The EU aims to bring back easily replaceable phone batteries

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

It’s been a few years since most (but not all) companies started making handsets with fixed, non-removable backs, meaning swapping out the batteries became a very difficult task. It did bring benefits such as improved waterproofing and larger batteries, but not everyone was happy about the change. The EU, however, could soon force manufacturers to make battery replacements easier.

Dutch financial publication Het Financieele Dagblad (via XDA Developers) writes that the draft plan covers phones, tablets, and wireless headphones. As replacing batteries in modern smartphones is very difficult and risky, the EU believes making them easily swappable will extend the life of a device, thereby generating less e-waste.

Samsung's Galaxy XCover Pro—one of the rare modern smartphones with a removable battery

It’s reported that Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the ‘Green Deal’ at the European Commission, will be presenting the plan in mid-March. It also includes proposals for increasing guarantee periods, enforcing wider product recycling, making repair instructions easier to find, and a Europe-wide collection system for unwanted consumer electronics. Timmermans also wants an EU ban on the destruction of unsold electronic items, which will encourage the re-use of raw materials and reduce the waste exports to other countries.

It was only a few weeks ago that the EU voted to force manufacturers to adopt a common standard (USB Type-C) for wired and wireless chargers—another way of reducing e-waste. Apple, which still uses the Lightning connector for its iPhones, isn’t happy about the decision, and has argued it “stifles innovation” and would inconvenience millions of people.

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

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hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
Do I miss them? Nope.
Not with fast charging and 4000mAh+ batteries.

Maybe if you buy used phones, but most get their phone from their service provider. And the last thing the world needs is an excuse to make more batteries that probably never get recycled.

Want less e-waste? Fix existing recycling programs first. It's a mess!
 
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ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
"It did bring benefits such as improved waterproofing"

This is incorrect. Please do your research. The Galaxy S5 has both water resistance and a removable battery. Mine is sitting in front of me. You should also know better than there is no such thing as water "proof".

Thank you EU. I guess I will have to order one across the seas if it's only their country?
 

Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
I regard replaceable (and recyclable) battery as a key factor in purchase. Then again, my phone is over 8 years old (3rd battery - other 2 properly recycled at transfer station).

(hoping for a better life for my great-grandchildren...)
 

Reehahs

TS Evangelist
They would do lot better by forcing car manufacturers to aim for 10 year / 200K mile,s car life cycles and provide warranties covering the life cycle.
 

syrious01

TS Enthusiast
Nope, no need with fast charge. By the time your battery has become defective it's probably time to upgrade your device. Not to mention water resistance is a huge benefit of a sealed phone.
 

Axiarus

TS Evangelist
Nope, no need with fast charge. By the time your battery has become defective it's probably time to upgrade your device. Not to mention water resistance is a huge benefit of a sealed phone.
I use my phone constantly at work. Pixel 2. It has fast charging but since I use it all the time I have to charge it 2-3 times a day. The phone is still as snappy as when I got it and I have no reason to upgrade...except the battery has been messed up from all that charging. Id rather replace the battery than the phone.
 

antiproduct

TS Addict
As one of the several people with a phone that's over 2 years old, a replaceable battery would be much welcomed. I had to pay to have my phone battery replaced recently, but it did make a huge difference in the usability of the device.
The down side will be a market flooded with cheap (possibly bad) generic replacement batteries since users can replace them on their own, and OEMs will probably sell their batteries at a much higher price in order to recoup the money they make from batteries & replacements now. So in the end it possibly won't help the consumer much, unless they want to buy cheap knock off batteries. Hopefully they won't start exploding.
 
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tom111

TS Rookie
When the batteries are too easy to replace, people will buy several of them as a reserve and even more electronic waste will be produced.
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
When the batteries are too easy to replace, people will buy several of them as a reserve and even more electronic waste will be produced.
Which generates the most electronic waste?

1. Recyclable batteries
2. Throwing away an entire phone, including the battery

And, which is cheaper?

I don't know of anyone who buys multiple batteries cell phone batteries. Maybe one out of a thousand people? Less?
 

mosu

TS Evangelist
I'm for replaceable batteries and unified charging outlets, also I wish for smaller phones in the range of 5 inches. not 6 and for a single-camera setup on the rear of the phone. Big screens have a tendency to break easily. Not everybody is a photographer all day long.
 
I've also owned the waterproof Galaxy S5 @ShagnWagn mentioned, it was great. I think I replaced it's battery twice. My current texter is a sealed device with a 4. something mah, fast charge battery. I don't want to replace batteries again. Recycle!
 
