Apple has been ordered to stop selling the iPhone 12 in France after a government agency found it could emit high levels of electromagnetic radiation that exceed EU rules.
Don't throw away your iPhones just yet, though. France's minister of digital transition says that the measured radiation is stillis significantly lowerthan scientists consider harmful to humans, and Apple can bring a smartphone model back into compliance with a “simple upgrade.”
In addition to suspending sales, the National Frequency Agency (ANFR) is urging Apple to “implement all available means to quickly correct this malfunction” in the iPhone 12. they say in the agency Tuesday.
The announcement was made on the same day that Apple unveiled its iPhone 15.
Apple rejected ANFR's findings, saying it sent the agency multiple lab results — conducted by internal and third-party labs — showing the iPhone 12 complies with EU regulations.
ANFR regularly tests mobile phones on the French market to ensure the public is protected from exposure to electromagnetic waves, the agency said. Recently, it tested 141 phone models, including the iPhone 12, and measured their Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of how much energy the human body absorbs when exposed to an electromagnetic field.
The iPhone 12 passed one of two main tests. When the iPhone was held in the hand or carried in a pocket, regulators measured a SAR of 5.74 watts per kilogram, which is higher than the EU standard of 4 watts per kilogram.
When the iPhone is carried in a bag or kept in a jacket, it meets the EU benchmark of 2 watts per kilogram absorbed by the body.
ANFR tests phones to allow them to transmit maximum power for six minutes, a scenario that “does not reflect the most common use of the phone,” the agency wrote about itself. website.
During calls, phones transmit only half the time the user is talking, and calls rarely last more than six minutes, the agency wrote. Mobile Internet or video usage lasts longer, but the phone “rarely transmits more than 10% of the time,” in those cases.
Phones also do not transmit at maximum power unless the phone is at the “coverage limit”, such as when it only has one band.
in the interview France infoJean-Noël Barot, the digital transition minister, tried to reassure the public that the EU's radiation limits “are set ten times lower than what scientific studies estimate (can be) the result of consumers”.
Still, “a rule is a rule,” he said, and Apple has 15 days to come up with a plan to fix the iPhone 12.
“I am confident that within two weeks Apple will respond to the official notice from the National Frequency Agency and explain how an update can be made to get everything back to normal,” Barro said.
Meanwhile, ANFR will “fully mobilize its agents so that monitoring resumes”.
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It's unclear why the phone, which was released in late 2020, failed the agency's final round of tests, and why it was only a specific model.
According to Malcolm Sperini, director of medical physics at Britain's Royal Berkshire Hospital, the iPhone 12 may emit more radiation “at the initial stage of connection, when the phone is ‘searching' for a transmit/receive signal,” he said.
Sperini agrees with Barot that the issue can be resolved with a software update and that higher levels of radiation “are unlikely to have any health consequences.”
The The World Health Organization announced in 2020 that “after many studies, adverse health effects have not been causally linked to exposure to wireless technology.”
“Provided that total exposure remains below international guidelines, no public health consequences are expected.”
Experts have recommended that people who are concerned about exposure to cell phone radiation use headphones or switch to texting.
— With files from the Associated Press
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