New EU regulations mandate user-replaceable batteries in Apple products

Posted:
in General Discussion

Regulations approved by the European Council now mandate that companies, including Apple, must ensure that batteries in the iPhone and other products are replaceable by users.

European Council adopts battery regulation
European Council adopts battery regulation



The European Council has announced that it is adopting the new regulation on batteries and waste batteries. It sets stringent due diligence rules for operators who must verify the source of raw materials for batteries placed on the market.

The new regulation applies to all batteries, encompassing waste portable batteries, electric vehicle batteries, industrial batteries, and batteries used for light transport, such as electric bikes, e-mopeds, and e-scooters. It's designed to address the environmental impact of batteries at every stage of their life cycle.

These regulations are anticipated to affect companies like Apple, which market battery-powered products within the EU. However, it is expected that Apple, along with other companies, will resist the implementation of these regulations.

Currently, Apple has introduced an official Self Repair Program, enabling individuals to access the required parts and tools for repairing their devices, including battery replacements.

Fostering a Circular Economy



Central to the new rules is the promotion of a circular economy. The regulation sets out to manage batteries throughout their life cycle, establishing end-of-life requirements, including collection targets and obligations, targets for the recovery of materials, and extended producer responsibility.

Specific targets have been set for producers to collect waste portable batteries, with a goal of 63% by the end of 2027 and 73% by the end of 2030. There is also a dedicated collection objective for waste batteries for light means of transport, aiming for 51% by the end of 2028 and 61% by the end of 2031.

The regulation also sets ambitious targets for lithium recovery from waste batteries, aiming for 50% by 2027 and 80% by 2031. It further mandates minimum levels of recycled content for industrial, SLI, and EV batteries, underscoring the commitment to recycling and resource recovery.

Enhancing Consumer Rights and Information



In a significant win for consumers, the regulation stipulates that by 2027, portable batteries incorporated into appliances should be removable and replaceable by the end user. This provision gives manufacturers ample time to adapt the design of their products to meet this requirement.

The regulation also introduces labeling and information requirements, including an electronic "battery passport" and a QR code, which will be implemented by 2026 and 2027. These measures aim to provide consumers with clear and accessible information about the batteries they use.

Additionally, it's designed to reduce environmental and social impacts throughout the life cycle of the battery. It sets stringent due diligence rules for operators who must verify the source of raw materials for batteries placed on the market.

The Council's vote marks the conclusion of the adoption process for the regulation. Following this, the Council and the European Parliament will proceed to sign the regulation. Subsequently, it will be published in the EU's Official Journal and become enforceable after a period of 20 days.

Demand for batteries is expected to grow by more than ten-fold by 2030, making these regulations a crucial step toward a more sustainable future.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 91
    red oakred oak Posts: 1,094member
    Its not a “significant win for consumers”,   Implementing this can lead to less water and dust proofing, heavier devices,  and less overall quality uni-body build 
    flyingdptwolf2919magman1979davebarnespscooter63radarthekatappleinsideruserseanjS8ER95ZKTR
  • Reply 2 of 91
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    Apple MacBooks & MacBook Pros used to have a tool-free latch on the back to get at and replace the battery. Sure would be nice to have that on most of the current Apple devices. Sure, LiON batteries are rechargeable, but they sure do deteriorate over time. If you're determined, experienced and have pentalobe tools, you can replace the batteries in them, but you can also break other, more expensive things while doing it. And maybe get in front of future EU regulations by making the RAM and SSDs replaceable/upgradeable again!
    OferwilliamlondonGraeme000pscooter63sphericjellyappledarkvader
  • Reply 3 of 91
    Rules for disposing of batteries are fine. But, handicapping devices by mandating these changes is wrong. Perhaps we will find all devices with Vision Pro external batteries mandated in the future.
    flyingdpmagman1979pscooter63seanjKTRwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 91
    thedbathedba Posts: 766member
    Personally I think a better program would be to charge an extra amount (say 50 euros) per device and at the end of life of said device you exchange it for a newer one and get reimbursed or apply that deposit to the new one. 
    That would incite people to bring in their old devices for them to get disposed of properly.
    This replaceable battery nonsense is outdated in today's market, especially since batteries are far more advanced today and will most likely last for the life of the device.
    Furthermore no one can stop people from just chugging the old battery in the dumpster. 
    Another problem, would the EU mandate how that replaceable battery would be shaped and connected to the device? 
    Would a Samsung Galaxy battery fit on the iPhone and vice versa?  
    If not, aren't they just replacing one problem with another? Everybody charges via USB-C yeeeeahhhh!  Oh but replaceable batteries aren't compatible amongst manufacturers. booooo!
    Evan-elh4y3swatto_cobrakingofsomewherehot
  • Reply 5 of 91
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,297member
    mayfly said:
    Apple MacBooks & MacBook Pros used to have a tool-free latch on the back to get at and replace the battery. Sure would be nice to have that on most of the current Apple devices. Sure, LiON batteries are rechargeable, but they sure do deteriorate over time. If you're determined, experienced and have pentalobe tools, you can replace the batteries in them, but you can also break other, more expensive things while doing it. And maybe get in front of future EU regulations by making the RAM and SSDs replaceable/upgradeable again!
    You took the words right out of my mouth.