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I wish for smaller phones in the range of 5 inches. not 6 and for a single-camera setup on the rear of the phone. Big screens have a tendency to break easily. Not everybody is a photographer all day long.
I hate big phones, and seldom take a picture with mine. I've almost completely stopped taking unexpected voice calls. Battery 'uptime' on a Galaxy S-10 is - long time.. heh
 

Adhmuz

TechSpot Paladin
They would do lot better by forcing car manufacturers to aim for 10 year / 200K mile,s car life cycles and provide warranties covering the life cycle.
Than buy a Mitsubishi, Hyundai or Kia, they come with 10 year warranties. Or buy a Honda or Toyota which don't even need the warranty to be 10 years as they'll last 20 if taken care of properly. Corrosion aside most cars can and will last longer than 10 years. My first Nissan lasted 15 years until I sold it still running great, my first Honda made it 18 years, sold that too but the clutch let go and the owner scrapped it, current Honda is 12 years old, after replacing wear and tear items the car runs and drives like new.

You'd be better off not buying lemons or whatever brand you're buying.
 
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p51d007

TS Evangelist
Oh, we can't have this! What would happen to the "glamour, style and color" of the glass back, if you slapped on a "cheap" plastic back cover? Oh the humanity!
I'd rather have a removable plastic back cover, with an easy to remove sim, SD, battery, than all this color and stylish fragile GLASS back garbage, that you end up covering with a soft plastic/rubber case.
 

boolves

TS Rookie
My present smartphone is the OnePlus 7 Pro and I am happy with it, though I would prefer if it could have a removable battery.

My previous phone was the LG V20 which had not only a removable battery, but the back cover had a nice latch to open it. Swapping batteries was a very easy and smooth task.

There is one question nagging me... HOW MANY SMARTPHONE OWNERS DO YOU KNOW THAT REALLY NEED WATERROOF SMARTPHONES?! COME ON! THIS IS A GMMICK!

My OnePlus phone has a large battery, but still, after a day of heavy use, I need to charge the battery, so I carry in a pouch, a power bank!

With a removable batteries smartphone, this wouldn’t be necessary, in the same pouch as the phone…
 

Hexic

TS Evangelist
TechSpot Elite
I could get to play my old favorite pastime of “How long can I keep the same phone with swapping out batteries” again.

When my old android hit almost 6 years and on its 4th battery replacement, it was almost a point of pride.
 
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yRaz

Nigerian Prince
Than buy a Mitsubishi, Hyundai or Kia, they come with 10 year warranties. Or buy a Honda or Toyota which don't even need the warranty to be 10 years as they'll last 20 if taken care of properly. Corrosion aside most cars can and will last longer than 10 years. My first Nissan lasted 15 years until I sold it still running great, my first Honda made it 18 years, sold that too but the clutch let go and the owner scrapped it, current Honda is 12 years old, after replacing wear and tear items the car runs and drives like new.

You'd be better off not buying lemons or whatever brand you're buying.
I have 274,000miles on my 2004 Honda CR-V. Still runs great
 

tom111

TS Rookie
Which generates the most electronic waste?

1. Recyclable batteries
2. Throwing away an entire phone, including the battery

And, which is cheaper?

I don't know of anyone who buys multiple batteries cell phone batteries. Maybe one out of a thousand people? Less?
Why do you want to throw the Phone away. The Battery can be changed.
 
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ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
There is one question nagging me... HOW MANY SMARTPHONE OWNERS DO YOU KNOW THAT REALLY NEED WATERROOF SMARTPHONES?! COME ON! THIS IS A GMMICK!
Every single person, including myself, who spends time in a boat or around water such as a pool, rainstorm, or falling into/splashed with a puddle, etc etc. It takes a lot of worry out by not having to cradle our phones around water. Water resistant phones have saved my bank account quite a few times, as well as others. :)

Why do you want to throw the Phone away. The Battery can be changed.
I guess, if you want to pay a ton of cash and not have the phone for a week. It also risks permanent damage and who knows what else. Most likely by the time it needs a new battery, doing it like this costs more than it's worth. A few months back I replaced the battery in my S5 for $10 and took about 10 seconds. It's like a brand new phone again. I can go nearly three days without a recharge. I'm sure you will reply with "do it yourself", but why should we? I have other things to do. Are you a repair shop guy making a ton of money on hardwired batteries?
 
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