Apple hinted this weekend that it may not redesign its iPhones with user-replaceable batteries. The information originates from a German YouTube interview with an Apple SVP.
New EU battery standards take effect in 2027. Phone manufacturers would then have to make their batteries easy to replace. However, Apple looks to be resisting the new rules.
“There may be a slight conflict between durability and maintainability,” Apple SVP Hardware Engineering John Ternus told German YouTube station Orbit. You can make an internal component more maintainable by making it distinct and removable, but it introduces a failure point. We may use the data to determine which phone parts require repair and which are reliable enough to never need repair. It’s always balanced.” Although it sounds like Apple is setting itself up to ignore or evade these future EU legislation, it may be able to square that legal circle.
The EU battery legislation defines a portable and removable battery as one that “can be removed with the use of commercially available tools and without requiring the use of specialized tools, unless they are provided free of charge, or proprietary tools, thermal energy or solvents to disassemble it.”
The law states that “commercially available tools are considered to be tools available on the market to all end-users without the need for them to provide evidence of any proprietary rights and that can be used with no restriction, except health and safety-related restrictions.” Thus, Apple, Samsung, Google, and other phone makers aren’t required to return to the days when a fingernail and some grit replaced a phone battery. Apple’s self-repair service, Samsung’s, Google’s DIY Pixel repair, and the Nokia G22’s collaboration with iFixit are all efforts to make phones more user-repairable.
The adhesives seem to be the issue, so we’ll see if Apple and other companies can solve it.Remember, 2027 is four years away.