Chicago Tribune Claims iPhone Radiofrequency Radiation Levels Measured Higher Than Legal Safety Limit in Tests

The Chicago Tribune recently launched an investigation into the radiofrequency radiation levels output by popular smartphones, and found that some of Apple's iPhones are allegedly emitting radiofrequency radiation that exceeds safety limits.

According to the newspaper, it contracted an accredited lab to test several smartphones according to federal guidelines. iPhones were secured below clear liquid formulated to simulate human tissue while probes measured the radiofrequency radiation the liquid absorbed.

rftestiphone7
Several iPhones measured over the legal safety limits in the tests, but the worst performer was the iPhone 7. Its radiofrequency radiation exposure was over the legal limit and more than double what Apple reported to federal regulators.

The ‌iPhone‌ X was slightly over limits in some tests, as was the ‌iPhone‌ 8, while the 8 Plus stayed within the legal range. iPhones were tested twice after Apple provided feedback on the testing method. The modified test "added steps intended to activate sensors designed to reduce the phones' power."

In these modified tests, where a reporter held the ‌iPhone‌ to activate the sensors in question, the ‌iPhone‌ 8 was under the 5mm limit, but the ‌iPhone‌ 7 models were not. Apple disputed the results found by The Chicago Tribune and said that the lab did not test the iPhones in the same way that Apple does, though Apple would not specify what was done wrong in the testing. Apple also said the modified testing had been done wrong.

rftestotheriphones
Apple officials declined to be interviewed, and asked The Chicago Tribune to submit questions in writing, which were not responded to ahead of publication. Apple later shared a statement that again said the testing was inaccurate "due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the ‌iPhone‌ models."

"All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold," the statement said. "After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable ... exposure guidelines and limits."

The FCC, meanwhile, said that it is going to be doing its own testing over the next couple of months.

"We take seriously any claims on non-compliance with the RF (radiofrequency) exposure standards and will be obtaining and testing the subject phones for compliance with FCC rules," agency spokesman Neil Grace said.

Smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, and Vivo were also tested, and most of these also demonstrated radiofrequency radiation levels that exceed FCC guidelines in The Chicago Tribune's testing.

Both the FCC and smartphone manufacturers test all new smartphones before they're able to be released to the market, making sure devices comply with exposure standards for radiofrequency radiation. The Chicago Tribune claims that this is problematic because just one phone needs to pass and manufacturers are allowed to select the testing lab.

While tests can be conducted from up to 25mm away, The Chicago Tribune used the distance that manufacturers choose for their own tests. In Apple's case, that's 5mm. A second test was also done at 2mm to simulate the way most people carry their phones.

It's worth noting that testing was done in a way to simulate the worst possible exposure conditions.

The phone was now operating at full power, creating what was essentially a worst-case scenario in terms of radiofrequency radiation exposure. Typically, Moulton said, consumers do not experience exposure like this. But it could happen, he said, in limited situations, such as someone talking continuously in an area with a weak connection.

The Chicago Tribune says that its testing was not meant to rank phone models for safety, and in the limited testing, only 11 models were examined. In many cases, just one device was tested, and even then, the paper says it's not known whether the cellphones found to be above the limits even have the potential to cause harm.

Apple tells customers worried about radiofrequency radiation exposure to use a hands-free option, and on some ‌iPhone‌ models, such as the ‌iPhone‌ 4 and 4s, Apple has recommended carrying the devices at least 10mm away from the body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below tested levels. Apple made a similar suggestion with the ‌iPhone‌ 7 when submitting documentation to the FCC, but allegedly did not go on to inform customers about the 5mm distance recommendation.

The FCC plans to do additional testing on smartphones to follow up, which should give more insight into the safety of smartphones. For more on the testing procedures and the results, The Chicago Tribune's full report goes into much more detail and is well worth reading for those who are concerned.

Top Rated Comments

longofest Avatar
43 months ago
what're YOU smoking? Green-certified doesn't make their radiation "magical" or "GOOD", as you say.
I think you missed the sarcasm
Score: 98 Votes (Like | Disagree)
barbu Avatar
43 months ago
No one here will care but I have actually worked in the SAR field and have observed these tests being done. This story is almost certainly ginned-up for clicks. There is a specific methodology that must be applied consistently for the results to make sense. By their own admission, they deviated from the international standard. Phones are tested before they are released and tested again afterwards throughout their availability. Click bait.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pelea Avatar
43 months ago
even if this is true it DOESN'T matter. Iphone radiation is the cleanest and purest radiation there is and many would argue that it is actually GOOD for your health
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yaxomoxay Avatar
43 months ago
And you guys told me that my tinfoil hat is useless...
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheRealTVGuy Avatar
43 months ago
"Smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, and Vivo were also tested, and most of these also demonstrated radiofrequency radiation levels that exceed FCC guidelines in The Chicago Tribune's testing."

