EU Draft Proposals Require Phone Makers to Provide Spare Parts for 5 Years and Ensure Longer Battery Life
Smartphone manufacturers supplying the EU will be required to provide spare parts for at least five years from the date of a device's introduction and ensure longer battery life, according to new draft proposals published by the European Commission.
The Financial Times reports that the proposals would require at least 15 different component parts to be made available and that batteries should survive at least 500 full charges without deteriorating to below 83 percent of their capacity.
Phones sold in the EU would also have to display an energy efficiency label, similar to those used for washing machines and dishwashers, showing expected battery life and other characteristics such as the device's drop resistance.
The draft regulations cover tablets and mobile phones, and are based on the claim that by making hardware more repairable and recyclable, the energy consumption involved in a device's production and use would be cut by a third.
Currently, owners of iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac or Apple TV products can obtain a service and parts from Apple service providers, including Apple Retail Stores and Independent Repair Providers, for a minimum of five years from when Apple last distributed the product for sale.
After five years, iPhones are typically classified by Apple as "vintage" and Apple can still service these devices if it has the parts. After seven years, devices are classed as "obsolete" and hardware servicing is no longer available.
Apple in April launched its own Self Service Repair program, which allows users to complete their own repairs via a new online store dedicated to parts and tools, but the service is currently only available in the United States, although it will be expanding to additional countries, including Europe, later in 2022.
The new proposals also cover software, and require manufacturers to provide security updates for five years after devices leave the market and functionality updates for three years. Apple has typically offered software support to iPhones for almost a decade after they are released, but owners of Android phones typically receive only a few years of software updates, so the regulations are likely to greatly impact Google.
Smartphone makers critical of the draft proposals have argued that making more parts available actually increases the consumption of plastic, resulting in wasted resources, but the EU has warned that products which do not meet its sustainability requirements "will go off the market."
The latest draft EU proposals follow a requirement introduced in June for smartphones to use a standardized charger by 2024, despite years of opposition from Apple.
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