    Mandating some regulations for the sake of environment is fine, but this regulation is asinine. Take EV's for example, many of them use the battery "cartridge" as a structural component for the chassis, and now this is supposed to be "user replaceable"??? Or with iPhone, which is weather-sealed with gaskets which need to be replaced each time the unit is opened for service in order to maintain the IP rating, how is it supposed to retain that rating if the battery is "user replaceable"??

    This is what happens when idiot politicians start meddling in industrial design matters... There is no win for consumers here, little win for the environment, and just make-work projects for themselves so they can keep receiving big fat pay checks paid for by their constituents, revolting.
    williamlondonmayflyappleinsideruserh4y3sAndy.Hardwakewatto_cobramacpluspluskingofsomewherehot
  • Reply 6 of 91
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,774member
    red oak said:
    Its not a “significant win for consumers”,   Implementing this can lead to less water and dust proofing, heavier devices,  and less overall quality uni-body build 
    It's a massive win all round. 

    There was never any reason water and dust proofing had to be done the way the industry went about it. 

    Nano coatings have been around for years and have been specifically designed for waterproofing. 

    It's also worth challenging the very notion of waterproofing on a device not designed for regular immersion use, as made clear by the warranty of the device not even guaranteeing waterproofing and falling back onto a IP rating that 'should' suffice for the rated level of protection. Splash resistance is all that is really necessary for the vast majority of users.

    If a device is actually designed to spend most of its usage time in water, there is a provision for that:

    "To ensure the safety of end-users, this Regulation should provide for a limited derogation for portable batteries from the removability and replaceability requirements set for portable 
    batteries concerning appliances that incorporate portable batteries and that are specifically designed to be used, for the majority of the active service of the appliance, in an environment that is regularly subject to splashing water, water streams or water immersion and that are intended to be washable or rinseable. This derogation should only apply when it is not possible, by way of redesign of the appliance, to ensure the safety of the end-user and the safe continued use of the appliance after the end-user has correctly followed the instructions to remove and replace the battery. Where the derogation applies, the product should be designed in such a way as to make the battery removable and replaceable only by independent professionals, and not by end-users."

    The 'quality vs accessibility' argument is not really the best way to evaluate the situation. Batteries should be easily replaceable and designers should be working to achieving that goal.

    In fact many parts of modern phones should be easily replaceable, even for qualified technicians. The less time needed to perform a repair and the less good components that need replacing, the better, so now the industry should be moving towards design for repair too. 

    Good to see something as simple as information getting some support too. Users should have simple, clear access to what type of battery they have in the phone. 



    edited July 2023 OferGraeme000Alex_Vdarkvaderbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 7 of 91
    omasouomasou Posts: 592member
    thedba said:
    Personally I think a better program would be to charge an extra amount (say 50 euros) per device and at the end of life of said device you exchange it for a newer one and get reimbursed or apply that deposit to the new one. 
    That would incite people to bring in their old devices for them to get disposed of properly.
    This replaceable battery nonsense is outdated in today's market, especially since batteries are far more advanced today and will most likely last for the life of the device.
    Furthermore no one can stop people from just chugging the old battery in the dumpster. 
    Another problem, would the EU mandate how that replaceable battery would be shaped and connected to the device? 
    Would a Samsung Galaxy battery fit on the iPhone and vice versa?  
    If not, aren't they just replacing one problem with another? Everybody charges via USB-C yeeeeahhhh!  Oh but replaceable batteries aren't compatible amongst manufacturers. booooo!

