Why Don’t Smartphones Come With Removable Batteries Anymore?

Apple, the behemoth of the smartphone industry, has rarely apologized for its tech blunders. And surprisingly, when it did apologize close to a year back for its infamous ‘battery throttling’, the apology resulted in more furor than mollification. After drawing a lot of anger from the users on social media, especially Reddit, Apple had to accept that they messed up in communicating to the consumers that it had purposely slowed down older iPhones with aging batteries.

Given that the company atoned for this peccadillo by offering a battery replacement for a few dollars to recover the phone’s performance, most people forgave the company’s indiscretion. However, there are still some people who are vehemently criticizing the tech giant for not doing enough for its users—despite charging heavy premiums for iPhones—such as designing an iPhone with a removable battery, for example.

removable batteries

Well, the idea does sound pretty good. You would certainly relate to this idea more as a millennial who used mobile phones with removable batteries a decade or so back. A removable battery meant that you could have an extra backup battery, just in case you ran out of charge and didn’t have time or the ability to charge your phone. Popular throughout the 90s and 2000s, why have removable battery designs fallen out of favor?

Before we get into the technical side of why manufacturers are so reluctant to bring back smartphones with a removable battery, let’s first take a little lesson from history.

Asking Apple to make an iPhone with a removable battery is a distant dream, as it is highly unlikely that Apple would do that. They’ve never tried even once since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. The battery in an iPhone is typically sealed inside, so the only way to replace it is either by going to an official Apple service center for repairs or trying the more risky route of opening the iPhone all by yourself and voiding the warranty in the process.

Even before the introduction of the much awaited iPhone in 2007, the design team at Apple was pretty decisive about abandoning the removable battery design. Although it appeared to be a jarring design choice, as all the phones back then came with removable batteries, it ultimately became the mainstream choice for other phone manufacturers.

When the popularity of Android was surging in its early growth phase, one distinction that Android phones had over iPhones was that they offered removable battery functionality. However, when you look at the current landscape of Android (and smartphones in general) that is no longer the case. No major mobile manufacturer has released a flagship phone with removable batteries in the recent past.

The question is, why have mobile manufacturers stopped making smartphones with removable batteries?

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