WTF?! With the unveiling of the iPhone 15 series yesterday, a lot of Apple headlines are related to its latest handsets. But an older device, the iPhone 12, is suddenly getting a lot of attention, and for an unusual reason: France has ordered Apple to stop selling the phone due to its radiation levels being above the allowed threshold.
The French agency that regulates radio frequencies, the ANFR, has notified Apple of its decision to ban iPhone 12 sales after tests showed the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) was above the allowed limit.
The ANFR said accredited labs had measured absorption of electromagnetic energy by the body at 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests simulating when the phone was being held in the hand or kept in a pocket, writes France 24. That's higher than the European standard absorption rate of 4.0 watts per kilogram.
The agency noted that tests measuring radiation absorption rates at a distance of 5cms (1.98 inches) showed that the iPhone 12 was in compliance with the limit of 2.0 watts per kilogram.
France's junior minister for the digital economy, Jean-Noël Barrot, told newspaper Le Parisien that a software update would be able to address the radiation issues linked to the iPhone 12. Apple has two weeks to respond to France's request, if it fails to do so, Barrot stated that he is prepared to issue a recall of the device, which went on sale in 2020.
Barrot said, "In practical terms, this decision could have a snowball effect."
The ANFR said it would verify that the iPhone 12 models were no longer being offered for sale in France starting today.
Apple said it had provided ANFR with multiple Apple and independent third-party lab results proving its compliance with all applicable SAR regulations and standards in the world. The company added that it was contesting the results of AFNR's review and would continue to engage with the agency to show it is compliant.
The World Health Organization website states that numerous studies have shown "no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use."
In 2020, France expanded its rules requiring retailers to display radiation values of products on packaging beyond cell phones to include other electronic devices such as tablets.