Apple has pledged to release a software update for iPhone 12 devices in France to address concerns over radiation levels, which led to the suspension of iPhone 12 sales in the country. France conducted tests that found breaches of radiation exposure limits specific to limb testing, which differed from testing methods in other countries. While Apple contested the findings, the company has agreed to provide a software update to accommodate France’s testing protocols. This move has raised concerns in other European countries, prompting discussions with Apple and possible requests for similar updates.
The French Agency Nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) conducted tests on the iPhone 12’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of radiofrequency energy absorption by the body. The testing method in France included limb SAR measurements, which evaluate radiation exposure when holding the phone, in addition to the conventional head and body tests. The iPhone 12 failed the French limb SAR tests, as they are measured at a distance of 0 mm, whereas body tests in other countries measure at a distance of 5mm.
France’s Response and Apple’s Commitment France suspended sales of iPhone 12 handsets following the SAR testing results. Apple, while disagreeing with the findings, announced its intention to issue a software update to align with France’s testing protocol. The French government welcomed this move, and it is expected that iPhone 12 sales in France will resume once the software update is implemented. Apple clarified that this action is specific to French regulators’ testing methods and not due to safety concerns.
The radiation warning in France, stemming from different testing criteria, has raised concerns across Europe. Belgium’s state secretary for digitalization contacted Apple and requested that the software update be applied throughout EU countries. While preliminary reviews by Belgian regulators did not raise concerns about the iPhone 12’s safety, the request aimed to ensure consistency in addressing the issue.
Germany is in communication with French authorities to explore a European Union-wide solution, while Italy intends to approach Apple to discuss updating iPhone 12 devices sold in Italy. However, these actions will likely follow the conclusion of the French investigation.
The Dutch Authority for Digital Infrastructure is conducting its own investigation and is in contact with Apple, German, and French authorities. Concerned consumers have reached out to the agency. Denmark’s Safety Authority reassured iPhone 12 owners that it would not take action based on France’s findings, as it was not concerned about radiation levels from using the device.
Industry Experts’ Views Industry experts have emphasized that there are no safety risks associated with the iPhone 12. Regulatory limits are set well below levels where harm from radiation has been observed, primarily focusing on the risk of burns or heatstroke from the phone’s radiation. Given that the iPhone 12 is an older model, experts believe the incident is likely to be resolved without significant long-term consequences.
Apple’s European Presence Apple’s revenues in Europe reached approximately $95 billion in the previous year, making it the company’s second-largest market after the Americas. While specific sales figures for iPhone models and countries are not disclosed by Apple, estimates suggest that over 50 million iPhones were sold in Europe in the previous year.
Apple’s commitment to addressing radiation concerns in the iPhone 12 with a software update in France aims to resolve the issue and resume sales in the country. The divergence in testing methods has raised concerns in other European nations, prompting discussions with Apple about potential updates. Industry experts emphasize that the regulatory limits are well below harmful levels, and the incident is not expected to have a significant impact, especially given that the iPhone 12 is no longer Apple’s latest model.