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Monday, July 15, 2024

Apple finally listens: iPhone 16 to feature user-friendly battery replacement

This advancement could debut in at least one iPhone 16 model this year, with plans to implement it across the entire iPhone 17 lineup by 2025.

Apple is gearing up to revolutionize the smartphone industry with its upcoming iPhone 16 series, incorporating groundbreaking technology to simplify battery replacement. This move aligns with recent European Union regulations mandating easily replaceable batteries by 2027, aiming to enhance sustainability and extend the lifespan of electronic devices.

Electrically Induced Adhesive Debonding

The innovative technology Apple is developing, known as “electrically induced adhesive debonding,” promises to make battery replacement more user-friendly. Traditionally, iPhone batteries are secured with adhesive strips, making removal challenging and often requiring professional intervention. The new method involves using a small electric charge to loosen the adhesive, allowing users to replace the battery with minimal effort. This advancement could debut in at least one iPhone 16 model this year, with plans to implement it across the entire iPhone 17 lineup by 2025.

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Compliance with EU Regulations

Apple’s initiative is a direct response to the EU’s eco-design legislation passed last year. The law stipulates that smartphone batteries should be replaceable using no tools, tools provided with the product, or basic tools. By adopting this new adhesive debonding technology, Apple not only complies with these regulations but also reinforces its commitment to environmental sustainability.

Enhancing Repairability

In addition to the new battery replacement technology, Apple has introduced several other measures to enhance the repairability of its devices. The iPhone 15, for instance, features a redesigned internal chassis that makes it easier to remove the back panel without damaging the glass. Apple has also expanded its self-service repair program, allowing consumers to fix their devices at home. This program has now been partially extended to Europe, offering greater accessibility and convenience for users.

Responding to Right to Repair Legislation

Apple’s efforts to improve device repairability are also influenced by recent legislation in the United States. Oregon’s Right to Repair law prohibits manufacturers from disabling features if an unauthorized repair is performed on a device. In response, Apple has introduced a new policy on parts pairing, enabling iPhone users to replace parts without needing Apple’s authorization. This policy is expected to apply to the iPhone 16, further empowering consumers to maintain and repair their devices independently.

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Despite these promising developments, there are challenges to be addressed. The complexity of opening an iPhone and the use of adhesives and screws to ensure water resistance mean that professional assistance might still be necessary for some repairs. Additionally, while patents for modular iPhones suggest a future where users can easily swap out components, such innovations may not materialize immediately.