Germany Urges EU to Require 7 Years of Updates and Repairs for iOS Devices

According to new proposals by the German government to join the European Union, smartphone makers such as Apple and Google should provide security updates for their devices for at most seven years. (via Heise Online).

Recently, the European Commission proposed that mobile device manufacturers provide software updates and spare parts for five-years. Tablet spare parts should be available for six years. The European Commission wants manufacturers to make spare parts available for five years, with prices that don't rise and to deliver the parts within five working days.

Germany is asking the EU to do more by requiring seven years of updates and availability of spare parts. It also wants manufacturers to offer spares at a "reasonable price" and to deliver spare parts faster, which it will discuss with the Commission.

The German government supports the European Commission's push for ecodesign rules. These include a label for energy and a repairability index. According to the EC the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is from the production of equipment. However, recycling can only recover a portion of the raw materials.

The DigitalEurope Industry Association represents manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei and believes that the Commission's proposals are too extreme. They suggest that manufacturers provide OS updates for two years and security updates for three years.

Additionally, the association believes that replacement batteries and displays should not be required. These parts are known for their high failure rate. Components like cameras sensors, microphones and connectors, however, "rarely fail" and should therefore not be included in the mandate.

After additional negotiations among all parties, the European Union plans for the introduction of the proposals by 2023.

Apple is often criticized for charging excessive repair costs, such the $79 charge to service the $99 HomePod Mini, and other arbitrary limitations on repairs. For example, the iPhone 12's camera cannot be repaired without access to Apple’s cloud-linked System Configuration app.

Last year, the European Parliament voted to support EU Committee's recommendations on "Right to Repair", which included mandatory labelling for consumer electronics to give explicit information about the product's repairability and life expectancy.