- France halted all iPhone 12 sales due to radiofrequency radiation levels exceeding the country’s legal limits during testing.
- Apple contested the findings by France’s regulator ANFR, believing they used atypical SAR testing methods.
- Nonetheless, Apple promised a software update tailored to comply with France’s SAR testing standards specifically.
- The controversy spread to other European countries like Germany and Italy, also awaiting Apple’s software fix before allowing further iPhone 12 sales.
France recently made the surprise decision to suspend all sales of the iPhone 12, citing radiofrequency radiation levels exceeding legal limits. Apple has contested the findings but promised a software update to address the concerns.
The move came from the Agence Nationale des Frequences (ANFR), France’s regulator responsible for monitoring wireless emissions. ANFR claimed its testing showed the iPhone 12’s specific absorption rate (SAR) measurements were too high.
SAR levels indicate how much radiofrequency energy is absorbed by the human body when using a cell phone. All countries have maximum legal SAR levels that phone makers must comply with.
Apple Downplays Validity of Findings
Apple has strongly disagreed with France’s findings, arguing that the iPhone 12 passes all global testing requirements. The tech giant believes ANFR used atypical testing methodologies that produced inaccurate SAR measurements.
Nonetheless, Apple committed to releasing a software update specially designed to meet France’s SAR testing standards, whatever they may entail. The company aims to continue offering the iPhone 12 in France with the radiation issue resolved.
We will issue a software update for users in France to accommodate the protocol used by French regulators. We look forward to 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.
The iPhone 12 first launched nearly 3 years ago and has likely already undergone rigorous pre-release radiofrequency testing by regulators worldwide. What remains unclear is precisely how France’s SAR testing process apparently differed.
Concerns Echoed by Other European Nations
France’s warning has rippled through Europe, with several countries echoing radiation concerns over the iPhone 12. Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Denmark are among those awaiting Apple’s software fix before allowing further sales.
For decades, extensive research has largely concluded that mobile phones are safe to use and unlikely to pose health risks from radiation exposure. Hundreds of studies have found SAR levels fall well below dangerous thresholds.
France appears to be an outlier in flagging the iPhone 12 model for excessive emissions. The controversy illustrates how regulatory testing processes can vary significantly across borders.
Apple will aim to satisfy France’s requirements while ensuring a consistent user experience across Europe. Delivering an urgent software update should allow iPhone 12 sales to resume pending final approval.
The debacle demonstrates Apple’s constant need to navigate diverse regulations and standards across global markets when launching new products. Satisfying French SAR protocols could strengthen public trust and stimulate demand once sales resume.