Apple is facing a ban on the sale and potential recall of its smartphone – iPhone 12 in France over claims its radiation level exceeds radio frequency exposure limits by the nation’s regulator.
Apple is fighting back saying its iPhone 12 was certified by multiple international bodies as compliant with global radiation standards, disputing tests by the French ANFR watchdog that said the model emits more electromagnetic waves susceptible to be absorbed by the body than permitted.
The watchdog said it had found the phone’s specific absorption rate (SAR) – a measure of the rate of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body from a piece of equipment – was 5.74 watts per kilogram during tests simulating the phone being held in the hand or kept in a pocket.
The EU standard for SAR is 4.0 watts per kilogram in such tests. The regulator noted the handset complied with multiple other SAR tests it conducted as part of its recent tests on 141 phones.
The ANFR is sending agents to Apple stores and other distributors to ensure that the model, which was launched in October 2020 and was recently withdrawn from the company’s product line, was no longer being sold. The watchdog said it expected Apple “to deploy all available means to put an end to the non-compliance” and that a failure to act would result in the recall of iPhone 12 handsets already sold to consumers.
Apple said that it was engaging with the regulator and that it had presented multiple internal and independent lab results showing the devices were followed all global SAR regulations and safety standards. The company publishes the SAR values of its devices on its site, including for the iPhone 12.
The ANFR said: “If Apple chooses to update its telephones, it shall be verified by the ANFR.” The French watchdog will now pass on its findings to regulators in other EU member states, which “could have a snowball effect”, Barrot said.
The EU hopes the universal standard will save money for consumers and the electronic waste generated by the need to buy separate chargers and cables for different electronic devices.