France Orders End to iPhone 12 Sales Over Radiation Level Concerns

France on Tuesday ordered Apple to halt iPhone 12 sales and "fix" existing devices over fears the devices emit too much electromagnetic radiation (via France24).

iphone 12 vs iphone 12 pro
The French agency that regulates radio frequencies, the ANFR, said on its website that testing found the ‌iPhone‌ 12 emits more electromagnetic waves susceptible to be absorbed by the body than permitted.

The ANFR ordered Apple to "remove the ‌iPhone‌ 12 from the French market from September 12 due to the model exceeding the limit" for electromagnetic absorption by the body. The agency also told Apple to recall every ‌iPhone‌ 12 it has ever sold in the country. Apple launched the ‌iPhone‌ 12 in 2020 and it is still sold across the globe.

"Concerning phones already sold, Apple must in the briefest of delays take corrective measures to bring the affected phones into compliance," said the ANFR in a statement on its website. "Otherwise, Apple will have to recall them."

The ANFR said the device's Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) was 5.74 watts per kilogram, which is above the limit set by the European Union for a phone when held or kept in a pocket. The ANFR said it intends to share its findings with other EU regulators.

The findings contradict advice given by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO website, based on data from a large number of studies, "no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use."

Apple told the BBC it was contesting the ANFR's review, and said it had provided the regulator with its own lab results as well as third parties which show the device is compliant with all the relevant rules. Apple said the ‌iPhone‌ 12 was recognised as being compliant with regulations on radiation levels worldwide.

This isn't the first time Apple has come under regulatory scrutiny in the country. Under a previous French law, Apple was until January 2022 lawfully obligated to include EarPods in the box based on the precautionary principle, because regulators said the risks of exposing developing brains to electromagnetic waves are not clearly known.

France in 2020 also widened regulations requiring retailers to display the radiation value of products on packaging beyond smartphones, including tablets and other electronic devices.

As for the ‌iPhone‌ 12 order, Apple must respond to it within two weeks, the ANFR said.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Top Rated Comments

Lwii2boo Avatar
11 months ago

Is this only regarding the "iPhone 12" or also the "iPhone 12 Pro"? Typing this from my iPhone 12 Pro Max
I'm French and French media told us that this issue applied only for iPhone 12. 12 mini, 12 Pro and 12 PM are not concerned by this issue. source:

Moreover the emission was fine at launch for EU standard (<4W/kg) but when ANFR did again the test 3 years later, the emission measure was increased to 5.7W/kg. According to many experts, you need to reach 40W/kg before having realistic health risk.

If the test is valid, Apple would be forced to push a software update to reduce emissions - which is easily feasible as this is how the emission has increased over time - but it may reduce modem performance.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lwii2boo Avatar
11 months ago

So... France orders the end of sales of a product launched in... 2020?
Thumbs up for their reactivity.

I'm sure something undetected for 3 years is probably just fine.
Do your homework before saying this BS on such a controversial topic.
At launch the emission was under 4W/kg, it was increased over time to reach now 5.7W/kg via software updates. This is why it was spotted 3 years later. ANFR is a serious institution in France, you simply can't sell the phone here as a big manufacturer if they did not check your emissions before launch. Apple is no exception.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bobbie424242 Avatar
11 months ago
Raise your pitchforks, your favorite trillion dollars company is under attaaaack ! MAYDAY !!!
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
11 months ago
This legislation is based on quack theories.

Complete quackery.

But not surprising considering French government was subsidising homeopathy until recently and its most top selling product in pharmacies is a quack homeopathic remedy with no active ingredients.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piplodocus Avatar
11 months ago
There's some total nonsense in this thread with some people clearly knowing nothing about SAR testing or legal limits.

SAR testing has nothing to do with causing cancer, so that's a red herring. SAR (specific absorbtion rate) is about the heating effects on the body/head. Radios cause heating of surrounding stuff due to absorbtion of the RF enegy. This is exactly how a microwave oven works: it's non-ionising radiation heating stuff/water/blood/animal-juice up, but obviously in the case of a microwave oven that's a far higher power in a farage cage for safety. But clearly no-one wants to cook their head well-done in a couple of minutes and suffer brain damage, so there's still heating effects from the lower power radios found in phones/laptops/etc, but at a far lower level.

So experts have worked together for years to work out what is deemed a safe level of heating you can have without it being detrimental to your health. There's worldwide limits on this set by FCC for the US and ETSI for the EU (amongst others). So it would have had to pass those limits when originally going on sale and usually confirmed by a 3rd party independent test house on behalf of Apple. So either the radio power has "accidentally"(?) been turned up over time via software updates, or Apple and/or the test house screwed the original testing, or failed to test it to all the different head/body requirements it should have been. Or the ANFR have screwed something up with the testing, but you can bet they'd be retesting multiple times if they found it to fail to be sure it's definitely failed before announcing this and going this far.

So this isn't ANFR/France being to blame for some weird law. This is France noticing that it fails the limits for the whole of Europe and any other parts of the world who share the same ETSI limits. This is obviously why they say they'll be sharing info with other regulatory bodies from other countries that use the same standards.

How did it happen? I dunno? But if it does fail, then Apple can likely check/retest and presuming they find the same results, turn the power down slightly.

So, should you all be terribly worried? Probably not massively. There's no magical limit where zero harm is caused or definite harm is caused. It's based on years of research to try determine what is a safe bet. So using this a normal amount is still probably better than being on a lower power phone for an excessive amount of time. It's like the speed limit: 30 mph isn't inherently guaranteed 100% safe, whereas 31mph will suddenly mean accidents and certain death! Sticking any radio/phone next to your head/in your hands will cause some heating effect. There's no way around it. Are the limits exact? No, of course not. They're no doubt set very much on the safe side. But there's a limit enshirined in law that's deemed safe, and Apple have to meet it, as does every other phone manufacturer.

Other thoughts: yes, the world is full of radio signals, but they die off roughly with the square of the distance (partly dependant on antenna directionality/gain). So a very high power transmitter 100m away isn't going to be nearly so bad for you as a low power one a couple of millimeteres from your head. So the "but there's lots of radios about and they're fine" argument is bollocks, because you're not holding the antenna or putting it right next to your head in those other cases.

And no, you don't have to make the phone heavier to pass the test. The W/kg is per kg of your head/flesh, not the phone. ?

So if I had an iPhone 12 would I keep using it? Yeah. Anywhere I'm in good signal coverage it'll never be transmitting at max power anyway. If I'm somewhere with poor reception I'd probably try not chat for hours with it pressed as hard against my head as possible (like I'd probably do with any phone)! But if it breaks the law of what is legally deemed safe, it breaks the law. And ironically in this case, if you really are that worried, you can always make a tinfoil hat (but that could apply for any radio use)...
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hortod1 Avatar
11 months ago
Like all scientific studies it should be peer-reviewed before it’s given any credibility. If the French Government is that confident in its findings then it shouldn’t be an issue.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)