iOS 17.1 Will Fix iPhone 12 Radiation Levels in France

Apple today said that the upcoming iOS 17.1 software that is set to be released later in October will lower iPhone 12 radiation levels.

purple iphone 12 and 12 mini
France in September ordered Apple to cease ‌iPhone‌ 12 sales and implement a "fix" for devices that would bring them into compliance with European electromagnetic radiation standards. Apple in a support document said that it is disabling the off-body detection feature that allows for slightly higher transmit power when an ‌iPhone‌ is not held or in a pocket.

The detection feature is going to be disabled only in France, and Apple says that it is being turned off despite the fact that the country's Agence Française Nationale des Fréquences or ANFR regulatory group made an error when doing its radiation tests.

ANFR used a testing protocol that did not account for the ‌iPhone‌'s off-body detection mechanism, which Apple says has been "thoroughly tested and verified internationally to be an effective mechanism to comply with SAR requirements."

iPhone has sensors that can detect when it is sitting on a static surface, like a table, as opposed to being held in the hand or placed in a pocket. This off-body detection mechanism, which has been used in all iPhones for over a decade, allows the device to increase transmit power slightly in off-body scenarios to optimize performance.

The specific test protocol used by ANFR requires that devices meet the on-body SAR limits, even when the device is tested off-body on a static surface. This decision is not consistent with international standards, which allow for independent testing of power control mechanisms that may not be activated during standard SAR tests.

According to Apple, the ‌iPhone‌ 12 is safe to use "and always has been." The company's iPhones must meet international energy transmission standards for health and safety to ensure limited energy transmission when a device is in contact with the human body.

With the iOS 17.1 update, ‌iPhone‌ 12 models in France will no longer increase their allowed power when the off-body state is detected, so coverage in areas where cellular signal is low may cause slightly lower cellular performance in some off-body use cases, though most users are not expected to notice a change.

Tag: France

Top Rated Comments

Queues Avatar
8 months ago

And the rest of the world? Will theirs get fixed as well, or will their phones still emit the radiation?
"The detection feature is going to be disabled only in France" right there in the article
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
8 months ago
I wish people would stop freaking about low level non-ionizing radiation which is harmless, and demanding devices emit less of it, resulting in lower cellular performance than could otherwise be achieved.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neuropsychguy Avatar
8 months ago

And the rest of the world? Will theirs get fixed as well, or will their phones still emit the radiation?
“The detection feature is going to be disabled only in France, and Apple says that it is being turned off despite the fact that the country's Agence Française Nationale des Fréquences or ANFR regulatory group made an error when doing its radiation tests.

ANFR used a testing protocol that did not account for the ‌iPhone‌'s off-body detection mechanism, which Apple says has been 'thoroughly tested and verified internationally to be an effective mechanism to comply with SAR requirements.'"

Rather than spend the time and money fighting France over this for a 3 year old device, Apple decided to implement the fix. It’s the path of least resistance, even if France appears to be in the wrong on this.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nozuka Avatar
8 months ago
It makes sense to me. Feels like many of you didn’t actually read the article…
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
XXPP Avatar
8 months ago

So there fixing the problem by potentially making the 12 worse in low signal areas.
Yes, because the problem is not the iPhone but the French authorities who don't know what they are doing.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Keymaster Avatar
8 months ago

Unfortunately it may take decades of exposure to low levels and very large high quality studies to answer that question.
Those studies don't exist. Is there strong evidence of carcinogenicity from non-ionizing radiation? No. Have some studies suggested possible harm? Yes. Has it been proven that there is no harm? No.
Science is never "proven", that's not part of what we do. You can never prove that something is completely impossible through experiments, because you can always argue that the next measurement would have been the one to produce the result that appears to be impossible. Instead, we gather data and analyze it, producing the best explanation for the process under study, and then we develop new, better instruments and do it again, improving or replacing the best explanation with something even better.

In this particular case, the physics of how radiation interacts with matter makes it pretty clear how this works. Note that "radiation" isn't the kind from nuclear reactors, those are actual particles of matter that can directly impact your cells and damage the DNA. This radiation is electromagnetic...visible light is radiation in this case. The energy required for electromagnetic radiation to damage a cell directly is really large, up in the UV...you can get skin cancer from sunlight because some of it is UV, and if you go higher it's more possible (which is why there are annual limits on X-ray exposure, for example). The iPhone outputs radio, which is very low energy, much lower than even visible light...it's so low level that the possibility of a radio photon directly causing damage to your DNA is, well, impossible. The heat can cause damage, but the radio just doesn't have the power to do anything to you. Quantum mechanics makes it clear that a particular radio photon might, possibly, damage a cell somewhere in the world, but it's so low probability that you're going to be long dead of something else first.

People fear radiation because of nuclear energy (and for good reason, when that gets out of control it does kill quickly), they just don't understand that it's a totally different thing than what is in the world around you. Heck, people themselves are radioactive (yes, you really are), but it's not dangerous at all to get close to another human (well, not for that reason anyways ;) ). The radiation from an iPhone is safe, it's not going to give you cancer of any kind, so don't fall prey to people who want to use ignorance about it.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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