New EU rules on smartphone batteries and eco-sensitive design

New EU regulations on batteries and eco-sensitive design aim to improve smartphone repairability and longevity, benefiting users and the environment.

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New battery regulations in the European Union aim to ensure that smartphone batteries can be replaced with parts available for five years after the device is discontinued while also prohibiting manufacturers from using software to stop third-party batteries from working.

Complementary rules on ecodesign require smartphones to be easier to repair, upgrade, and recycle, with minimum requirements for protection, battery longevity, and spare parts availability. These regulations could lead to a change in smartphone market dynamics and encourage more sustainable devices. Additionally, the proposal includes rules for software support, aiming to force manufacturers to provide updates for at least five years after a device is discontinued. This would address the issue of short software support periods for most smartphones and could increase the value and lifespan of second-hand devices. However, consumer behaviour and preferences regarding phone replacement and longevity are still a challenge to overcome.

The Right to Repair Europe campaign heralded the move as ‘a big success for the right to repair’, though the regulations will not kick in until 2027.