Your next iPhone might have a removable battery, whether Apple wants one or not

iPhone battery
iPhone battery (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A leaked document suggests the European Commission may force manufacturers to use removable smartphone batteries.
  • It would mean companies like Apple would have to ensure a phone battery could be removed by the user.
  • The plan would hopefully reduce wastage of batteries.

A leaked document from the European Commission suggests the body may be planning to force manufacturers to make it easier to replace the battery of electronics such as smartphones.

According to TechRadar:

Are you constantly annoyed that your smartphone battery dies before the rest of the phone? Angry about the wastage that creates? Well, leaked EU proposals could force smartphone manufacturers to to make all batteries removable.That would mean that all brands wanting to sell in the EU would have to make sure each phone has a battery that can be removed by the user - and that even would include Apple, the company most resistant to legislation around its iPhone designs, if attempts to make it change ports in the past is anything to go by.

Dutch outlet Het Financieele Dagblad claim to have seen a copy of the European Commission's circular draft economy plan.

The EU has been stamping its feet a lot regarding standardization and the reduction of waste in electronics, recently voting overwhelmingly to standardize charging.

The document also reportedly makes provision for the collection of batteries from old devices and more sustainable production of batteries. Any change to the law would of course only affect devices sold in EU territories, however, that still makes up a substantial customer base for companies like Apple with prominent presences in France, Italy, Germany, Spain and more.

These are of course draft proposals, so any firm legislation is a long way off and still subject to approval.

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

  • Not really sure why this is an issue, many phones have replaceable batteries even if it's not as easy as popping the back off like in the mid 2010's Android stuff. Personally for me I think water resistance/proof is more important than easy battery replacement. I'd rather just see them make the phone slightly thicker and put a much higher capacity battery in that can last longer. You know, kind of like what they did with the 11 Pro Max. I actually have to struggle in my daily use case to get mine below 75% with the caveat that it goes on a USB cable for my short commute (15 minutes one way) both in morning/evening and most lunches so it does get a bit of charge from that.
  • That can still be done and still have an easily removable battery. The issue is not battery life for useage, it's battery life over a long term. They are not worried about swapping out batteries on a daily batteries, but make it user serviceable to swap them out with relative ease. Like, the iphone having to screws down near the port like it has now, and just have a slide off back after these two screws are removed. Pop in a new battery, and bam, screw the thing back together and have a new battery in your phone to last another 3 years. Makes 100 percent sense, and ease if apple really wanted to do it. Thanks to the EU, they may be forced to. Apple come talk to me about this.
  • I think having a replaceable battery would suck. It would impact the design and make it less water resistant. I have no problems with my iPhone battery. I see other people charging their phones at their desks. I have never had a need to do that with my iPhone, ever. It works fine all day long. You are trying to solve a problem that does not exist.
  • The problem does exist because batteries are a consumable item, not everybody wants to change their phone every few years. Devices should be built to last as long as possible, and making the battery replaceable means that the device can last a really long time
  • As long as there is a quick inexpensive battery replacement program available I am good. As batteries usually last 3+ years, I don't see the issue. heck, regulate that the manufacturers must include one or two free battery replacements for each piece of hardware and the "problem" is solved.
  • That would be fine if every town had an apple/whatever store in them.