European Commission wants Apple to facilitate battery replacement

The European Commission wants manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and wireless headphones to facilitate battery replacement. Brussels wants European consumers to be able to use their devices longer, in order to avoid the accumulation of electronic waste.

The iPhone 11 battery is securely in place with six sticky strips. Image: iFixit.

This measure would target in particular Apple, which has got into the habit of sticking the batteries of its products, with a replacement that requires a tour in an AppleStore and several days of immobilization. It is even more complicated for AirPods (read: AirPods, the small stones in Apple's green communication shoe).

Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European executive and responsible for the Green Pact for Europe, should present this measure in mid-March, reports the Dutch daily FD. It would be part of a more global plan for the circular economy: recycling of products, reuse of raw materials, more sustainable production.

The Commission is also working on a longer warranty period, forcing manufacturers to take over repairs for their products longer. Recycling will also be one of the highlights of this text, given that the European Union recycles only 35% of electronic waste. Brussels also intends to push the lights under the folder of the thematic extraction of raw materials, a folder on which Apple is at the forefront.

It is impossible to open an AirPods without breaking everything. Image: iFixit.

Certain measures provided for by this circular economy plan overlap with Apple's initiatives in this area. Except for the easy replacement of batteries, which is clearly not part of the manufacturer's short-term (or even long-term) projects. Apple prefers to take charge of this type of operation, even if it means being opaque like the AirPods. It must be said that it can be quite dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. This is also one of the arguments put forward by Apple to the supporters of the right to repair.

Are we going towards a new showdown between the EU and Apple? The file of the universal charger wanted by the European deputies already caused a pass of arms with the manufacturer, which does not hesitate to add in the ambient confusion (read: Apple puts its grain of salt in the European debate on the universal charger ).