New European Union law requires smartphones, laptops to have easily replaceable batteries

Jun 20, 2023

The European Union has passed a new law that requires smartphones to come with batteries that can be easily replaced by the user. The EU had initially submitted a proposal regarding the rules about 6 months ago.

The law isn't specific to mobile phones, it covers various types of batteries, including those in laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, electric vehicles, appliances, gardening tools, cordless power tools, etc. According to a PDF published by the EU, a portable battery will be considered to be user-removable when it can be removed with tools that are available commercially, and does not require specialized tools unless they have been provided free of charge. Any proprietary tools, thermal energy or solvents (heat guns), etc., are considered specialized tools.

European Union passes law requiring portable devices to have easily replaceable batteries

The European Union Parliament passed the law regarding the battery regulations a few days ago, with 587 votes in favor of the change. It has published some guidelines that OEMs will have to follow in order to comply with the law regarding the battery life cycle, design and end-of-life for portable batteries. There are a couple of reasons why the EU implemented the rules.

The main reason being it wants to reduce waste, and promote recycling. This could be very beneficial to protect the environment from chemicals. The other reason why the new law may be necessary is to help consumers, aka the end-user of the product.

Batteries for a phone may not be available a few years after a device has been launched. The manufacturer may have moved on to a different design, the spare parts may have been deprecated, etc. If an OEM battery is not available, a consumer may have to rely on third-party batteries, but not a lot of people do that. Instead, they may choose to abandon the device and buy a new one. This could add up to electronic waste, and is also an expensive ordeal.

EU wants user replaceable batteries on devices

Having user replaceable batteries has another benefit. Buying and replacing a battery at an official service center can be troublesome. But if you were able to buy and replace one yourself, you could avoid the hassle and also save some money. The main advantage here is that you could possibly hold onto your device for a few more years. We have seen reports of how battery degradation can result in poor performance of phones, sometimes due to throttling. A new battery could help improve the experience.

While the EU's law is a welcome change, this may come with a few caveats, which will mostly affect the companies that manufacture the devices. Many expensive phones have been designed to be waterproof, so it may not be easy for OEMs to create a device that allows users to pop-out the rear cover, remove the battery, slap a new one in, and close it just like that. It will be interesting to see how manufacturers handle the issue. This will also impact the markets globally, which is awesome.

The EU's battery regulations law is yet another win for consumers after sideloading in iOS and making USB Type C ports mandatory on portable devices, but the law will only come into effect in 2027. So don't expect Apple or Google or Samsung to immediately embrace the change. It may take a while for user-replaceable batteries to happen. Of course, the companies won't be happy to comply with it, and could appeal against it, or at least try to push the timeline a bit further.

New European Union law requires smartphones, laptops to have easily replaceable batteries
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New European Union law requires smartphones, laptops to have easily replaceable batteries
User-replaceable batteries in phones may soon become a reality thanks to a new law passed by the European Union.
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  1. Anonymous said on June 26, 2023 at 1:17 am

    “proprietary tools, thermal energy or solvents (heat guns)”

    Seriously, Apple ?

  2. Mystique said on June 21, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    @John G.

    Another factor is also people are fed up with their right to privacy being evaded by companies like facebook, google, twitter, tiktok etc etc.
    Google is accountable for a lot if not entirely accountable for what goes on within android so they are definitely responsible for a lot of violations. Some people were slow to catch on with the privacy/security issues but also are aware that they are being bled dry of their hard earned money by the minority of obscenely rich and entitled jackasses that care not for anyone but themselves and increasing their wealth whilst the rest of society suffers or are kept down into lower class or poverty.

    Class wars have just began really.

    If its not the street criminals its the corporate or political criminals no matter where you look.

    1. John G. said on June 21, 2023 at 3:46 pm


  3. Mystique said on June 21, 2023 at 7:44 am

    I don’t see how batteries are not going to be made available immediately but the question is are most people going to buy a spare battery straight away.

    I already know how this is going to pan out. Brands like samsung and apple will start inflating the prices of batteries to absurd amounts and/or lower their quality so you are constantly buying new ones thus making them money anyway which takes you back to the price of repair costs. I hear you say third party batteries but anyone that has tried to buy a decent third party battery will know that its a pipe dream as none of them were ever as good as the official OEM one.

