Explained: Why modern smartphones don’t have removable batteries and how does it affect consumers

Apple started the trend of offering non-removable batteries to phones with iPhones. Phone makers had no choice but to comply with the latest trends and make sacrifices as consumers wanted more sophisticated smartphones. It was normal for phones to have removable batteries up until early 2010. Even laptop manufacturers gradually stopped making devices with removable batteries. Let us discuss whether removable batteries are good for consumers. Let’s start with the advantages of non-removable batteries that made them a necessity for modern smartphones.
Advantages of non-removable batteries
Safety of the batteries and consumers
Batteries have a thin electrolyte that separates the cathode and anode electrodes which store the energy. The electrodes can generate a lot of heat by causing a short circuit if it comes into direct contact. Moreover, this can lead to more internal thermal reactions that could eventually lead the battery to explode or burst into flames. Battery technology has developed batteries a lot in the past years, yet they are inherently dangerous.
To prevent accidental damage removable batteries need a hard plastic case, especially when they are not connected to a phone. Plastic cases add to the weight and bulk of the smartphone. So, engineers thought of installing a permanent battery when consumers demanded slimmer, lighter designs. They ensured that the smartphones should be able to protect the batteries as they are non-removable.
Improvement in battery technology
Modern smartphones last longer on a single charge as they come with lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries. This development of battery material and capacity helps phones to last all day even after consumption of battery increases for better displays and more powerful chips.
The increase in capacity also means that users don’t need to have a spare battery to swap out in the middle of the day. Moreover, there have been improvements made in charging speeds as most modern phones take less than an hour to get fully charged.
Protection from wear and tear
Smartphones are getting more expensive every day as they are getting more sophisticated. So, consumers want these devices to last longer and have a lot of protection. Consumers want these devices to withstand regular wear and tear and protection against occasional spills and drops.
So, smartphone makers have sealed the outer case to make their devices more durable. But, users lost access to replaceable batteries as they got sealed. Furthermore, it is tough to design a slim and light device with a removable outer case.
Providing tracking abilities to the device
Premium smartphones lure thieves as they are expensive and are easy to steal and resell. Not just the device, but users also lose some highly sensitive data including financial information. So, smartphone makers allow passive phone tracking even if the device is switched off. This feature allows users to track their devices which acts as a defence against smartphone thefts.
But, the tracking capability can be killed by removing the smartphone’s battery, which is its power source. It becomes impossible for thieves to remove the batteries without equipment and expertise if it is sealed inside your phone’s case. The non-removable battery helps you to track your phone if it is missing and even switched off.
Disadvantages of non-removable batteries
The non-removable batteries come with a lot of advantages, yet users still lose out on some functions and features with them. Now let’s talk about some drawbacks of non-removable batteries.
Swapping batteries vs Charging batteries
Charging outlets and power banks takes time to charge your devices, especially if they are older ones. You have to wait about 15 -30 minutes to get your phone fully charged, even if both your power bank and smartphone have the latest fast charging.
On the other hand, replacing an empty battery with a fully charged one will most likely take a minute. Moreover, slim spare batteries are way lighter than smaller mid-sized power banks. Power banks add more weight and use more space in your luggage.
Possibility of batteries bloating up
Smartphone batteries can also bloat up and this problem still exists even after all the advancements in battery technology. In such cases, the battery’s safety is compromised and users have to replace it immediately.
Replacing the old bloated battery with a new one is an easier process for removable batteries. But, most modern users have to take their devices to an authorized service to replace it as they usually come with non-removable batteries. Whenever a non-removable battery bloats up, it forces the case to crack open and can damage your phone’s protection.
Gets tougher for third party shops to repair phones
Non-replaceable batteries give us sleek and modern devices but the design makes it harder for third-party repair shops to fix broken phones. The manufacturers these days want the batteries to permanently bond with the phone’s chassis. Meanwhile, a removable battery is easier to repair.
What do consumers want?
Most consumers are happy with the non-replaceable battery set up on their devices, but some complain about the lack of removable batteries. Losing the removable battery is a small price that most consumers want to pay for features like the slimmer form factor and IP ratings.