France has taken measures to stop Apple from selling the iPhone 12 in the country, citing concerns over excessive electromagnetic radiation emitted by the device. The French regulatory authority responsible for radio frequencies, ANFR, has also directed Apple to address the issue in existing phones. ANFR has advised Apple that if it cannot resolve the problem through a software update, it must initiate a recall of all iPhone 12 units ever sold in France.
However, it’s worth noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) has previously sought to alleviate concerns regarding radiation from mobile phones. According to WHO, there is no evidence to suggest that low-level electromagnetic fields pose a threat to human health.
The iPhone 12, initially released in September 2020, is still available for purchase worldwide. Apple has responded by contesting ANFR’s assessment, stating that it provided the regulator with laboratory results, including those from third parties, demonstrating compliance with all relevant regulations. Apple maintains that the iPhone 12 meets radiation level regulations globally.
France’s Digital Minister, Jean-Noel Barrot, explained that the decision stemmed from radiation levels exceeding acceptable limits. ANFR found that the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of the iPhone 12 exceeded the legal threshold. Minister Barrot indicated that Apple must respond within two weeks, and failure to do so may result in a recall of all iPhone 12 devices in circulation. The same rules apply to all companies, including tech giants.
France intends to share its findings with other regulatory bodies within the European Union, which could potentially lead to a broader impact on the market.
ANFR assesses SAR against two different scenarios of phone usage: one when the phone is in close contact with the user’s body, such as holding it or placing it in a pocket, and the other when it is slightly farther away, like being in a bag or jacket pocket. The iPhone 12’s SAR measurement exceeded the limit for close contact but remained within the threshold for slightly greater distances.
This development in France coincided with Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 15, the first model since 2012 to feature an alternative charging port. Apple will offer an adapter for users to continue using their existing cables.
In response to recent reports alleging that Chinese government agencies instructed staff to stop using iPhones, the Chinese foreign ministry clarified that no laws, regulations, or policies have been issued to block the use of Apple products in the country.