France has instructed Apple to withdraw the iPhone 12 from sale due to tests revealing that the model emitted levels of radiation exceeding European Union-approved limits. The country’s telecommunications minister, Jean-Noel Barrot, has threatened to recall all iPhone 12 devices if the issue is not resolved within two weeks. The ANFR, France’s radiation watchdog, conducted tests that demonstrated the smartphone’s Specific Absorption Rate (Sar) exceeded the legally allowed limit within the EU.
Apple has stated that it will contest the regulator’s ruling and maintain that its device is compliant with global radiation regulations. The company has reportedly provided the French regulator with multiple tests conducted by both Apple engineers and third-party laboratories to support its claim.
Minister Barrot believes that a simple software update could address the issue and expects Apple to comply with the country’s rules. Failure to do so may result in the recall of all iPhone 12s in circulation. The ANFR has shared its findings on 141 tested mobile phone models with regulators across the EU.
The reported Sar for the iPhone 12 was 5.74 watts per kilogram, exceeding the four watts per kilogram limit set by Brussels for devices when held or kept in a pocket. Minister Barrot emphasized that the EU-mandated threshold is ten times lower than the radiation emission level that may have health consequences for users.
To ensure compliance, agents will begin inspecting shops in France to confirm the removal of iPhone 12s from shelves across the country.
The announcement coincided with Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone 15, which features a USB-C port in compliance with EU regulations that mandate the use of this charging port by the end of 2024. The iPhone 12 initially violated these rules and became the first Apple device affected by the ANFR’s enforcement.
Since 2017, the regulator has made 42 decisions to withdraw phones emitting excessive radiation from the market. Six mobile phone developers, including Orange’s Hapi 30, have been compelled to recall their devices after failing to rectify the issue following ultimatums from the ANFR.