    Absolutely removable batteries should be a thing and there is absolutely no reason why a laptop has to be designed to not have batteries that can be easily replaced. Much to the same as RAM and HDD/SSD. There is actually a laptop brand that is built around the concept of removable/replaceable (almost) parts modular if you will. Brands like Framework make laptops designed with this in mind. I believe Dell and Lenovo maybe have a few models like that too.

    The truth is brands/companies are out to make as much money as possible and do not care about anyone else so laws like this are needed to keep some sort of reasonable balance.
    I have two laptops, one I have to remove the entire bottom plastic plate to get to anything including ram whilst the other older one has a panel to access the ram but not much else.

    Easy access to fans on laptop should be an absolute priority as removing the dust and cleaning them out should be done monthly or once every few months. It shouldn’t be so hard.

    In regards to phones they will just do other things and make phones obsolete through artificial methods such as software or increase their planned obsolesence to other components to get you to buy another phone in short time.
    Why do you think you can’t use external storage (microsd cards) anymore. It’s not about the space needed for them its simply about the up-selling you larger capacity phones that are vulnerable to data loss when your phone just refuses to power up one day or becomes damaged.
    Why do you think brands like apple have cloud services that you also pay and subscribe to?
    It’s all a scam. Android have gdrive but of course that small free storage space is not going to be enough so google likely gives brands a kickback for storage sales through phone customers.
    Europe should also be pushing for external storage being mandatory too of you ask me. It does not impair the speed of the phone at all. Nobody is running system files off of a microsd card so having some videos, photos, documents etc on external storage does little to nothing to impair function and lets be honest microsd cards are not as slow as phone manufacturers are making out. Just a scam that they have been allowed to lie their way through with finely veiled excuses.

    Phone sales are down because modern phones suck and people are aware that they are being lied to

    1. John G. said on June 21, 2023 at 8:11 am

      @Mystique > “Phone sales are down because modern phones suck and people are aware that they are being lied to.”

      Modern phone sales are down because the bad protection and lack of security if robbed. Thieves can steal your phone in Amsterdam monday morning and one day later it’s working in any country at Africa, western europe or any other country with no EU laws. A phone should be completely disabled and useless with some kind of TPM technology like. In those days it’s completely madness to buy a phone over 150€, they will steal it soon or later for sure, all Europe is full of mafias.

  4. yanta said on June 21, 2023 at 3:27 am

    Can we also have laws that require manufacturers to not imbed gps’s that can’t be disabled. If I don’t want GPS tracking then I should be able to utterly, totally and permanently disable it.

    1. John G said on June 21, 2023 at 6:11 am

      They can track you without GPS, you know.

  5. VioletMoon said on June 20, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    For me, such a pointless law–where’s the victory?

    “European Union passes law requiring portable devices to have easily replaceable batteries.”

    And, as Ashwin pointed out, “Batteries for a phone may not be available a few years after a device has been launched.” By then, my old phone is long gone.

    Reality check: What is the average lifespan for a smartphone?

    Hey, I’m frugal to the point of parsimonious, but even I purchase a new phone every two years–minimum. The evolution of smartphone technology is such that a one-year-old phone is an incongruity in cyclical consumerism. [I don’t think phones are made to last much longer than a couple of years.]


    Maybe some law that batteries would be manufactured with a guaranteed 10 year lifespan with a warranty exchange/repair agreement. All new phones would have SOLAR and/or electric rechargeable batteries.

    That way, any time I’m out and about with my phone or laptop, the battery is, essentially, self-absorbing energy from the atmosphere–i.e. recharging.

    Bikes, too. Anything in this day and age should have an ultra-lightweight solar recharging option. Even a car. Think of all that sun going to waste as I drive across the Spanish countryside.

    Maybe Musk can bring such simplicity to the market.

    1. John G. said on June 20, 2023 at 6:26 pm

      Europe is not as good as you may think about promoting responsible behaviors, mainly considering that now the nuclear power plants are a promising “green alternative energy”. Solar energy is a good choice, however I have read at internet that: “France, with 56 operational reactors, is the European Union country with the most nuclear units. In France, 70% of its electricity is of nuclear origin, the highest percentage in the world.” Maybe Musk should invest first in flux capacitators.

    2. solar losar said on June 20, 2023 at 6:25 pm

      The lifespan of a mobile phone depends mostly on how you use it: for calling/texting/music/taking photos&videos/making notes/light gaming? I am using an S4 mini since it came out, no problems. If you wanna talk about “frugal”, that is frugal.

      If you’re using a phone as a straight up replacement for a desktop (that is, doing everything on the phone), then yeah you might need to buy a new phone every 1-2 years.

