EU to make 5-year software update mandatory for Android or iPhone

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Android users in Europe may get long-term guaranteed software updates soon. A drafted regulation could force manufacturers including Apple to provide continuous support to their customers in terms of operating system and security updates. The proposed initiative would be on par with what Google is currently offering on its Pixel 6 smartphones which is about five years for patches.

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  • EU pushes for 5-year software support in the region.
  • Android manufacturers may be required to provide three years of upgrade and five years of security patches.
  • The bill is still on draft and may take effect as early 2024 once approved.

Five years of security updates for iPhone/ Android

The coverage is only part of the new regulation where lawmakers from the European commission want to extend the lifespan of smartphones and tablets by up to 5 years, which affects more Android manufacturers than Apple with its iPhones and iPads. This is 2 to 3 years longer compared to the current usability of most smartphones. More importantly, it would push all OEMs to also support the devices with software updates to match the hardware cycle.

For instance, major Android upgrades will be guaranteed for three years while the security updates will run for five years putting lengthened protection for the users. In contrast, Google's Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have the same software support while other brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi have considerably shorter offering. Only Samsung has a four-year Android upgrade, but it's limited to the premium Galaxy S22 or the upcoming Galaxy S23 (Ultra).

More replaceable parts

Ultimately, the goal of the whole initiative is to lessen electronic waste produced by these devices. Prolonging the usability of the hardware would need extended repair assistance and provision of replacement parts such as batteries and displays from the manufacturers. Self-repair programs are a similar approach where customers can avail genuine tools and components.

At the same time, the standardization of USB-C in the EU region is expected to take effect in 2024 which not only Android brands are affected but also Apple. Next year's iPhone 15 could drop the proprietary Lightning port in favor of the faster and efficient USB-C. Meanwhile, the upcoming iPad Pro 2022 is anticipated to arrive with the USB standard.

If this is to happen, are you willing to use your smartphone for up to five years before upgrading? Hit us up in the comment section — we're listening. 

Via: 9to5Google Source: Ars Technica

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  • storm 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    If the hardware was in support and I could replace the consumables, yes, I'd keep it 5 years.

    Consumables: battery, screen, ports. Those things wear out, or are easily damaged and are the primary limiting factors to longevity besides software updates.

    This should then mean that you can't turn xG off on a phone still in support. So from when you sell your last 4g phone, you need to keep 4g supported on your network for 5 more years too.