On September 12, 2023, Apple launched its most anticipated iPhone 15 models at the grand Apple “Wonderlust” event. During the event, Apple simultaneously discontinued the iPhone 12, which was originally released in October 2020. However, in Europe, almost at the same time Apple was launching the iPhone 15, the iPhone 12 came into the spotlight due to concerns raised by France regarding its electromagnetic emissions. An unexpected concern was raised about the iPhone 12 radiation threat by France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR). On the same day as Apple’s fall product announcements, ANFR informed Apple that the iPhone 12 exceeded European Union regulations for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which measures the rate at which a human body absorbs radiation from a device.
The initial Apple reaction was that the iPhone 12 had all the regulatory approvals in Europe and that there was no such threat. However, opting not to keep the issue boiling so close to the recent launch of iPhone 15, Apple is taking swift action to address the concerns raised by France’s watchdog, ANFR. Notably, earlier this week, the French agency publicly declared that the iPhone 12 failed to meet radiation level regulations and even banned the sale of the smartphone in France and urged it to release a fix promptly.
An Apple spokesperson responded to Reuters, AFP, and Euronews, “We will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators. We look forward to the iPhone 12 continuing to be available in France. This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern.”
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According to a report by Reuters, Belgium’s state secretary for digitalization said he had asked Apple to upgrade the iPhone 12 software across EU countries. However, he also said that based on the Belgian regulator’s own preliminary review the iPhone 12 presents no danger to users.
What is ANFR?
According to a report by TechCrunch Organizations like ANFR typically measure several Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) in their laboratories, whenever a new device is introduced. For example, the European Union mandates that a human body should not receive more than 2W/kg of radiation over 10g of tissue. Experts have pointed out that the iPhone 12 still falls well below radiation limits which poses significant health risks. Nevertheless, Apple is addressing the issue and ensuring compliance with regulations. It is expected that this matter will be resolved in the coming days, and it will soon fade from public memory, allowing users to enjoy their iPhone 12 devices without worry.