      A 10 year lifespan on a battery is just never gonna happen, a 10 year warranty for the original company to replace your battery, also never gonna happen. The best we ever got was: 1) easily replaceable batteries and 2) OEM sells batteries at fair rate, 3rd party companies sell compatible batteries even cheaper.

      Not every problem in the world can be legislated away, not every problem should be.

      Also “self-recharging” batteries for phones and laptops… really? Where are you going to put the solar panel on your phone? Genuine question. Same for a laptop, too. Plus, I may be wrong but it’s not good for a battery to always be constantly charging and discharging simultaneously.

      I think you overestimate the efficiency and practicality of solar panels. It’s common knowledge that they are 1) expensive, 2) take years to pay for themselves and 3) are practically unrepairable if they break or die. If you don’t like the sunshine going to waste, buy up that country-side land and invest in some big panels on it. You’ll soon see that it’s not all sunshine and roses, pardon the pun.

      1. VioletMoon said on June 21, 2023 at 4:13 pm

        @Solar–“Where are you going to put the solar panel on your phone? Genuine question. Same for a laptop, too. Plus, I may be wrong, but it’s not good for a battery to always be constantly charging and discharging simultaneously.”

        When I wrote the response, I glanced over at a solar lamp I have. For charging, the lamp uses a small, 8″ x 6″ solar panel [like years old technology] that I plug in and place next to a window with afternoon sun. The lamp is small, bright enough for evening work; the battery charges within a few hours after completely dead; and it only needs recharging once a week. I use it a few hours every night. If it’s that possible for a lamp, then I find the possibility for phones and laptops feasible and inexpensive.

        [My phone sets next to an outlet where I have the electric cord available for plugging in for recharging every other day. So I ask myself, “Why don’t I have a solar panel catching the morning sun instead?]

        From the vantage point where I now compose, “the efficiency and practicality of solar panels” indicates most small gadgets are prime time ready for solar.

        Residential, business, auto–?–but the RV solar market shows promise.

        “A 10 year lifespan on a battery is just never gonna happen” and only because our economy doesn’t work like that. The technology is available, but why would a company produce something efficient and economical to the consumer? No profit? Cliché, but “planned obsolescence” rules the market.

        Windows 11 is a good example; create an OS that requires everyone to purchase a new computer. Makes great for the technology stock sector.

        My little truck isn’t EV, but I think, “Oh my; it sets out there all day with wonder-filled ultraviolet energy flowing down from the most blessed Sun; and the way to harness all that energy exists, but, as a global culture, it’s simply too simple of a concept to accept and implement. No profit!

      2. Anonymous said on June 22, 2023 at 10:32 am

        Okay so you’re approaching this from pretty much a non-portable perspective. You are at home, and for some reason a desktop PC is not cutting it for you. I think you’ll find that the efficiency of a small light bulb that gets used 2 hours a day, and the power it needs, is much less than that of a constantly turned on device with a mobile-cpu, high refresh rate screen, network connectivity, etc.

        It also limits the portability of a phone significantly – what’s the idea? You set your phone down somewhere, and have it be plugged into one of these solar things? Well what a fuss that is, and it takes the “mobile” out of “mobile phone”. Plus, all the same “problems” apply with laptops, except a laptop takes even more power to run, so the benefits would be even further diminished.

        There are actually already solutions similar to what you’re describing, solar panels you can use to plug things into. Not sure if they have micro-usb or usb-c outputs, but I don’t doubt some do. Feel free to put to the test how this works – I think you’ll find it a hassle, and you’ll realise why most people don’t do this.

        Also, the idea that a “10 year lifespan battery doesn’t exist because the economy doesn’t let it” is silly. Yes we have planned obsolescence being a big trend, however there’s also a little thing called capitalism, and people love to make profit from taking a winning idea to the market. If someone could make a battery, that, using today’s tech, blows all the others out of the water, you could bet your butt that someone would have done it already. “The technology is available”, can you back that up, or do you just think it?

  6. lol said on June 20, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    Not good – any good thing, the last place I want it to come from is a bloated body such as the EU. I’ve made it really simple for myself, I simply don’t purchase un-repairable devices. Consumers are still able to vote with their wallet in this regard, but they just choose not to care.

    Companies have “legitimate” reasons for making things less repairable. For example, internal batteries can be smaller than easy-swap ones as they don’t need exterior casing – glue/adhesive is also easier to implement in a small design, without needing consideration for screws. Also easier to design waterproofing when you don’t have to worry about parts being removable/replaceable.

