Germany is calling on the European Union to force smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung to repair and update their devices for at least seven years. It also wants manufacturers to offer spare parts at reasonable prices.
The European Commission has already proposed stricter rules for mobile device vendors. It’s all part of an effort to reduce waste by ensuring smartphones and tablets can remain in use for longer.
The European Commissions’s recent proposal was for smartphone makers to offer spare parts and software updates for five years, and six years for tablets. It also called on vendors to disclose the price of spare parts.
But Germany wants a more ambitious approach. Its government wants the EU to demand at least seven years of spare parts and updates — as well as “a reasonable price” on replacement components.
Germany calls for greater smartphone support
Germany also wants smartphone and tablet makers to guarantee faster delivery of spare parts so that devices in need of repair aren’t out of action for so long — which could encourage customers to buy a replacement.
“The Commission is currently planning a maximum delivery time of five working days,” explains Heise Online. “This point will be ‘to be discussed,’ explained the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Economic Affairs.”
Germany has backed the European Commission’s push for energy labels and a repairability index, already approved in France, for smartphones and tablets that would help customers establish how easily they can be fixed.
Smartphone makers fight back
Apple and other smartphone makers feel the EU’s proposals go too far. The DigitalEurope Industry Association, which represents Apple, Huawei, Samsung, and others, wants a three-year repair and update period.
DigitalEurope also believes that only certain components — like batteries and displays — should be included under proposals to extend repair coverage. It feels other parts, like camera sensors that “rarely fail,” should not.
Of course, Apple already supports its own hardware for a lot longer than three years. iOS 15, which will roll out this fall, will support devices as old as iPhone 6s, which first made its debut in the fall of 2015.
Apple charges hefty repair fees
However, if you have an Apple device that’s broken, it’s not cheap to get it fixed. Cupertino has previously faced criticism for its pricey repair costs, like the $79 fee it charges to service a $99 HomePod mini.
Some Apple devices also ship with components that simply cannot be replaced by third-party companies who do not have access to Apple’s proprietary tools and software systems.
In addition, Android smartphone vendors are notoriously bad at keeping their devices up to date. If you’re lucky, you’ll get two years of software updates before your handset is forgotten about in favor of newer models.