Right To Repair Gets Major Boost In Europe

Pxyaeq, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Phone and tablet manufacturers may have to make spare parts available to independent repairers in Europe. They’ll also need to make replacement batteries available or prove the original batteries have an adequate lifespan.

If backed by lawmakers in Europe, the proposals will become a European Union regulation, meaning they take immediate legal effect in all EU countries.

Under the rules, 15 key components must be available to repairers for five years after a particular model goes on sale. These include batteries, chargers, displays and trays for SIM and memory cards.

Manufacturers could opt out of the battery replacement requirement but only if they can show that the battery can retain at least 80 percent capacity following 1,000 full charge cycles. They’ll also have to commit to not issuing software updates that could reduce battery capacity.

The rules are designed to reduce unnecessary electronic waste by making it easier to repair rather than replace a device. They’d also require an information “label” on new devices with durability information such as the expected battery life and water and dust resistance.

The rules follow an agreement in principle for the EU to require all smartphones (and many other electronic devices) sold after 2024 to include a USB-C charging port to reduce the need to replace chargers. The idea of a universal charger is a long-running issue in Europe that’s naturally been opposed by Apple.

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