EU: Smartphone minimum update period of 5 years


The European Commission recently proposed an extension of support for Android and iOS devices. They asked the companies for a minimum period of five years of updates. The German federal government seems to be pushing harder, calling for this period to be extended to seven years.

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Most Android smartphones receive security and software updates for about two to three years before users are forced to purchase new devices. None of the big companies (Google, Samsung, Apple) provide support for five years.

This move by the EU to extend the support period to five years is intended to help the environment by preserving the devices for a longer period of time. Research has shown that extending the life of a smartphone by as much as one year can save as much carbon emissions as removing two million cars from the road.

So right now Germany is pushing phone makers to offer at least 7 years of updates.

Let 's forget the environmental reason for a moment, and think about the impact on safety. According to StatCounter usage data in August 2021, 40% + users of Android devices are running 9.0 Pie or an older Android on their smartphone. Of course all of them are vulnerable to attacks because their phones no longer install security updates.

However, the proposals of the EU and now of the German Federal Government are not met with much enthusiasm. DigitalEurope, which is made up of Apple, Samsung and Google, is arguing against the EU and Germany proposals. It should be noted here that Apple usually releases updates for at least five years, and Android devices receive updates for 2,5 years. Samsung agreed to four-year updates in early 2021.

DigitalEurope is of course pushing for less stringent requirements. Among other things, they want to limit the updates to three years and require only batteries and monitors to be sold as spare parts instead of having everything, such as cameras and more.

The EU proposal to support security updates for five years will take effect in 2023. We will have to watch to see if Germany's request for 7 years passes, or how strong DigitalEurope is in Europe.


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