iPhone Batteries May Soon Be Easier to Replace

iPhone battery replacement Credit: Poravute Siriphiroon / Shutterstock
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There could be more to the reports of metal-clad iPhone 16 batteries than merely heat dissipation — they could also help make the batteries much easier to remove and replace than they are now.

Today’s iPhone batteries are held in place by a whole lot of glue, requiring specialized tools to get the battery out without hurting yourself or your precious iPhone. This includes not only getting past the adhesives and screws to pry open the iPhone in the first place but then resorting to tweezers to work the battery out, followed by a specialized machine to insert the new one.

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However, a new report from The Information suggests much of that labor could be a thing of the past. Apple is said to be working on a new “electrically induced adhesive debonding” technology:

The new technology — known as electrically induced adhesive debonding — involves encasing the battery in metal, rather than foil as it is currently. That would allow people to dislodge the battery from the chassis by administering a small jolt of electricity to the battery, the people said.The Information

The key point here is that this new technique requires the batteries to use metal casings, which aligns with several other reports we’ve been hearing. While those were initially believed to be merely about helping to dissipate heat, a report last month from Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested it could, in turn, offer longer battery life by allowing Apple to increase the energy density of the batteries.

However, denser batteries generate more heat, which is where the metal casing would come in. It’s unclear if that’s still part of the plan or merely an assumption on the part of Kuo and other leakers, but Apple may be trying to hit two birds with one stone here, using the metal to keep the battery cool and make it easier to remove.

Kuo hinted at the time that the move might also “help Apple comply with the European Union’s requirements for mobile phone batteries’ replaceability in the future.” That’s something the EU has been pushing for since at least 2020, and last year, it took a big step toward enforcing that requirement by 2027.

While Apple’s debonding plan is a far cry from a fully user-replaceable battery, it may get future iPhones closer to complying with the EU’s bare minimum standards, which require batteries to be replaceable by the average person “with no tool, a tool or set of tools that is supplied with the product or spare part, or basic tools.”

However, this approach doesn’t seem to get much more than halfway there. Even if the battery comes out more easily, getting into the iPhone in the first place will still require specialized tools, and that doesn’t seem like something Apple is eager to change.

Fortunately for Apple, it might not have to. As particular as the EU can be about these things, there’s an exemption in the rules for batteries that can last for at least five years; that’s a battery that can retain 83 percent of its capacity after 500 charge cycles and 80 percent after 1,000 cycles. This could explain why the iPhone 15 doubled its battery lifespan last year, now able to reach 1,000 charge cycles instead of only 500 before dropping below the 80 percent mark.

As for these new metal-clad, debondable batteries, if everything goes according to plan, they could be used in at least one iPhone 16 model this year — likely the iPhone 16 Pro Max — before being rolled out to the entire iPhone 17 lineup in 2025.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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