France’s radio frequency watchdog, the Agence Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR), has issued an order for Apple to halt the sale of the iPhone 12 due to concerns over excessive electromagnetic radiation emissions. Additionally, the ANFR has instructed Apple to address the issue with existing iPhones in circulation.
The ANFR has conveyed to Apple that if a resolution cannot be achieved through a software update, the company must initiate a recall of all iPhone 12 devices sold in France.
The iPhone 12 was initially introduced in September 2020 and remains available for purchase globally.
Responding to these actions, Apple has stated that it disputes the ANFR’s assessment and has provided the regulator with laboratory results from both Apple itself and third-party entities to demonstrate that the iPhone 12 complies with all relevant regulations. The company asserts that the iPhone 12 is recognized as compliant with radiation level regulations worldwide.
The ANFR’s decision is reportedly based on the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of the iPhone 12, which was found to exceed the legally allowed threshold.
France’s Digital Minister, Jean-Noel Barrot, revealed that the decision to take action was due to radiation levels surpassing acceptable limits. If Apple does not address the issue within two weeks, the minister is prepared to order a recall of all iPhone 12 devices in circulation.
Barrot noted that the rule applies uniformly to all entities, including tech giants like Apple. France intends to share its findings with regulators across the European Union, potentially resulting in a broader impact on the availability of the iPhone 12 in the trading bloc.
The ANFR assesses SAR by examining two distinct scenarios of phone use: one involving close contact with the human body, such as holding the phone or placing it in a pocket, and another where the phone is slightly further away, such as being inside a bag or jacket pocket. The “membre” (limb) SAR limit for close contact is set at four watts per kilogram, while the iPhone 12 was found to have a “membre” SAR of 5.74 watts per kilogram, exceeding the limit.
This development coincides with Apple’s recent announcement of the iPhone 15, the first iPhone model since 2012 to feature an alternative charging port. Apple intends to offer an adapter for existing cables to accommodate the new port.
It is important to note that the World Health Organization has previously stated that there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields, such as those produced by mobile phones, is harmful to humans.