It’s official: smartphones will have to have replaceable batteries by 2027

nokia g22 57 battery replacement

Scott Scrivens / Android Authority


  • The European Council concluded the procedure for adopting standards for telephones with replaceable batteries.
  • By 2027, all phones released in the EU must have a battery that the user can easily replace without tools or skills.
  • The regulation intends to introduce a circular economy for batteries.

In mid-June, we shared a news story about the future of replaceable batteries in smartphones. That report focused on the European Parliament’s vote to enact a law requiring manufacturers of all battery-powered devices, including smartphones, to offer easily replaceable batteries.

This week the European Council officially approved the new regulation. Now, the only step left is for the European Council and Parliament to sign on the dotted line. Once they do, the clock starts ticking: any manufacturer that wants to sell phones in the EU must ensure those phones have replaceable batteries by 2027.

Phones with replaceable batteries: what does this law mean?

The European Council has jurisdiction only over Europe, of course. So this law will technically have no effect anywhere else in the world.

However, that doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Companies like Samsung, Google, Apple, etc., do not design specific devices for Europe. Apple, for example, won’t make a European iPhone with a replaceable battery and a US one without. In other words, this law will change all iPhones. It will also change all tablets, laptops, electric vehicles, e-bikes and anything else with a rechargeable battery.

The grace period between now and 2027 is to give OEMs enough time to re-engineer their products. This new law specifically states that users should be able to replace a battery in their phone without special skills or tools. Given that nearly all smartphones today are designed as a glass sandwich that relies on extensive use of adhesives, the fundamentals of how companies design phones will need to change.

It’s still too early to tell how this law will change iPhones, Galaxy S phones, Pixels, etcWant change in response to this law, which is big news.

What is the purpose of this law?

This law exists to force manufacturers to create a circular economy for batteries. A circular economy refers to a model of production in which inputs are recycled or reused as much as possible. In a perfect world, the resources needed to make a smartphone would 100% come from older smartphones, so you would never need to use anything new. Obviously, the 100% figure would be practically impossible, but getting very close to 100% is a very realistic goal.

Here are some other rules covered by this new law regarding phones with replaceable batteries:

  • Rubbish collection:OEMs will need to collect 63% of portable batteries that would normally go to landfill by the end of 2027. By the end of 2030, that number is expected to be 73%.
  • Waste recovery:Recovery of lithium from used batteries is expected to be 50% by 2027. By the end of 2031, it is expected to be 80%, meaning that 80% of the lithium inside a battery can be recovered and reused for new batteries.
  • Recycling Minimums:Industrial, SLI and EV batteries will need to consist of certain percentages of recycled content. Initially, this will be 16% for cobalt, 85% for lead, 6% for lithium and 6% for nickel.
  • Early Recycling Efficiency Target: Nickel-cadmium batteries are expected to have a recycling efficiency target of 80% by the end of 2025. All other batteries are expected to reach a 50% efficiency target by 2025.

What happens now?

We probably won’t see any changes this year. However, in the next few years, you’ll likely start to see smartphones with slightly different designs as manufacturers move towards compliance with this new law. It will be years before manufacturers have the blueprints, supply chains and equipment needed to create phones with replaceable batteries at scale.

Remember that consumers have come to expect certain things from smartphones these days, which means OEMs can’t just go back to the old way of doing things. An IP68 rating would be very difficult to achieve while offering a higher quality device with an easily replaceable battery, for example. These are the hurdles OEMs will have to overcome to be compliant.

Regardless, things are going to be very different in a few years!

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