Technical Reviews

Apple says iPhone 12 is safe, France just tested it wrong – will update anyway

Apple says it will issue an operating system update to assuage fears in France over iPhone 12 radiation levels, despite asserting the complaints were due to French regulators’ testing procedures.

On the day Apple released the iPhone 15, the ANFR watchdog ordered sales of the 2020 device to be halted and threatened a full recall of every iPhone 12 sold in the country if the issue wasn’t remedied via a software update.

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Apple had initially told regulators the phone was within the legal limit for radiation absorbed by the body when the phone is in use, citing the procedures used by the French in testing the device as being the issue. Not the phone itself.

Apple repeated that line in a statement given to Reuters, maintaining there are no safety concerns with the phone. However, the company still plans on issuing an update to bring the emissions in line with the “specific protocol” used over the channel.

The statement reads: “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,” Apple said in a statement.

“This is related to a specific testing protocol used by French regulators and not a safety concern.”

The issue pertained to the iPhone 12’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which pertains to the rate the body takes on the radio frequency when the phone is held to the ear or kept in the pocket for instance.

So how much radiation is too much radiation? Well the specific absorption rate for when the iPhone 12 held close to the body (i.e. in the pocket to held up to the ear) is apparently 5.74 watts per kilogram above the legal limit.

Because the iPhone 12 has now been succeeded by three further generations, the halt in sales would have been unlikely to affect the company’s bottom line too much. However a recall would have been an almighty pain in le derrière.

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