Apple could be forced to make major changes to all of its portable devices under new EU law

iPhone battery being replaced
(Image credit: Future)

A new EU law targeting battery sustainability could force companies like Apple to ensure that portable batteries in devices like the iPhone and iPad will need to be much easier to replace, with plans to adopt performance and durability requirements in the future. 

The new EU law was adopted Wednesday in a sweeping vote, with 587 votes in favor, nine against, and 20 abstentions. EU MEPs endorsed the deal "to overhaul EU rules on batteries and waste batteries." 

A key aspect of this legislation, expected to take effect over the next few years, entails "designing portable batteries in appliances in such a way that consumers can themselves easily remove and replace them."

Replaceable batteries

That batteries should be easily removable and replaceable will be a requirement three and a half years after the legislation comes into force. The legislation doesn't specify what devices this includes but the inclusion of devices like phones and tablets seems like a no-brainer. 

Apple does offer a Self Service Repair program for its iPhones, MacBooks, Mac desktops, and some Apple display models. However, the process is anything if easy and convenient. 

Apple offers genuine parts at a Self Service Repair Store online, and customers can buy components like cameras, displays, and batteries to do their own repairs. Apple says the process "is intended for individuals with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices" and people "experienced with the complexities of repairing electronic devices," a far cry from the EU's leanings here. 

It's also not cheap, a battery bundle for the iPhone 12 costs $91, although you can get around half of that back by returning the old battery for credit. You'll also need to rent Apple's tool kit, which costs $49 for seven days. The kit is just shy of 80 pounds, and begs the question as to whether shipping all that gear to your house is more convenient than just going to your local Apple store. It certainly doesn't seem to be more sustainable. 

This legislation won't have any impact on the upcoming iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, but it could see iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks of the future far more suited to user-friendly repairs. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • FFR
    Doubt it.
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    We’ll see how usb c goes
    Reply
  • Annie_M
    It has been annoying to have to use two different kinds of cables. I look forward to the day when all of my devices can use the same cable, even though it will be awhile!
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    I have no problems with the lightning cable,as I don’t have loads of devices with usbc final terminals ! ( have a couple of 30 pin jobs though ) I also have little problem with the waste from cables and transformers when you compare them with cars and white goods.
    Reply
  • Annie_M
    It will take a while for all devices made by Apple to be switched from lightning to USB-C. My husband is still using an iPhone 8, for crying out loud! LOL!
    Reply
  • Ledsteplin
    Annie_M said:
    It will take a while for all devices made by Apple to be switched from lightning to USB-C. My husband is still using an iPhone 8, for crying out loud! LOL!

    Is it the size, or home button he likes?
    Reply
  • Annie_M
    Ledsteplin said:
    Is it the size, or home button he likes?
    He doesn't like the size, because it's not a plus! He definitely wants the home button, and dislikes the concept of FaceID... we debate this A LOT! He's a "drive it til it dies" kind of guy, which is why he's clinging to it. Of course, he's going to need a new iPhone since his beloved 8 is not eligible for iOS 17. That, in his mind, is when his phone is declared "DEAD"!
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    Killeen92 said:
    Outside of iPhone and airpods, Apple uses USB-C for everything else. That's why lightning makes no sense.

    As I pointed out, I have no devices that use usbc at the sharp end.
    Reply
  • FFR
    Switched to MagSafe and haven’t looked back.
    Reply
  • EdwinG
    I use a Qi charger for my iPhone at home and USB type C everywhere else. My car only supports USB type C devices.

    Apart from my USB drive enclosure that I use once per year, I just do not have any USB type A devices 😅
    Reply