    People are really simple and don’t do much thinking, is it thinner/less clunky than last year’s model? is it shiny and cool looking? That is what 95% of people care about. Having to continuously buy new things when the old one breaks, spending more because you bought something which is planned obsolescence? I call that an idiot tax, I don’t have to pay it.

    Government bodies shouldn’t intervene with companies designing their tech products, same case with apple & lightning port, same thing here. No matter how well intentioned the governments are (in this case, far worse than any singular government, the EU), companies can act faster and circumvent nearly anything – they always find a way to make sure the end user foots the bill and ends up suffering the most. The only regulations need to be regarding safety, other elements of design are not for governments to dictate.

    1. Anonymous said on June 21, 2023 at 3:09 am

      lol on June 20, 2023 at 4:04 pm

      EU is not always that likable, but for the rest of your compulsive word diarrhea disorder doesn’t even address the positive thing of having the ability to change battery… you have probably never hold let say a Samsung S3 in your hand, sleek, thin AND with a replaceable battery, launched all the way back in 2012, but you probably were way too young back then?

      1. epic fail bro said on June 21, 2023 at 10:15 am

        That’s cute. Please read my reply to someone else on this page, under the nickname “solar losar”.

        Essentially, you couldn’t be more wrong: before settling on the S4 mini, I actually remember using a galaxy ace, and nokias before then – all of this is of course irrelevant to that which was written originally. Considering how quick you are to insult others as opposed to actually address what was written, you’re probably the young’un here. How about telling me what you disagree with, instead?

        Sure is easy to make yourself look foolish when you assume things…

  7. Adolf said on June 20, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    Of course they don’t want you to have some phone or laptop, etc for years and replace the batteries which is alot cheaper. They want us to keep buying and updating our devices at stupid prices.
    Same with TV’s. Remember when TV’s lasted at least 15 years. Get one now and screen starts crapping out after 18-24 months.

  8. Bent Cucumber said on June 20, 2023 at 10:50 am

    Hands up everyone that thinks waterproof is the most important thing in a phone… Not you, tiktok clown who takes selfies in the pool, you don’t matter. I bet apple are loving this, and the people at samsung whose batteries swell up after a short period of time. Nice to see the EU lawmakers doing something good for a change.

  9. Benjamin said on June 20, 2023 at 10:21 am

    Now the same is still missing from bicycles from the time when every bicycle had a dynamo to generate electricity and lamps that provided a front and rear light. Now a requirement that every bicycle must have an on board dynamo and standard electrical plugs to attach the myriad devices which modern cyclists must have besides light. This is a replacement for todays silly recharchable devices.

    1. stupidsolutionsinneedforanartificialproblem said on June 21, 2023 at 2:41 am

      @Benjamin on June 20, 2023 at 10:21 am

      Enforcing a dynamo on a bike is quite unnecessary and far from a good compromise, not all customers need one and would like to pay extra for it, some don’t want one because they can actually cause a substantial load making bicycling a too heavy burden which is the complete opposite of the enjoyment using bicycles outfitted with electric helper motor and battery.

      And what exactly is it you want to get powered from a bicycle dynamo while bicycling???
      At most people would use just a mobile phone on their bike for navigation, and mobile phones usually have battery life enough for most daily businesses, and if extra power is needed there are tons of extra battery packs, and the “standard plug” solution you sought after was already mentioned in the article, USB-C.

      “This is a replacement for todays silly recharchable devices.”

      So you would prefer to have your bicycle in your apartment to pedal on when needing to charge your devices, huh.. nuts! artificial

      1. Heiri.B said on June 21, 2023 at 10:13 am

        …some opposed catalytic converters or seat belts for cars…

    2. John G. said on June 20, 2023 at 10:49 am

      Dynamos are easy to replace with new ones, even the inner ones can be bypassed in short time.

  10. John G. said on June 20, 2023 at 9:57 am

    I like this law, however I don’t agree with the use of any tool to just remove a portable battery. A portable battery should be removed with no tool needed. My father’s laptop has a very removable battery, he can remove it with the fingers only. That’s removable. Anyway it’ a good step to avoid such current melted batteries. Thanks @Ashwin for this article! :]

  11. BaldEagle58 said on June 20, 2023 at 7:40 am

    AT LAST!
    Making batteries hard to remove is just a way to force you to buy a new phone after a few years.

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