Investigation into iPhone 12 Electromagnetic Profile in France

The iPhone 12 is currently under investigation in France for potentially violating electromagnetic radiation standards. While Apple has recently introduced newer iPhone models, the iPhone 12 remains a significant device in Europe, with several countries following France’s lead in examining its electromagnetic profile.

The concern arose when France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR) notified Apple that the iPhone 12 exceeds the European Union regulations for Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which measures the rate at which the human body absorbs radiation from a device. The ANFR has called on Apple to withdraw the iPhone 12 and make necessary fixes, otherwise, they may recall the devices already sold.

EU standards specify two SAR measures for devices operating in the same frequency range as the iPhone. The “head and trunk” value, applicable when the phone is against the head or in a pocket, must not exceed 2 watts per kilogram of body tissue, averaged over six minutes. The “limbs” value, applicable when the phone is held in the hand or on clothing or accessories, is set at 4 W/kg.

The ANFR found that the iPhone 12 exceeded the “limbs” limit, measuring at 5.74 W/kg. As a result, the ANFR intends to ensure that the iPhone 12 is no longer available for sale in France and expects corrective updates from Apple. Apple, on the other hand, asserts that the iPhone 12 is certified by multiple international bodies and claims to have provided the ANFR with documentation showing compliance with regulatory limits.

The issue raised in France has also prompted other countries to take action. Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection is contemplating the need for change, while Belgium’s state secretary for digitalization has requested a review of all Apple smartphones and devices. Denmark and Italy have initiated investigations but have not taken formal actions.

It is worth noting that the World Health Organization states that regular exposure to the non-ionizing frequencies used by mobile phones has not been established to have adverse health effects. However, concerns and studies have garnered media attention, even if inconclusive.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission has set SAR limits at 1.6 W/kg. The iPhone 12’s submitted SAR levels were measured at 1.554 W/kg at their peak and were cleared by the FCC for release in 2020.

French regulators have been proactive in demanding more from US-based tech companies. They have previously urged Google and Facebook to implement one-click cookie rejection and include repairability scores on devices. Furthermore, they have advocated for global AI regulations by the end of the year.