The European Union (EU) has passed new legislation that will require smartphone manufacturers to make their devices’ batteries easily replaceable by consumers.
The new rules, which were approved by the European Parliament on June 14, are part of a broader package of measures aimed at improving the design, production, and recycling of all rechargeable batteries sold within the EU.
According to the legislation, portable batteries used in devices such as smartphones, tablets, and cameras must be “replaceable with no tool, a tool or set of tools that is supplied with the product or spare part, or basic tools.” The process for replacement must also be able to be carried out by a layman.
The legislation also stipulates that spare parts must be available for up to seven years after a phone’s release and that manufacturers must provide information on how to safely remove and replace batteries.
The new rules are expected to come into effect in early 2027. However, according to The Verge, there’s another legislation called the Ecodesign for Smartphones and Tablets that outlines similar rules about smartphone batteries that could take effect in June or July 2025.
The legislation will pose a major challenge for smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung, which have been known for sealing their batteries inside their devices requiring specialized tools and expertise to access them.
Apple has already been forced by the EU to switch from its proprietary Lightning port to a standard USB-C port on its iPhones, starting with the iPhone 15 expected to launch later this year.
The EU’s new policies on batteries are part of its wider efforts to reduce its environmental impact and achieve climate neutrality. The bloc has also set targets for collecting waste and recovering materials from old batteries, as well as minimum levels of recycled content in new batteries.