Apple has announced plans to release a software update for iPhone 12 devices in France, following concerns raised by French regulators regarding the device’s electromagnetic radiation levels. The move comes after France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR) reported that the iPhone 12 exceeded European Union regulations for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).
SAR measures the rate at which a human body absorbs radiation from a device. According to EU standards, the SAR limit for “head and trunk” exposure should not exceed 2 Watts of power per kilogram of body tissue, averaged over six minutes. For “limbs” exposure when the phone is held in the hand or in clothing, it’s 4 W/kg. France’s ANFR found that the iPhone 12 exceeded the “limbs” limit, measuring 5.74 W/kg.
The ANFR called on Apple to withdraw the iPhone 12 from the market or “quickly remedy this malfunction.” French digital and telecommunications minister Jean-Noel Barot suggested that software updates could address the issue.
Apple responded to ANFR’s findings by stating that the iPhone 12 had been certified by multiple international bodies and that it provided documentation to demonstrate compliance with regulatory limits. The company maintained that the problem was related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern.
To resolve the matter, Apple will issue a software update tailored for users in France. This update aims to accommodate the specific testing protocol used by French regulators. The update is expected to be delivered in the coming days.
However, this development raises questions about the availability of iPhone 12 in other countries. It is important to note that SAR limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States are 1.6 W/kg. The iPhone 12’s SAR levels, which were measured at 1.554 W/kg at their peak during specific use cases, met FCC requirements when the device was released in 2020.
France’s decision to halt iPhone 12 sales and demand corrective actions has also spurred similar investigations in other countries, including Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. These actions highlight the potential for regulatory measures that could impact Apple’s devices across the European Union.
While some studies have raised concerns about the effects of mobile phone radiation, the World Health Organization maintains that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest harm from low-level electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones. As Apple addresses this issue, it remains to be seen how the situation will impact iPhone 12 availability and regulatory actions in other regions.