that once its formally published, it automatically has legal effect in 27 countries. However, it's likely there will be a delayed deadline before the replaceable battery requirement takes effect in new devices.

Phone manufacturers will be left with three choices: abandon much of the European market; produce different handsets for Europe and elsewhere; or make batteries replaceable for all handsets. Apple already faces a similar choice over forthcoming European rules that require a USB charging port rather than just Apple's proprietary Lightning charge format. (Source:

Vehicle Batteries Also in Spotlight

The topic of battery replacement has proven controversial, with manufacturers arguing that they don't want the risk of people putting low quality third-party batteries in phones and creating a safety risk. Critics believe manufacturers are more interested in making money by requiring users to pay for an expensive replacement service or even buying a new handset when battery life starts degrading.

Being able to hold on to phones for longer could extend the environmental benefits of the new rules as it could reduce demand for all materials in handsets, not just the battery.

The new European measures also have special requirements for high-capacity batteries such as those used in electric vehicles including bikes and scooters. They'll need to come with details of their carbon footprint plus a "digital passport" that tracks how they were manufactured.

What's Your Opinion?

Is a replaceable battery a must-have feature when you choose a new phone? Have you ever disposed of a phone earlier than expected because you couldn't easily or affordably replace a battery? Should there be rules on this or should it be down to phone user to vote with their wallets?

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dbrumley3077's picture

I had an issue with the swelling of the battery in my iPhone 5. Apple was taken to court over this, and lost the case. They authorized the replacement of the battery in their service centers. I had this done to my phone, but to my astonishment, the new battery began swelling not long after its installation. Apple did not offer to replace it, and I was forced to pay for the replacement. About a year later, this battery began to swell; Apple did not offer to replace it (except at my cost), so I decided to ditch the entire unit. I replaced it with an iPhone 10 in December of 2018, and, so far, have had no issues with the battery.

repete_14444's picture

Sorry you had so many problems with your iPhone 5 batteries. 4 bad batteries?! If I were the judge, I'd order Apple to offer free phone replacements for you and others who had the same thing happen. I had an Android (Nexus 5x) that had a swell battery, too ;) After having an authorized service center replace it, the GPS went haywire and the service personnel said it was a software issue. The phone locked up shortly afterwards and I bought a new one (NOT a Nexus).I hope the manufacturers make batteries replaceable for all handsets.

Unrecognised's picture

I'm amazed at the number of chances you've given them. They must know we're practically a captive audience.

philipreeves46's picture

Horray for Europe. They get things done. They' re not so worried the other party will get the credit fo r doing something good.

nate04pa's picture

For most of time batteries were used to power devices, they were replaceable. I had a flip phone with an easily replaceable battery.

I am quite sure that many perfectly good phones are discarded because the battery is not easily replaceable. Yes, replaceable batteries may make the phone thicker and a bit heavier but I would readily trade that for being able to buy a new and install a new battery when the time comes.

ronangel1's picture

I NEVER buy a phone that I can't remove and simply change the battery without tools! Could cost a small fortune if it happens at the wrong time. And carrying a spare fully charged battery when traveling to swap out rather than finding a charging point, or carrying power packs.

Chief's picture

Like most readers of Infopackets, I am a techie-type person.
So, before I purchase something major (and I'm not an early adopter) I research it carefully.
As I work in customer returns, I see people constantly returning absolute low-priced garbage and complaining about it. My question is why did you buy it???? They shop for the lowest price and do not read reviews, apparently.

Having removable batteries may allow the phone manufacturer to place the burden on the battery provider, which could make the landfill issue even worse if the phone manufacturer simply provides the phone and forces the user to purchase the battery.

This might be good for an end user who pays attention to battery reviews and quality but the average end-user will buy price - and complain when the junk battery destroys the phone.

But should it be regulated?
Caveat emptor!

Unrecognised's picture

Maybe regulation could be set up to encourage manufacturing quality and discourage the built-in obsolescence that rules the world presently.

chergray3_4822's picture

It won't make any difference. The phone giants will just do what Microsoft did, and stop supporting the phones after 12 months so that replacing the battery simply exposes all owners to unacceptable security vulnerabilities: I still have an as-new Microsoft phone with a replaceable battery that cannot be used safely because Windows 10 Mobile is no longer supported. Apple does the same with every model. It's all about profits and absolutely nothing to do with customer value or convenience. I applaud the EU, but don't like their chances of this helping consumers. :(

gmthomas44_4203's picture

I bought two used original Apple SE's several years ago for me and my wife and have replaced the batteries in both with relative ease. Also, I have updated both whenever a new OS comes out and have never had any problems, except for not being able to use new features not available to these phones. I'm no brain surgeon or rocket scientist but common sense lets me 'Google' how to replace the battery on youtube.

imallett_8441's picture

I had a Galaxy S5 which had replacable batteries. I got through 3 during its life. Since then I also had a Note 8 and an S21 with glued in batteries. I kept the S5 at a back-up/spare phone. It finally died about 6 month ago. That, I believe is how mobile phones should last. I doubt I will have the S21 as long!

Chuckster's picture

Replaceable batteries and universal charging ports should have been gov't mandated features on the entire cell phone industry when they first came out. Now we're too busy worrying about how the unknown and unpredictable realm of AI will impact us. Writing rules and regulations to protect us...???? We know too well Congress doesn't have the aptitude, brains, or expertise to do this. That only leaves the self-serving interests of protective experts from Google, Apple, M$, and other allies to tell us how to do it just like online advertising and search algos.
Apple alone has had so many proprietary charging cables that a couple hundred million of them are now uselessly sitting in drawers, desks, landfills, and roadsides. Many of these same people ranting about fabricated climate change, carbon taxes, and the lies about how CO2 is killing our planet have no true sense of ecology and preservation. They continually bury old tech in growing mountains of trash, drowning the land and seas as it accumulates as we deplete earth's resources. In truth, the earth is merely moving from one long natural climate cycle to the next every few millenia. The truth, not the lies from the profiteering carbon elitists.
Might surprise you, but based on Antarctic ice cores dating back thousands of years, we are at one of the lowest CO2 levels in known climate history. Some credible theories are emerging with CO2 levels continuing this low could affect our ability to grow plants and food. Enter our savior and fake food financing guru, Bill Gates.... to rescue us or profit from it.

All we're doing is contributing one disposable thing for another adding to the growing mountain ranges of toxic landfills near our cities. This is old tech that will not rot, rust, decay, or can easily be recycled so they keep building more landfills to hide the trash.