    In the past when I recycled an old Apple device in an Apple Store they would offer me 10% off a new device. Not sure if this is still done or done consistently in every store.
    edited July 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 91
    twolf2919twolf2919 Posts: 114member
    red oak said:
    Its not a “significant win for consumers”,   Implementing this can lead to less water and dust proofing, heavier devices,  and less overall quality uni-body build 
    Completely agree that this might be an outcome.  But I do wonder whether it's necessarily the case: shouldn't it be possible to completely externalize the battery and have it provide power to the device wirelessly?  As we all know most phones, over the past few years, can be charged wirelessly - couldn't that same concept be adopted for powering the device instead?  This way the water and dust proofing problem would be eliminated and the 'quality of uni-body build' would not suffer either.  The device would be a tad heavier and thicker, but that can surely be minimized.  I don't think most people would notice/care if their device was 8-10mm instead of 6-7mm thick.

    On the positive side, you'd get painless swapping of batteries.  Many folks bring along spare power banks on trips.  Now you'd have the option of simply attaching a 'fat' battery to your mobile.
  • Reply 9 of 91
    tomahawktomahawk Posts: 179member
    mayfly said:
    Apple MacBooks & MacBook Pros used to have a tool-free latch on the back to get at and replace the battery. Sure would be nice to have that on most of the current Apple devices. Sure, LiON batteries are rechargeable, but they sure do deteriorate over time. If you're determined, experienced and have pentalobe tools, you can replace the batteries in them, but you can also break other, more expensive things while doing it. And maybe get in front of future EU regulations by making the RAM and SSDs replaceable/upgradeable again!
    And all of that took space, which is now filled by the battery.  Sure, we could have that back, but we would lose useful battery time every day. I'd rather spend an hour or two once every 3-5 years replacing a battery than give up 30 minutes of usable battery every day.
    Evan-elwilliamlondondanoxmike1pscooter63appleinsideruserradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 91
    Evan-elEvan-el Posts: 8member
    mayfly said:
    ... making the RAM and SSDs replaceable/upgradeable again!
    While I agree in theory, the reality is that integrated boards improve reliability. In addition, the computers and phone which never receive any type of dedicated updates (and often from companies that have no strategy to update the software) make phone and computers feel like they have run their course, when in reality the hardware is still fine and needs no upgrades. I'd rather see EU focus on dedicated software support, than on mandating certain hardware requirements. However, since software is generally "invisible" in nature, the higher ups can't quite comprehend the benefit of good software in the long run, vs. fully user replaceable hardware.
    williamlondonmayflywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 91
    stevnimstevnim Posts: 12member
    iPhones will get larger or the battery smaller. I'm reminded of a story of Steve Jobs during design of the original iPhone and he wanted more density inside. To illustrate, he threw the phone into his aquarium. When bubbles came out, he considered that a lost opportunity to increase the battery size, add more memory, or whatever. 
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 91
    Oh boy! This is going to be fun to watch!
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 91
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,991member
    The bureaucrats in the EU will never stop Apples current 23% (smartphones) marketshare in Europe is probably the highest that it will ever be for Apple, one set of hardware devices for the EU, and another set of Apple devices for the rest of the world is coming. The entire line of Apple computer hardware, is designed smaller, faster, more powerful going into the future and is the way of things not just for Apple, but the overall tech industry, keeping it clunky or chunky EU style is not.

    What next Apple Silicon soc’s should be shared with all EU tech companies on demand? Because Apple is its own grandpa gate-keeper?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 91
    The real question is: will the wording on the regulations be so tight that Apple can’t just say renting expensive equipment to replace the battery is their way of making batteries replacement accessible? 

    The problem with mobile stuff is your likely to break the screen just trying to open it to replace the battery, then you have to deal with the. All Apple needs to do is make the battery accessible from the back, and not glue that stupid thing in, and it would be really easy to replace. 

    For laptops, all they need to do is make the batteries screw in, not included. I’ve opened and worked on almost every version of a MacBook ever made, there is zero reason for them to glue the batteries in now. There’s plenty of space inside to add a screw in system.

