When buying a phone, there are a lot of factors that many consider. Cost, specs, battery life, connectivity and availability of accessories. For users who like to have the latest and greatest, it’s less of a concern, but for many, the length of support for OS and security updates is a big factor.

Arstechnica has outlined the key points of draft regulations in the EU. The changes will push manufacturers to offer longer-term software updates and easier access to repairs. The focus is on increasing the longevity of devices and a reduction of the environmental impact of e-waste.

Partially, this is addressed by ensuring that phones sold in the EU are covered by three years of OS and five years of security updates. This offers peace of mind to users who seek that longer-term investment and assurance their device will remain secure. Interestingly the regulations also note that updates must be available to users within two months of source release:

security updates mentioned under points (a) and (b) need to be available to the user at the latest 2 months after the public release of a security patch, or the source code of an update of the underlying operating system or, if the source code is not publicly
released, after an update of the same operating system is released by the operating system provider or on any other product of the same brand;

At this stage, there aren’t any specifics on manufacturer or model restrictions so the potential is this will apply to all devices. That would, of course, push costs for low to mid-range devices up or force smaller manufacturers out of the EU market.

We’re not far from the EU regulation around all devices using USB-C coming into effect, and they’re continuing to lead the way. What other stipulations would you like to see on phones to ensure they’re environmentally responsible, provide good user experience, great value and go the distance?

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    That’s a good start, but such a policy needs to be extended to encompass devices beyond phones.
    Phil, a question comes to mind. Does the 3 years of OS updates and 5 years of security patches, start from the release date of a device, or from the date a device is purchased. With some devices being sold for more than a year after release, that detail matters to owners.