“Germany is pushing for seven years of updates for smartphones within the EU”

The German government has urged the EU to require manufacturers to release security updates for Android and iOS devices for a minimum of seven years. This is reported by the German tech medium C’t. Repair parts must also be available for seven years.

According to the German proposal, the spare parts should also be “reasonably priced” within the EU, C’t writes. Manufacturers also need to ensure that parts are available quickly; the German government would like to require such spare parts to be delivered quickly.

The request from the German government follows an earlier legislative proposal from the European Commission. In it, the EU wanted to oblige smartphone manufacturers to release security updates for its devices for at least five years. The European Commission also spoke at the time about making spare parts for smartphones available longer, and that they would be delivered within five working days. Prices of repair parts are to be published by manufacturers according to the EU’s proposal and cannot be changed at a later date.

The proposals from Germany and the EU are both meeting resistance from manufacturers. The smartphone sector’s interest group, DigitalEurope, wants security updates to be mandatory for just three years, C’t writes.

This interest group also wants the mandatory availability of spare parts to be limited to screens and batteries. Other components should not fall under the mandate, according to DigitalEurope. For example, the group talks about camera sensors, microphones and other components that ‘rarely break down’. DigitalEurope has several major smartphone manufacturers as members, including Apple, Google and Samsung.

The EU and the other parties involved will still negotiate the terms of the bill. The proposal is due to come into effect in 2023. The EU and German governments hope with their respective proposals to increase the lifespan of smartphones and other devices. This should reduce the impact on the environment and make the devices usable for consumers for longer.