Should the iPhone Have a Removable Battery? The EU Says Yes!

iPhone Power!

The European Union is known to be a little more hard core than North American regulators. Just ask Microsoft about their Windows monopoly fines, or Apple about iTunes pricing and DRM. Now, however, Apple Insider reports that the EU might just be getting ready to fire another shot across Apple's bow with a "New Batteries Directive" that says power cells must be "readily removable":

Gary Nevison, writing for New Electronics, said [PDF] "the requirement is clearly intended to ensure that users can remove batteries by opening a cover by hand or after removal of one or two screws. The producer will also have to provide the user with details on how to remove the battery safely."

Of course, Apple and their design guru, Jonathan Ive, have long weighed the extra juice -- and clean lines -- of a single, integrated unit, so this may cause no end of frustrations in Cupertino. (Though the iPhone 3G does, of course, sport two new screws at the bottom, the battery removable process could still never be mistaken for "ready").

What do you think? Removable batteries a plus for consumers and the environment? Or a harbinger of less sleek, less iconic iPhone designs? Is it better to look good, or be good?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 13 comments. Add yours.

s2by10 says:

I think the iPhone should have a removable battery. I'm sure they can still make it sleek. Nothing's impossible.

pp says:

How is changing batteries any easier than keeping an already pretty long-life battery charged?

striatic says:

"How is changing batteries any easier than keeping an already pretty long-life battery charged?"
That's not at all what this is about. All batteries drop drastically in performance over time. Eventually, every iPhone out there will become a brick, solely for this reason. Replaceable batteries increase the longevity of devices. This is good for the environment but bad for manufacturers, since they will sell fewer replacement devices due to battery fatigue.

frog says:

If a replaceable battery would mean less battery life on the iPhone, then I'm fine the way it is.
I've never needed to change a battery on an iPod!

Terry says:

I think they should make removable batteries.

eric d. says:

It has a removable battery, you just need to send it in.
Plus I am sure that there will soon be a web site and company that will do this for you, if there isn't already.

anon says:

Some executives and politicians want to be able to remove it to ensure there isn't eavesdropping going on. Europeans are very aware of this danger, esp. Germans. We Americans seem blissfully unaware of this capability.

scott says:

anon.......thats correct.Call a number, put the phone on speaker, drop in in a pocket or purse....walk into a room and the entire conversation can be heard by the person called. I have been in meetings where just turning off the phone was not enough......pull the battery and place it on the table....this is the new "wire tap" now....place a call, phone on speaker, phone in pocket, all is heard. As to the battery, since on the 3G it is already a "drop in", all that is needed is a method / instructions on how to open the case. Maybe a snap open case?? And why would they have to change anything?? It is the same battery....

ansars says:

it's a must we need removals battery or atleast a longer lasting battery. Current battery only lasts a day.

Frank4969 says:

iPhone battery lasting a day. Ha ha that is a laugh. I have never gotten any more than 7 hours out of it and average about 4 with everything off, but heavy Internet use. How about at least 8 hours. This is the worst battery on a phone I have ever had!!! Also at•t coverage stinks compared to verizon. I go to a lot of places where my wife has coverage with her phone but I get no bars. More bars in more places, where in east jabib!

chad says:

The battery on the iphone does suck. It would be nice if I could use it in the evenings without having to plug it in. I want to be able to change batteries.

Cat says:

Maybe "removable" is not equal to "replaceable"? There are battery removal instructions in the manual for my Philips electric shaver. However, the batteries are not replaceable because they are soldered to the printed circuit board inside the shaver. These battery removal instructions warns not to remove the battery except when disposing of the shaver and not to connect the shaver to the mains after the batteries have been removed.

Gerardo says:

If Apple does not make iPhone 5 with a removable battery FORGETT IT I will change to another device. I am sick of APPLE MANIPULATING LITTLE TRICKS