This is the most telling part of this story. Something's not right. Either all manufacturers allow their phones to slip over the limit, or the testing conditions may not be correct.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
43 months ago
Isn't it obvious? They're holding it wrong.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

applefifthavenue

Man Robbed After Buying 300 iPhones From Apple Fifth Avenue

Tuesday November 29, 2022 11:54 am PST by
An unnamed 27-year-old man who purchased 300 iPhones from Apple Fifth Avenue on Monday morning was robbed shortly after leaving the store, according to 1010Wins Radio in New York. He was carrying 300 iPhone 13s in three bags and walking to his car at 1:45 a.m. when another car pulled up next to him. Two men jumped out and demanded that he hand over the bags. Not wanting to hand over 300...
iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.2 With Carrier Improvements and Crash Detection Optimizations

Wednesday November 30, 2022 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.1.2, another minor bug fix update that comes one week after the release of iOS 16.1.1 and three weeks after the launch of iOS 16.1, an update that added support for iCloud Shared Photo Library, Matter, Live Activities, and more. The iOS 16.1.2 update can be downloaded on eligible iPhones over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According...
app store awards 2021

Apple Announces 2022 App Store Award Winners, Highlighting Best Apps of the Year

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:10 am PST by
Apple today announced its 2022 App Store Award winners, highlighting the 16 best apps and games selected by Apple's global App Store editorial team. The top apps were chosen by Apple for their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver "exceptional experiences." Apple CEO Tim Cook said: This year's App Store Award winners reimagined...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

'M2 Max' Geekbench Scores Leak Online, Revealing Rumored Specs and Performance

Wednesday November 30, 2022 2:39 am PST by
Geekbench scores allegedly for the upcoming "M2 Max" chip have surfaced online, offering a closer look at the performance levels and specific details of the forthcoming Apple silicon processor. The Geekbench results, first spotted on Twitter, are for a Mac configuration of with the M2 Max chip, a 12-core CPU, and 96GB of memory. The Mac listed has an identifier "Mac14,6," which could be...
eufy camera

Anker's Eufy Cameras Caught Uploading Content to the Cloud Without User Consent [Updated]

Tuesday November 29, 2022 1:01 pm PST by
Anker's popular Eufy-branded security cameras appear to be sending some data to the cloud, even when cloud storage is disabled and local only storage settings are turned on. The information comes from security consultant Paul Moore, who last week published a video outlining the issue. According to Moore, he purchased a Eufy Doorbell Dual, which was meant to be a device that stored video...
Apple Park View

Elon Musk Meets With Apple CEO Tim Cook Amid Claims of Twitter App Store Dispute [Updated]

Wednesday November 30, 2022 12:43 pm PST by
Twitter CEO Elon Musk today met with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, according to a tweet shared by Musk this afternoon. Musk thanked Cook for taking him around Apple's headquarters, with no mention of what the two might have discussed. The meeting comes just after Musk on Monday claimed that Apple has "mostly stopped" offering ads on Twitter, and that...
iphone 11 tesla cybertruck close up

Elon Musk Pledges to Build iPhone Rival If Apple Ousts Twitter

Tuesday November 29, 2022 2:48 am PST by
Elon Musk has pledged to offer an "alternative phone" if Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, adding to long-standing rumors about an iPhone rival from Tesla. Modified iPhone 11 Pro in the style of the Tesla Cybertruck, by Caviar. Musk's remark came after being asked about the potential scenario of Twitter being removed from app stores, which could conceivably happen if the...
Cyber Monday Deals Feature 2022

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals Still Available for AirPods, Apple TV, iPad, and More

Monday November 28, 2022 5:24 am PST by
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping rush is drawing to a close, but there are still some good deals to be had out there. For Apple products, many of the deals you've seen since last week are still available, though some have expired. So for anyone who missed out on Black Friday deals, there's still an opportunity to get some of the year's best prices on many Apple devices. Note: ...
apple music replay 2022 highlight reel cropped

Apple Music Replay 2022 Revamped With 'Highlight Reel' [Updated]

Tuesday November 29, 2022 4:02 am PST by
Apple today rolled out an updated Apple Music Replay experience for 2022, showcasing a new "highlight reel" feature. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The overhauled experience, which started to be noticed by Apple Music subcribers on Twitter earlier today, puts the new highlight reel feature at the forefront of the Replay webpage, which users are encouraged to...
iPhone 14 Pro Rear Camera

iPhone 15 to Use 'State-of-the-Art' Image Sensor From Sony for Better Low-Light Performance

Monday November 28, 2022 11:00 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 15 models will be equipped with Sony's newest "state of the art" image sensors, according to a report from Nikkei. Compared to standard sensors, Sony's image sensor doubles the saturation signal in each pixel, allowing it to capture more light to cut down on underexposure and overexposure. Nikkei says that it is able to better photograph a person's face even with...