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Why modern smartphones don’t have removable batteries anymore

While most people will forgive the company and accept its two forthcoming solutions(a $29 battery replacement for applicable iPhones and a future software update that’ll better explain your device’s battery health), there’s an equal amount of people who are now slamming the company for not doing even more for its users, like designing iPhones with removable batteries.

This idea has a right to be — but it’s a little short-sighted. It’s not because Apple doesn’t want to make an iPhone with a removable battery, but because it’s a delirium. Removable batteries had their time in the ’90s-00s. 

There are other features that we prioritize over batteries that can be swapped out.

First of all, let us get down to history. Asking Apple to make an iPhone with a removable battery is a delirious idea, that will never come to life. Of course, never say never, but Apple has, literally, never released an iPhone with a battery that could be easily removed.

The battery’s always been sealed inside of the iPhone, and the only way to replace it has been to bring it to Apple for servicing or buy your own toolset and bust open the iPhone yourself (and void the warranty in the process).

Long before Steve Jobs hopped on stage at Macworld in January 2007 to introduce the first iPhone to the world, the company already made a decision that they will never introduce a phone with a removable battery.

At that time, all phones used to be with a removable battery, so it was a risky design that has gained great success.

While many Android phones decided to be different from iPhone and still have been releasing phones with no removable batteries, within many years everything has changed.

Can you name a single flagship Android phone with a removable battery? I can’t, and I review these things for a living. (To be fair, there are still phones that have removable batteries, but they’re usually budget ones or come from no-name brands.)

Samsung ditched removable batteries in its two flagship devices: the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note in 2014. And LG, one of the last companies to give up on them, held out until 2016 with the G5.

Whar are other features

So why did these companies stop making phones with removable batteries?

You already know the answer if you’re a phone junkie or a tech nerd. And it isn’t because they’re all just copying Apple.

Whenever you make a decision not to do something, you’re simultaneously giving away to something fresh and new. Perhaps, something that couldn’t have been done because of the tradeoffs that prioritized one thing over another.

In the case of phones with removable batteries, phone makers made the deliberate decision to go with sealed batteries for a number of reasons. Here’re just a few of them:

More premium design 

It’s more convenient to use removable batteries. but they also greatly limit the design of a phone. Take a look at the Galaxy S5 and Note 4. They both have plastic backs that can easily be taken off to reveal the battery. 

Basically, that is a good idea, but not for users who want better materials. Though the Note 4 had a metal frame, the S5’s plastic body and Band-Aid-like rear caught major flak for being tone-deaf to the metal and glass trend that was emerging. Samsung started designing phones with glass and metal back the next year with the S6, and the company has gained great success from all its phones since then.

Metal and glass bodies simply don’t mix well with removable batteries. It’s possible to make one — the LG G5 was an example of this — but it’s going to be greatly compromised. With those batteries, slimmer design and using new, more luxurious materials will not be available.

Water-resistance

 In case if you want a phone that can survive a swim, pool, repel rain, etc, then you need a phone with fewer openings and more internal sealing that’ll protect its computer bits from frying. 

Well, you will not have this opportunity if your cover easily pops off or has cracks that could potentially allow water to seep in. And it’s not just water. Many phones are dust-resistant, too. Nobody wants tiny rocks or sand damaging the insides of their phone.

More room for other stuff

That isn’t necessary to get into all details about the battery design, but removable battery hogs up more physical space within the already tightly-packed confines of a modern phone.

A removable battery requires an extra layer of protection to shield it from everyday impact. This adds extra thickness. On a phone where every millimeter counts and can be felt in the hand, there’s a little competitive edge to go thicker when everyone is making their phones thinner. 

Instead of wasting space with extra padding for the battery, designers and engineers can fit in other features such as better — possibly even stereo — speakers, or wireless charging, or better gaskets for weather resistance, or a fingerprint sensor on the back.

Weird-shaped batteries

Removable batteries are also limited to essentially being rectangles or squares for easy installation and removal. And if you know anything about battery design, you’d know that new phone batteries are built to squeeze more power with unconventional designs. 

For example, the LG G2 used a “step battery” design that packed more battery into the curved corners, which would normally be wasted with a battery with straight edges. The iPhone X also uses an unique L-shaped battery made up of two battery cells.

Had these phones used a removable rectangle-shaped battery, they wouldn’t get the stellar battery life than they do in the same svelte designs. You’d have a phone that looks like something enclosed in an Otterbox. Basically, big, heavy, and ugly. And just eww. No thank you.

Hope this article was helpful for you.

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