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This article was published on September 6, 2021

Germany wants to ensure your phone last up to 7 years — that’s not a typo

EU is gunning for five years of security updates

Germany wants to ensure your phone last up to 7 years — that’s not a typo
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Phone makers usually offer two or three years of software updates, and a couple of years of security patches after that for their flagship devices. If you’ve bought a budget device, good luck getting extended support for that.

However, Germany wants to change this norm to improve the ownership experience for consumers, big-time. Lawmakers are pushing for a regulation that will require manufacturers to provide seven years of mandatory security updates

According to a report by German publication Heise, the country’s government has proposed this norm, along with extended support for repairs.

The authorities have mentioned that if devices need a fix, their parts should be available easily and “at a reasonable price”. Germany’s proposals go beyond the five years of update the European Union is gunning for. 

On the other hand, DigitalEurope, a tech advocacy group with members like Samsung, Apple, and Google, is arguing for a three-year limit for security updates on devices. Most manufacturers already adhere to this norm, while Samsung committed to providing four years of security updates to its devices this year.

With more and more devices launching in different parts of the world, phone makers would understandably want to commit to shorter support. By doing that, they could avoid pouring in resources for a task that’s not exactly helping them earn more moolah.

The EU’s five-year update cycle policy is set to roll out by 2023, but we’ll have to see if phone makers can get that limit reduced. Hopefully other countries will take a leaf out of Germany’s book too.

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