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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The EU aims to restore easily replaceable phone batteries

A hot potato: Remember when practically every smartphone had an easily replaceable battery? It is something you rarely see these days, but that could change if a draft proposal from the European Commission were approved.

A few years have passed since most (but not all) companies started making phones with fixed and non-removable backs, which means replacing batteries has become a very difficult task. It brought benefits such as better waterproofing and larger batteries, but not everyone was happy with the change. However, the EU could soon force manufacturers to simplify battery replacement.

The Dutch financial publication Het Financieele Dagblad (via XDA Developers) writes that the draft plan covers wireless phones, tablets and headphones. Since replacing batteries in modern smartphones is very difficult and risky, the EU believes that making them easily replaceable will prolong the life of a device, thus generating less electronic waste.

Samsung’s Galaxy XCover Pro: one of the rare modern smartphones with a removable battery

It is reported that Frans Timmermans, vice president of the “Green Deal” at the European Commission, will present the plan in mid-March. It also includes proposals to increase warranty periods, apply wider product recycling, facilitate the search for repair instructions and a European-wide collection system for unwanted consumer electronics. Timmermans also wants an EU ban on the destruction of unsold electronic items, which will encourage the reuse of raw materials and reduce waste exports to other countries.

Just a few weeks ago, the EU voted to force manufacturers to adopt a common standard (USB Type-C) for wired and wireless chargers, another way of reducing electronic waste. Apple, which still uses the Lightning connector for its iPhones, is not happy with the decision and has claimed that it “represses innovation” and would cause inconvenience to millions of people.

It seems that many people would like to see easily removable batteries become the standard again. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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