The EU wants smartphones and tablets sold within its borders to work for at least five years – and that could be great news for everyone, whether you live in Europe or not.
Over the past few years, the EU has been constantly working on the right to repair legislation – which is designed to make it easier for ordinary people to repair old technology. The goal is that if outdated gadgets (such as the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21) can be easily repaired and maybe even upgraded, it will reduce the amount of e-waste.
Instead of throwing your phone or tablet away just because one or two components are on the front (and paying for a new iPhone 13 or Samsung Galaxy S22), you can simply replace the parts and keep what you currently have.
The overall goal of the EU with these rules is to bring about circular economy by 2050 (opens in a new tab). In a circular economy, instead of harvesting resources to produce products that eventually turn into waste that is thrown away, this waste would instead be reused as resources for the next generation of products.
His latest move is release draft application (opens in a new tab) which, if implemented, would force manufacturers to supply essential components to professional repairers for up to five years after the introduction of a new phone or tablet in the EU. This includes replacement cameras, batteries, charging ports, speakers, and other important parts. It will also stop manufacturers from publishing updates that negatively impact the device’s battery life over the same period.
Hopefully the best phones and tablets will remain great gadgets for even longer – which would help save money as well as protect the environment. This is the definition of winning.
But what about me? I don’t live in the EU …
But while it’s okay, we know what you are thinking. Why should you worry about this if you live outside the EU?
Well, the EU is made up of 27 countries and is responsible for one-sixth of the world’s economy. As a result, its legislative decisions can have a big impact on everyone else.
For example, many believe that due to new regulations requiring all electronic devices sold in the EU to have at least one USB-C charging port by Fall 2024 (September, October, November), we’ll likely see an Apple Lightning Charger at last. withdraw all over the world. Apple probably can’t afford to disregard the EU without introducing its products there, and it would complicate production too much if Apple decided to roll out an EU-exclusive USB-C iPhone and a lightning-port iPhone elsewhere.
Instead, it will likely fold up and eventually apply a more versatile charging method with an iPhone 14 or iPhone 15.
Speaking of Apple, many believe that the EU and France (EU member) are the reasons they launched the self-service repair. Self-service repair allows you to regularly pick up spare parts for your iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, as well as other Apple gadgets.
Despite pushing itself away from self-repair over the years, Apple changed its stance in November 2021 following changes to French law in 2021 and discussions in the EU parliament over how to repair gadgets.
At the moment, the new five-year repair proposal is just a sketch. But if the EU decides to introduce it, we won’t be surprised if manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, Google and others start offering spare parts to countries like the US, UK and Australia. Among other things, because professional garages outside the EU can simply start importing parts.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but if you’re looking for other ways to reduce your environmental impact today, you can start small and have a look at the best eco-friendly phone cases.