EU Mandates Replaceable Batteries in Smartphones by 2027: A Global Game Changer

The European Union (EU) officially mandated that all smartphones, including iPhones, feature replaceable batteries by 2027. This regulation, adopted by the European Council, is aimed at reducing waste and dismantling monopolistic practices by tech giants such as Apple, Samsung, and Google, which often make it challenging for consumers to replace parts without purchasing a new device.

This move is seen as a significant victory for the right-to-repair movement. Although the regulation is specific to the EU, it is expected to have global implications. It would be impractical to manufacture two different versions of smartphones—one for Europe and another for the rest of the world. Hence, this regulation is likely to influence the global market, altering the design of smartphones for all users.

The new regulation stipulates that smartphones must be “removable and replaceable by the end-user,” implying that it should be simple for consumers to replace a battery without technical expertise. Manufacturers have until 2027 to modify their smartphone designs to comply with this EU law. The regulation applies to all batteries, including those in electric vehicles and e-bikes, with the aim of fostering a “circular economy” where waste batteries can be recycled and reused to power electronics.

Furthermore, the regulation requires smartphone manufacturers to recover 50 percent of lithium from waste batteries by 2027, increasing to 80 percent by 2031. Manufacturers will also be required to label batteries with their internal components, the amount of recycled material, and a QR code. Therefore, within five years, consumers should be able to replace their batteries without any hassle.

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