September 13, 2023
Just in time for Apple’s release of the new iPhone 15 models and Series 9 Apple Watch, during its annual September event in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday. September 12, France has ordered the tech company to stop selling the iPhone 12 for emitting too much electromagnetic radiation, reports the BBC.
On Tuesday, the French watchdog that governs radio frequencies also told the tech giant to fix existing phones. The ANFR (Agence nationale des fréquences) has advised Apple, that if it cannot resolve the issue via a software update, it must recall every iPhone 12 ever sold in the country.
But the World Health Organization has previously sought to allay fears about radiation emitted by mobile phones. It says on its website there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to humans.
The iPhone 12 was first released in September 2020, and it still is sold worldwide.
Apple told the BBC it was contesting the ANFR’s review and said that it had provided the regulator with lab results from the tech giant, itself, and third parties that show the device is compliant with all the relevant rules.
France’s digital minister Jean-Noel Barrot told French newspaper Le Parisien that the decision was due to radiation levels above the acceptable threshold, according to a Reuters report. He said the ANFR found the iPhone 12’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) was above what is legally allowed.
“Apple is expected to respond within two weeks,” he said. “If they fail to do so, I am prepared to order a recall of all iPhones 12 in circulation. The rule is the same for everyone, including the digital giants.”
The ANFR requires the SAR of devices to be checked against the two different ways in which a phone is used. First there is a “membre”—or limb—check, for when a phone is in close contact with a person’s body,; such as when it is held or placed in a trouser pocket. The SAR limit for this is four watts per kilogram.
The regulator said the device’s “membre” SAR was 5.74 watts per kilogram— higher than the limit.
Thee also is a check for when a phone is slightly further away, such as when it is in a bag or jacket pocket—but the iPhone 12’s SAR measure came in under this threshold.
Research contact: @BBC