    When I replace the battery in my own personal stuff, I don’t glue them in. The tight spacing inside Apple’s products is more than enough to keep the battery in place, and it’s definitely not worth dealing with the glue. Other components are Holiday Inn by very tiny screws, there’s no reason for the batteries to be any different.
  • Reply 15 of 91
    If the EU really wants the battery components recycled, then why would they want to allow users to replace the battery? The user is the wild card that they don't have any control over. Do they really think individual users are more likely to recycle the batteries properly than Apple? 
    pscooter63radarthekatroundaboutnowwilliamlondonbloggerblogwatto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 91
    seneca72seneca72 Posts: 42member
    Generally speaking I'm a supporter of the EU but this regarding batteries is plain daft.  For some items replacement will be relatively simple but others such as cars where the battery is a structural element are definitely not user replaceable.

    Wonder how long it will be before the EU mandates that Apple must allow users to install Android on iPhones.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 91
    mayflymayfly Posts: 385member
    tomahawk said:
    mayfly said:
    Apple MacBooks & MacBook Pros used to have a tool-free latch on the back to get at and replace the battery. Sure would be nice to have that on most of the current Apple devices. Sure, LiON batteries are rechargeable, but they sure do deteriorate over time. If you're determined, experienced and have pentalobe tools, you can replace the batteries in them, but you can also break other, more expensive things while doing it. And maybe get in front of future EU regulations by making the RAM and SSDs replaceable/upgradeable again!
    And all of that took space, which is now filled by the battery.  Sure, we could have that back, but we would lose useful battery time every day. I'd rather spend an hour or two once every 3-5 years replacing a battery than give up 30 minutes of usable battery every day.
    Probably because you have the skills and tools to do it yourself. Not everyone has that option, and their options are all expensive.
    williamlondondarkvader
  • Reply 18 of 91
    thedbathedba Posts: 766member
    Evan-el said:
    mayfly said:
    ... making the RAM and SSDs replaceable/upgradeable again!
    While I agree in theory, the reality is that integrated boards improve reliability. In addition, the computers and phone which never receive any type of dedicated updates (and often from companies that have no strategy to update the software) make phone and computers feel like they have run their course, when in reality the hardware is still fine and needs no upgrades. I'd rather see EU focus on dedicated software support, than on mandating certain hardware requirements. However, since software is generally "invisible" in nature, the higher ups can't quite comprehend the benefit of good software in the long run, vs. fully user replaceable hardware.
    I would say that what the EU could do, is reign in "extended warranties" like Apple-Care. 
    I know there was a lawsuit in Italy a few years ago and they were forced to extend the manufacturers warranty by a year instead of peddling to the customer "Apple Care". I don't know if this was extended to the rest of the EU. 
    Forcing all manufacturers to offer 2-3 year guarantees on their expensive gadgets, would be legislation many of us could get behind.
    OTOH forcing a certain engineering design on the manufacturer is just plain ignorant. 
    Let the market decide. Companies like BlackBerry insisted that physical keyboards were a must have according to their customers. Well turns out their customers didn't care as much as they thought they would, for physical keyboards. 
    If the public really believes that swappable batteries of old are important, then in a few years Apple won't be able to give away their iPhones. 
    radarthekatwilliamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 91
    bsd228bsd228 Posts: 6member
    twolf2919 said:
    red oak said:
    Its not a “significant win for consumers”,   Implementing this can lead to less water and dust proofing, heavier devices,  and less overall quality uni-body build 
      I don't think most people would notice/care if their device was 8-10mm instead of 6-7mm thick.

    On the positive side, you'd get painless swapping of batteries.  Many folks bring along spare power banks on trips.  Now you'd have the option of simply attaching a 'fat' battery to your mobile.
    10mm is 67% thicker than 6mm.   People would notice, unless they never had 6mm devices in the first place.  Ignorance is bliss.

    With the way I abuse my phone in daily use, I don't see the ability to change the battery as a need - I've trashed it long before battery capacity is compromised.   But for the tablets and laptops, more interest.  Or the consumer electronics with smaller, usually lower quality batteries, much more interest.  
  • Reply 20 of 91
    ralphieralphie Posts: 107member
    red oak said:
    Its not a “significant win for consumers”,   Implementing this can lead to less water and dust proofing, heavier devices,  and less overall quality uni-body build 
    It’s a huge win!  I’m happy to give up a bit of dust, water proofing, and thinness for an easily user replaceable battery.  Apple is smart they’ll figure it out. 
    edited July 2023 Alex_Vdarkvader
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